Archaeology is a field that is blessed with many different facets and with many nuances. With a few overlapping aspects, one that is central to all parts of archaeology would have to be - images. Whether you’re an archaeologist interested in the scientific side – biomolecules, archaeobotanics, bones (human or animal); regardless of period – prehistoric, historical or modernity; whether involved in research or dissemination to the general public, all of them have a need for images. As The Post Hole is an undergraduate-run journal dealing with research and debates, it is only natural that we would employ a technique that has been vital since the birth of archaeology as a science.
The idea of creating an image gallery was easy, but how to start something from scratch? How would we get entries? How to encourage people to send their images? A competition was created that would run for a period of time, as a way to obtain some images submitted by readers. This was realised at the end of 2013, and the competition began. Even though the team worked hard on spreading the word, I would have been glad with 10 different entries, hopefully also from people outside of the team or university. At the first meeting in the New Year, I was completely surprised to find out that we already had obtained 21 entries, and the deadline was still a few weeks away. In the end, a total of 46 entries were in the running. A hard task was ahead; how to choose a winner? It would have been impossible to look at all the entries and vote for a single one, as there were more entries than team-members. With great difficulty, the number was reduced to 20, and just choosing one from them would be too much, so we called upon the voting system of the Eurovision Song Contest (inspiration has to come from somewhere – ‘douze points’). This way, ten of the twenty entries would obtain points from every single member and the winner would not be decided by just one person on the team…
It has been a very exciting week, and the winner has finally been chosen. Before we have a closer look at the winning image, here are the top three:
Although not indicated before the competition, I approached the photographers, in order to get the story behind the image and have their reaction to their position.
The photo that came in third place was my own, to my surprise. For my dissertation I visited the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, the Netherlands. After my initial work was finished, I visited the museum, and went to the wing with the Dutch history. These pendants seen on the picture were on display, and I liked the way they had been arranged.
The runner up photo belongs to Pete Moore, who was genuinely surprised to be voted runner up. “There aren’t many competitions I enter where anything happens!” he explained. The image was chosen to show the diversity of monuments worldwide as well as having some personal importance. “I took this picture on my 14th birthday, the first time I truly understood this diversity first hand, rather than reading about it in a book”.
The image that gained the first place and is gracing the cover of this issue belongs to Kerrie Hoffman, who explained: “The picture was taken on the 8th June 2013. I was experimenting with my new camera. The picture is a view of St Mary's Abbey in Museum Gardens, York. This is along my route to lectures at Kings Manor, where the Archaeology Department of the University of York is situated. I have tried on many occasions to take a decent picture, and on this particular day the lighting was in my favour. I aimed to capture the second arch through the first to create an interesting composition. I chose the picture mainly because of the lighting. The image has not been edited at all, and it is my favourite of my many attempts to take a picture from this angle.
Winning the competition is fantastic, completely unexpected! It is often the image that you, yourself, do not expect to be popular that other people favour. Being an artist myself, it is not usually my photography which takes centre stage, and this is also the first image competition I have entered! Although I am part of the team as creative design editor, voting was anonymous and I was really surprised and ecstatic that my image won. To have my work on the cover of The Post Hole is a very different experience to its design; it is amazing, as is the experience of working with such a great team. The image competition and gallery allows viewers to be involved and to promote the journal in the future, and I hope that it continues to grow due to the initial success of the competition”
With the release of this issue, the image-gallery also goes live. Please keep uploading your archaeology photos and drawings, and we will strive to incorporate at least one in each issue.