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René Seindal's Photo Archive
René Seindal

Reviewed by:
Jack Cheng
Independent Scholar
April 2004

This comprehensive website offers 7,000 “tourist photographs” of prominently Roman sites, primarily in Italy. “Tourist photography” refers to photos from publicly accessible areas of each archaeological site, museum, or building, with multiple angles of individual buildings and sculptures. The photographs are available for fair use in reports and for other webpages with a stipulation that credit must be given. Photographs and explanatory essays for a limited number of sites would be useful for student research.

Seindal refers to his site as a hobby, but Seindal’s graduate training in history and Italian are evident. The photographs are relatively large for the Web and very clear. However, they are not labeled beyond their subject, so to identify points of view, a site map or other reference would be handy. Many of the photos are of the same building from different points of view, or from the same spot, so with some idea of where one starts, a fairly comprehensive view emerges.

There are a number of overview essays that give basic history and functions of the buildings and sites photographed. The essays are clear and concise, but not particularly detailed. They are more on the level of a guidebook to Italy than a history textbook of the period and region. Lists of Roman emperors are included from Internet sources. Students should be warned to double-check information on the site.

Along with the Italian material, a series of photographs covers Denmark, Seindal’s home country. The site might be used in the classroom as a prototype for student reports on their hometowns or places they have visited.

Navigation of the site is easy and sensible. Links throughout the essays lead to glossaries and indices that suggest other pages on similar topics. A basic search function is available, although the Google Toolbar (from would be more useful for complex searches within the site.

Highlights of the photographic collection are listed in links to the right of each page and include Hadrian’s Villa, the Roman Forum, Arch of Constantine, Paestum, and Segesta in Sicily. Seindal has photographed a number of Roman mosaics with nice detail shots that illustrate battles of Alexander the Great and other figures from history and mythology. For reports on the sites mentioned here, this website makes a great resource. For the dozens of other places included on the website—without text or with fewer images—the website may be more useful as a resource for images for teacher presentations, rather than as a reference tool for students who might get lost without secondary references close at hand.

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