Documenting Archaeological Mortuary Features using High Dynamic Range (HDR) Imaging

J. T. Watson, J. Weiland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This technical note presents a refined technique for photo-documenting archaeological mortuary features using High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging. Mortuary features in archaeological context can be complex and delicate given the wide variability in grave constructions and preservation of human skeletal remains. It is therefore critical to obtain the greatest detail possible when photo-documenting these features. HDR techniques represent more contrast in photographs and provide greater detail across the DR of illumination within mortuary features-where complex arrangements of human remains can obscure or darken other elements or associated funerary objects, making them difficult to identify in traditional photographs. HDR can be employed with most standard digital single lens reflex cameras used for archaeological field projects, is easy to learn and employ (as described here), can be processed and produced with commonly used photo editing programs, and is ideal for use in unpredictable conditions that are often encountered with archaeological mortuary features and in field conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-373
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2015


  • High Dynamic Range imaging
  • Mortuary features
  • Photo-documentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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