The Post Hole’s Photography and Art Competition

Amy Wright
University of York
design [at]

As Rianca Vogels, our previous Publicity Co-ordinator wrote, image is central to archaeology (Vogels 2014, 7). Photography and art are seen in great variety throughout archaeological work, helping us to record, understand and explain the past. This has been made particularly clear to me since beginning my role as Design and Creative Coordinator for The Post Hole. With the formation of a new team over the summer of 2014, we wanted to build on the work of previous teams at The Post Hole, but also introduce something a little different. Given the success of the previous image competition we decided that this was a progressive way forward. This year’s twist was a theme: ‘excavation’.

Since October, various members of the team have been working to promote the competition via various platforms. Once again we were surprised by both the quantity and quality of the responses. Another surprise was the variety of people who entered, with many images coming from universities and museums both inside and outside of the UK. It has been particularly inspiring to see how wide The Post Hole’s readership is.

With the approach of the competition’s deadline a final rush of submissions were entered, our total was brought up to 32 entries. The task of choosing just one winner was a hard one, and it was decided that these entries would first be narrowed down to suitable cover images and then presented to the team for a final vote. Our final winner is Karen Price, whose photograph, ‘Those Unknown’ can be on the front cover of this issue. Price describes the photograph as follows: “Mount Vernon archaeologist Leah Stricker trowel cleans burials uncovered during the Slave Cemetery excavation at George Washington's Mount Vernon plantation. Mount Vernon, VA, USA.” As well as showing photographical talent with an unusual perspective and balanced composition, this entry by Karen Price conveys the sensitive issues surrounding the excavation of the Slave Cemetery, so be sure to have a look at the cover art.

However, such was the quality of the photographs and illustrations submitted that I have also chosen three ‘standout’ entries, which can be seen below, in no particular order:

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Standout Entry: "He takes me to lush pastures"
Photographer: Ágnes Király

Metal detector survey at an 11th century hillfort, Sály/Hungary, 2014.

It is important to remember that excavation is not just about digging, but requires a wide variety of methods and techniques - Ágnes Király’s ‘He takes me to lush pastures’ shows one of these. I particularly like the unusual perspective used in this photograph.

Click to enlarge

Standout Entry: Taking the levels whilst a test pit is excavated to at Dunster with Dig Village
Photographer: Ivan Clowsley

This photograph was a particular favourite among the team. We liked that a variety of methods was shown here, in some beautiful surroundings.

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Standout Entry: "Looks like we've found ourselves a post-hole!"
Artist: Robert Price

Artwork makes up an equally important role with images used in archaeology. This entry, from Rob Price at the Universität zu Köln, Archäologisches Institut, really made us smile and we hope it does you too!

All the entries submitted to our competition will be posted on our image gallery shortly, which can be viewed at:

New photos and drawings can be uploaded to our gallery at any time, so if you have any that you would like on our website, upload them to the gallery pages!

Congratulations to our winner, and thank you to all who entered for showing continuing support.


  • Vogels, R. (2014). The Post Hole’s Photo Competition. The Post Hole. 35, 7-10.