How to Photograph Your Site

The sites monitored by the Nevada Stewardship Program are “significant” and some of the most important and/or unique sites in Nevada. This means that they are a high priority for land managers and your photos are crucial to their long-term study and preservation.


Types of photos

Whenever taking photos of archaeological sites always remember the context. What is the context? The context is the place where an artifact/feature or site is found, and its relationship to the surrounding area. Every time you take a photograph of an object, stand back and take a photo of the surrounding area. These context photos are also known Overview Photos.

Feature Photo
Overview Photo


Baseline Photos

When you are first assigned to a site, think of it as the location of a future crime scene. You want to document as much of the site as possible, so you can compare photos of future damage to photos from a time before that damage. These photos are called Baseline Photos and we encourage you to take a fresh set of baseline photos every two years.

What to take baseline photos of:


Parking Photo

Old Graffiti or Damage

Old Graffiti Photo

Signs and Fencing 

Fencing Photo

Major Site Features

Feature Photo

Important Artifacts

Artifact Photo

Impact photos

When there is an impact at your site, think of it as a crime scene and yourself as a CSI photographer.  You need to tell a story with the photos. Don’t just show the damage but take overview photos to photograph the context of the damage. That will accomplish two things (1) it assists the authorities in relocating the damage and (2) it records the full story of the damage so that future archaeologist can understand how it affected the surrounding site.