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GFX Challenge Grant Winner

By november 12, 2023juni 4th, 2024No Comments

There’s a problem lurking in the shadows of archaeology photography. They are slowly being erased. Either by cutting them out in post production or by using multiple key lights, leaving artefacts looking flat and shapeless. We need those shadows as they give us a ton of information about the object. PHOTARCH is an easy method that keeps images looking cohesively the same – all whilst preserving the shadows.

PHOTARCH is a project by archaeologist and photographer, Daniel Lindskog. The project was awarded The FujiFilm Regional Grant Award and has been presented at the annual European Association of Archaeologists conference in Belfast.

PHOTARCH by Daniel Lindskog

The Question

Before an archaeological artefact is either put on display in a museum or, more likely, sent to storage to be archived  – a picture is taken. Often using different lighting set-ups, different camera gear and different methods of photographing, resulting in odd looking images. What if we did things differently?

An Answer

By adhering to a few key elements when taking the picture, using a method that can be easily replicable, at low cost, offering high quality; then a unified image could be achieved. Making a combined collection scientifically useful whilst being publicly accessible.

Principles being

• One key light

By using one key light and reflecting that light when necessary, we get a natural looking image.

• Same direction

By having the same angle on that key light we achieve a uniform shadow cast.

• White background

By having a white background we can assure it to be 100% the same over multiple images.


All information is hidden in the metadata of the image. Such as measurements, allowing the end user to present the artefact in scale, with a scale, or without a scale. Along with information such as material, place of finding and more, you’ll find it all in the metadata – all in accordance to the official record.

 (the metadata is currently under development. Please see the changelog below for updates and progress.)


All images within the project has been made using focus stacking. Nice for a complete depth of field but not necessary in all cases. What is necessary is using one and the same method consistently. It offers the ability to present ongoing multi year excavations in a cohesive look. The image from year one of the excavation will look the same as the image from year five. When combined the collection can be presented side by side or in scale to each other – making a complete collection of an excavation an aesthetically pleasing reality.

Side by side
Presented side by side
Same collection presented in scale to each other

Free to use

All images on PHOTARCH are free to use through CC BY 4.0, the only requirement is attribution of the museum.







Participating Museums


Changelog since launch

  • November 13: is launched. All images are set free to the public to use in accordance to CC BY 4.0. The metadata of the images are still being updated. Please follow this changeling for updates.
  • November 14: Measurements for all artefacts from Moeagaard Museum is updated.
  • Dec 12: Talking at Scandinavian Photo event together with FujiFilm and Serkan Günes.
  • Jan 11: Hosting a full day workshop with Artefact Photography at Kalmar County Museum.
  • March 5: Presentation at Lund Historical Museum, Lund.
  • May 29: Presentation at the 2and3D conference at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Holland.
  • *Ongoing: working on getting the excavation record accessible in the metadata.

Upcoming events

  • August 28: Presentation at EAA the European Association of Archaeologists, Rome – Italy.



Project starts


Photographing starts


Post production ends


Presentation at EAA, Belfast


Presentation at FujiKina, Stockholm


Presentation at FujiFilm, Tokyo


Launch of
Presenting Photarch at FujiKina 2023 – Photo by Andrea Livieri
Full day workshop at Kalmar Läns Museum 2024
Presenting Photarch at Scandinavian Photo 2023
Presenting PHOTARCH at the European Association of Archaeologists in Belfast, 2023
Outside the FujiFilm building in Tokyo
Pointing to a photo of an artefact at the exhibition in Tokyo
Presentation at the 2and3D conference at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Image by Minja Hemming