Capturing data is a key part of archaeological practice, whether for preserving records or to aid interpretation. But the technologies used are complex and expensive, resulting in time-consuming processes associated with their use. These processes force a separation between ongoing interpretive work and capture. Through two field studies we elicit more detail as to what is important about this interpretive work and what might be gained through a closer integration of capture technology with these practices. Drawing on these insights, we go on to present a novel, portable, wireless 3D modeling system that emphasizes ‘quick and dirty’ capture . We discuss its design rational in relation to our field observations and evaluate this rationale further by giving the system to archaeological experts to explore in a variety of settings. While our device compromises on the resolution of traditional 3D scanners, its support of interpretation through emphasis on real-time capture, review and manipulability suggests it could be a valuable tool for the future of archaeology.