Picturing the Past: Digital Drawing in Archaeology

November 12, 2014
Picturing the Past: Digital Drawing in Archaeology

Clear, scientifically accurate, and aesthetically pleasing illustrations are an indispensable part of the archaeologist’s toolkit. This course explored the history, development, and current methodology behind archaeological illustration, applied to two sample cultures, Egyptian (Old World) and Maya (New World). Students learned epigraphy—the creation of facsimile line drawings of relief sculpture, inscriptions, and three-dimensional objects. With computer software and tablet drawing devices, they gained practical experience working from artifacts in archaeological collections at Harvard University and beyond. Basic computer skills were expanded into the realm of vector tracing from high-resolution photographs, and 2D and 3D scanning. The course explored the nature of graphical scholarly publication in the widest sense of the word.

The images on display here mostly represent final drawing projects by undergraduate and graduate students from Harvard University, Brown University, and Boston University (Fall Semester 2013).