This paper explores the various ways in which photography has been a scientific and artistic tool for archaeological method and practice in the middle decades of the twentieth century. I am interested in visualisation in archaeology, and specifically how photography affects the social, political and cultural relationships in recording ancient sites and artefacts. In 1954, there was a serious attempt to define the role and application of archaeological photography by M. B. Cookson. In his Photography for Archaeologists he reaffirmed the importance of photography as a requirement for visually recording the ancient world within the archaeological practice. Cookson describes how “one cannot imagine any archaeologist today cutting even the simplest trial trench without photographing it from three or four positions, as a working record to support the plans and sectional drawings, even if not for publication.”  Such a statement brings forth further interesting questions about the role of photography in archaeology. What is the relationship between photographic images and hand-drawn plans and sections of excavations? How does photography support these images and what is the purpose of the photographic documents if not provided for publication? To what extent is photography regarded as a truthful or reliable form of visual evidence in archaeology? If Wheeler was to exclaim in the same year of this publication that “the camera is an awful liar”  then why is photography such an integral part of archaeological investigation, from the outset of its invention, to the present day? These questions show the complex nature of studying “visualisation in archaeology,” a phrase used to describe all the physical images (drawings, maps, site plans, paintings, photographs, virtual media) which represent or are associated with archaeological research. Visualisation is an integral process in the interpretation of archaeological material and recent research  has started to acknowledge the unrealised potential of images and their creation of archaeological knowledge.

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