Inventory Photography

Bones laid out on a table under lights, ready for photography.

In the early months of the Arch Street project, burial remains were quickly removed from the construction site, rescued from further damage by construction machinery. These early collections are housed in numbered boxes at Rutgers University, Camden. Once cleaned, these commingled remains will be catalogued, assessed, and analyzed. Before cleaning the remains, inventory photographs need to be taken to create a full visual record of the contents of each box, just as visual records for coffin contents are recorded.  

On August 9th, 2017, we began the box inventory photography. Using a photo stand and matte black backing paper, we aim to make the photos as clear as possible with inset scales and box number tags. These images provide a record of what the remains looked like before any cleaning has taken place.  Once the bones and other artifacts are cleaned, further archival-quality photos will be taken in the same manner.  Once the bones are reburied, this photographic record will enable future analysts to re-assess the remains.  Our goal is to make all data gathered by the Arch St Project open access.

Photo credit: Claire Gold


An infant’s leather shoe sole.

Five femora from at least two adults and an infant from Box RU-43.

Unique ceramic pieces from Box RU-13.