Changing Attitudes and Practices

The York Archaeology archive covers a wide period, allowing us to see how practices have changed over time. Changes in PPE and health and safety regulations are visible in the types of clothing worn, or not worn. In the early days of the York Archaeological Trust, archaeologists would have taken their hard hats off for posed shots. 

The image showing the single context recording highlights a process that was very new to the Trust in 1984. Did the photographer want to document the significance of this relatively new technique, or were they just entertained by how the walls of the shed were being used as a makeshift blackboard?

Over 30 years have passed since these photographs were taken. Digital photography on modern cameras has made it easier than ever to rapidly capture images that look good and can be instantly reviewed, deleted, or re-shot on the spot. The impact of advancements in photography on archaeology can be seen in the use of photogrammetry as a routine recording process. This process, of taking multiple images from different angles and stitching them together, creates a 3D model which can be rotated, zoomed into, and viewed from different perspectives. This can be particularly useful for producing accurate scaled drawings back at the office.

Tanner Row was the most interesting site I ever worked on. The deepest trench I ever worked in was by far the most fun. By the time we had excavated all the deposits we were about 27 feet down.

-Jane McComish - YAT Project Officer 
Next: Photographic Equipment