Initially, this study examines how archaeological reconstruction drawing evolved into its present form. Its development within the wider context of social and art history is traced from the 15th to the 201h century, with\ud particular attention to its various applications, and the motivations for its production. The result is a clearer understanding and definition of the present role and purposes of this branch of illustration. Secondly,the study examines how these purposes are achieved in\ud contemporary reconstruction artwork. By using an experiment in reconstruction, each component of the process is examined in turn: the design brief,illustrator, illustration and audience. The illustrations produced by the experiment are ranked according to performance, using\ud the aims of the reconstruction as criteria. Aspects are identified which appear to contribute to good performance,using the information obtained about the illustrations and illustrators. Finally, the results are reviewed as a whole to identify present and possible future trends that may be worth exploring, and to inform a set of proposed guidelines for the commissioning and production of archaeological reconstructions. At present, archaeological reconstruction artwork has received very little academic attention, and there appears to be no formal identification of its aims, agenda or working practice. This study provides the groundwork for rectifying this situation, and supplies new information in several dffferent areas
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