Archaeology Odyssey 2:1, Winter 1999

Editors’ Page: Two Artists in Our Midst

Photographing the past

By Hershel Shanks

Archaeology Odyssey

Every single issue of Archaeology Odyssey is composed of a thousand decisions. Variety, balance and quality—these are the bywords.

Take the three feature articles in this issue. One emanates from Egypt, another from Jordan, and the third from Cyprus and all over. One is about a person, another about a site, and the third about a product (opium!). One is from the mid-second millennium B.C.; another is from near the turn of the era, 1,300 years later; and the third spans the centuries from the Neolithic period to the Common Era. Each provides background about a civilization but also brings something new and exciting to the subject.

But in one respect two of the stories are similar. The third spreads (a spread consists of two facing pages) of the stories about Egypt’s female pharaoh (Hatshepsut) and about Jordan’s pleasure palace display a site shot covering both pages. This is something we normally would avoid. We prefer design variety. But in this case we had no hesitation in deciding to give these two photographs the prominence they deserve, even though that resulted in a similar design: quality at the expense of variety.

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