Archaeological Illustration @ Cardiff

9 June 2020

Archaeological Illustration is part art, part science – it encompasses multiple sub-disciplines, including photography and artefact illustration. During the process, illustrators become analysts, revealing and emphasising subtle features of artefacts often missed in photography, as well being responsible for visually reconstructing the past, synthesising multiple forms of archaeological evidence into something recognisable and relatable.

At Cardiff, we have a very active Archaeological Illustration department! In addition to teaching illustration, both digital and the traditional hand-drawn (which all of our students take!), the team (made up of Ian Dennis, Kirsty Harding, and Laura Hogg) do all the visual materials for the sites we excavate, collaborate with external organisations, organise experiential archaeology events and are active members of the outreach group Guerilla Archaeology. Ian also runs a collaborative excavation at the Piepenkopf hillfort, in Germany, every summer.

For #CUArch100, we’ll be showing off their talents, with some of their favourite illustrations, a demonstration of the process, and a game of ‘Guess the Artefact’ from pieces of their work! Guess The Artefact results revealed at 12:30 and 3:30PM BST on 9 June 2020.

Scroll through the slideshow and see if you can figure out what the object is before it’s revealed in the 6th image!

Some of Ian Dennis’s favourite illustrations that he’s created! Click on the images to expand them.

Archaeological illustration is part art, part science – with artefacts accurately recorded for both archives and publications. During the process, illustrators become analysts, revealing and emphasising subtle features of the artefacts often missed in photography, such as angles and cross sections of complete artefacts. These techniques are demonstrated in this timelapse by Cardiff alumna and illustrator, Laura Hogg. Watch as Laura illustrates an iron spearhead!

Laura and Ian often work together on big pieces, like the example on the left of a mysterious object from the Staffordshire Hoard, in which Laura did the inkwork and Ian painted it! One of her favourite objects to draw, however, is this whale bone from Bornais with hundreds of cut marks on it – it’s thought to be a Norse chopping board!

Scroll through the slideshow and see if you can figure out what the object is before it’s revealed in the 6th image!

Thank you so much for joining us for Illustration day! To close us out, we wanted to share a few works by our *digital* illustrator, Kirsty Harding! Kirsty is also an alumna, and specialises in digital illustration. Her work is varied, from ‘infographic’ style posters, to maps, to typologies, to making our PGRs’ posters look good (we can’t thank her enough)! “Please exit through the gift shop.”

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