Photography for Archaeologists
with Eric Houlder LRPS, MIfL
at Sutton Hoo, Saturday, 27th June, 2015.


Everyone from professionals to community dig volunteers will benefit from this day. Using examples from over fifty years of photographing excavations,(including Sutton Hoo) Eric will show how he has shot every type of feature from structures to pits, burials to boats, and everything in between.

This is not a “hands-on with-camera” course, instead the day will focus on Eric explaining with many examples how he has tackled different topics and there will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.

Prior Booking Essential – For bookings click here

Provisional Programme

SiteFoto113a09.50 – 10.15:         Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15: History and background, including a brief look at photography at Sutton Hoo. Equipment both photographic & archaeological. Lighting for photographs, natural, artificial, & reflectors.

11.15 – 11.40:         Coffee break

11.40 – 12.40: Structures of stone & wood. Wooden ships. Areas including tower and high viewpoint work.

12.40 – 14.00:         Lunch break

14.00 – 14.50: Postholes, hearths etc. Finds in-situ. Macro and micro work on site. 3Di – simple digital photogrammetry.

14.50 – 15.10:        Tea break

15.10 – 16.00: Burials – human. Burials – animal. Cremations. People at work, chiefly for publicity but also for books, magazines, etc. People for obituaries !

c.16.00:                   Thanks and Close

About Eric Houlder

HoulderEric took his first site photographs in 1956 whilst still at school. Since then, he has been lucky enough to work with some of the ‘greats’ of British archaeology and his images have appeared in numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic. Though equipment has evolved exponentially during his working life – from glass plates to digital imaging – the actual principles and practise of photographing digs ‘for the record’ have changed little if quality recording is desired, as Eric will demonstrate. Highlights of his career include: supervisor at Sutton Hoo in the late ‘60s, flying with Derrick Riley in the ‘70s, Chief Photographer to the Wood Hall Archaeological Trust in the ‘90s, digging Roman road M28b in the ‘80s, recording the Towton Battlefield skeletons, and Photographer to the St Aidan’s Sunken Ships Project in the 2000s. Now officially retired, Eric involves himself with archaeology and particularly site photography at every opportunity. He is currently Editor of Heritage Photography, Past Chair of CBA Yorkshire, and Chair of his local society.

Previous Feedback

Here is some feedback from his previous Study Day with us.  In answer to the question ‘What was best about the day?‘ participants said:

  • Wonderful speaker. Excellent slides, fluent & knowledgeable delivery
  • Eric – like a day with Alan Bennett
  • The slides and info behind them
  • Enthusiasm & knowledge of speaker
  • Eric’s little stories. Fascinating photography which told an interesting story
  • Brilliant lecture

Prior Booking Essential – For bookings click here.

Study Days are £36 (or introductory rate of £18 if this is your first Study Day), which includes a full day of lectures, access to the NT site, parking, coffee, tea and biscuits throughout the day, and access to the NT exhibition.  You can bring a picnic lunch or eat in the excellent National Trust restaurant with views down to the River Deben.

If you need to stay overnight or would like to spend time visiting the countryside, towns , villages and coast of Suffolk you can get information on local hotels and B&B from the Woodbridge tourist information office on 01394 444400, Email: If you have access to the internet you can try Smoothhound,, or


Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

  • Conlon, V.M., Camera Techniques in Archaeology (London 1973)
  • Cookson, M.B., Photography for Archaeologists (London 1954)
  • Deuel , L. ,Flights into Yesterday (Aylesbury 1969)
  • Dorrell, P.G., Photography in Archaeology and Conservation (Cambridge 1989, 1994)
  • Harp, Elmer Jr (ed.) Photography in Archaeological Research (Albuquerque, 1975)
  • Frantz, Alison, “Truth before Beauty or, the Incompleat Photographer”, Archaeology USA (Winter 1950)
  • Matthews, S.K., Photography in Archaeology and Art (London 1968)
  • Nassau, W.E., Practical Photography for the Field Archaeologist (Waterloo, Ontario, 1976)
  • Powlesland, Dominic, “3D Imaging: enhancing the archaeological record” British Archaeology ( Sept/Oct 2014)
  • Simmons, H.C., Archaeological Photography (London 1969)