During excavation, archaeologists expose and destroy irrevocably the environments in which people lived in the past. After the excavation, most of the finds no longer have a physical existence in the field. Our ability to reconstruct the often complex history of a site and to extract information about the life of ancient people is entirely dependent on accurate documentation during and after excavation. Field documentation is carried out by means of the measuring of remains in three dimensions, written descriptions, sketches as well as accurate hand-drawn plans and sections, and photography. As they are taken from their context, all finds are carefully registered and labeled to ensure that their precise origin is known.
The graphic documentation unit, for which Ruhama Bonfil is responsible, assists excavators in laying out the excavation grid and creating the graphic record of the excavation. The unit is responsible for the production of the final plans and sections by which the stage-by-stage architectural history of the site will be represented in the published excavation report. Increasing use is made of computer-aided drafting using the AutoCAD program, which facilitates the combination of data from the different primary sources.
Another function of the unit is to handle the graphic aspect of the large-format posters that illustrate the Institute’s projects both in-house and at conferences throughout the world.