Documenting Context

The first role of photography as it relates to paleoimaging is to document the physical setting where the research will be conducted. The general environment associated with the study at hand should be photographed with respect to those environmental features that may impact the work to be done. In addition, the context from where the cultural remains or artifacts came is critical, as it may assist in the interpretation of paleoimag-ing data. The environmental conditions may help explain taphonomic characteristics of the cultural remains as artifacts and human and animal remains continue to interact with their environment over time (Aufderheide 2003; Figure 1.1). These photographs may include documentation of nearby waterways; urban sprawl; evidence of flood plains, landslides, or cave-ins; and documentation of current climatic characteristics, to name a few. Photographs of where the cultural material was found are also critical, as often a microclimate exists that can further explain the condition of the remains or artifacts. These photographs may include tombs, a cliffside, or other burial aspects such as wrappings and enclosures (Figures 1.2-1.5) that may have impacted mummification or the state of preservation of the remains. If radiographic or endoscopic images are later transported to specialists in other countries, photographs of the regional environmental conditions and the specific burial sites may be critical in interpreting what is seen on the paleoimaging data.

Figure 1.1 (see color insert following page 12.) Photographs of regional environments that may impact the mummification and preservation of cultural artifacts and remains. shown here is a dry desert environment (left) and modern agriculture near ancient burial tombs (right) that may impact the water table.

Figure 1.1 (see color insert following page 12.) Photographs of regional environments that may impact the mummification and preservation of cultural artifacts and remains. shown here is a dry desert environment (left) and modern agriculture near ancient burial tombs (right) that may impact the water table.

Of equal importance is the photographic documentation of the specific paleoimag-ing environment, where the work is to be conducted. On many occasions, field paleoim-aging is conducted in very tight settings such as in caves, tombs, and remote research facilities. Photographic documentation of these variables not only provides a record of the working conditions but also may assist future researchers who are planning a field paleoimaging project in the same or similar environment. Photographic documentation

Remains Context
Figure 1.2 (see color insert following page 12.) Photographic documentation of a subterranean tomb environment that may explain paleoimaging data.
Remains Context
Figure 1.3 Photographic documentation of the opening to a cave that holds mummified Ibaloi remains in the Kabayan Jungle, Luzon, the Philippines.

of how logistical challenges were resolved is also a useful information to future research teams (Figure 1.6). Any feature of the environmental setting that may pose a safety risk should be photographed as well. Paths, walkways, stairs, ladders, streams, electrical supply outlets, and generators are just a few examples of what should be photographed in order to document the challenges and adaptations used to get the paleoimaging project under way.

Following the documentation of context, the subjects of the study should be photographed from as many angles as possible. The varied views of the subjects provide paleoim-agers with additional information from which to develop approaches to the imaging tasks at hand. The initial photographs are intended to be a general survey of the subjects. However, if a particular entrance route for the endoscopic procedure is seen, for example, it can be documented using appropriate photographic technique such as macrophotography. Later in the study, a more scientific or forensic approach will be used.

Figure 1.4 (see color insert following page 12.) Photographic documentation of anga mummies placed on a cliff overlooking their village following mummification. The documentation helps explain the deterioration of the remains seen during paleoimaging research.
Figure 1.5 Photographic documentation of textiles used on mummy bundles that serves to explain the level of mummification seen through paleoimaging. Grave goods are also documented.

The initial photographs of the subjects are critical to paleoimaging in that they serve to document the condition of the cultural material prior to the initiation of the work. Photographs documenting the condition of the study subjects are also recommended, ensuring that the paleoimaging process caused no damage. Of course, if the paleoimaging work did result in inadvertent damage to the subjects, this, too, should be photographed. The authors have learned that it is beneficial, whenever possible, to time- and date-stamp the photographs. On a paleoimaging project in Italy, the museum director suggested that our team had caused damage to a particular object (Figure 1.7). We were able to vindicate ourselves only because we had a professional photographer who, as part of the team, photographically documented the study subject with a time and date stamp prior to our initiation of any imaging studies. This time-and-date-stamped photograph provided the

Figure 1.6 Photographic documentation of logistic problem resolution. shown here is a method devised to transport a gasoline generator used to power paleoimaging instrumentation at a remote cave site in the Kabayan Jungle, Luzon, the Philippines.
Figure 1.7 Photographic documentation of the condition of a study subject prior to paleoimaging procedures. This prestudy photograph proved extremely useful to the team (see text).

necessary evidence showing that the condition of the subject was exactly the same before our research as it was after we had completed our study.

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