Photography and Archaeology

2092 Kent recording a timber structure

This week Kent Jones has been learning how important photography is in archaeology 
 
Archaeology is a destructive process, so it is important to get as accurate a record as possible and this is partially achieved by photography. Everything excavated on site is photographed, from the most important features to the least important because you never know what some archaeologists find interesting!
 

2095 Kent photographing an Aurochs horn

Also important are photographs of finds for publications. This can be a very technical process involving understanding and careful adjustment of focal length, aperture and lighting . . . or alternatively stick it on auto, that usually works!
 
Some sites can generate tens of thousands of photographs. Each photograph has to be carefully logged with direction, subject and date recorded. These records will eventually be stored in museum archives in case anyone wants to see them again. This is so much easier with digital photography and takes up much less space, but the use of digital technology raises important questions such as, how do we know the computers of the future will be able to read the files we produce today?