Even well-preserved archaeological sites can mean much more to the visitor when explained, and many convey nothing at all without the archaeologist's interpretation. A graphic representation can be much more arresting, succinct and memorable than a written text, and avoids the complications of multilingual versions.


Also, the graphic reconstruction can address a number of different aspects of a site. While these frequently merge or overlap, there are four broad categories of John Hodgson's illustration work which demonstrate these capabilities:



The connection between home and workplace was often closer in the past, and many sites only existed because of the crafts and industries practised there. Depicting these processes gives them their due importance in the life of the people who lived there.



The construction of buildings, whether for domestic shelter, farming, defensive or ritual use, is an important part of human impact on the world. However, these influential structures often only survive as traces of their foundation footprint.  Reconstruction can recreate some sense of their appearance and presence in the landscapes of the past.



Many reconstructions aim to give a general view of a site, and its occupants are often only included so as to give scale to the scene. But by taking a closer viewpoint, the appearance and dress of the people can be clearly shown, together with details of ornament, tools, equipment and weapons.



Human settlements do not exist in isolation, and usually owe their particular position and character to the local geography.  An overview of the site, especially from an elevated position, can explain and clarify its relationships with the surrounding landscape.