Archaeological Illustration

Event Date:
Start at 12:00 AM
March 13, 2021


Get an introduction to the theory and technique of completing archaeological illustrations from the comfort of your own home. Using household items as substitutes for real artefacts, learn the basic skills necessary to produce archaeological illustrations of pottery and small finds. Then you’ll be ready to illustrate real artefacts, such as from HMS Invincible, when social distancing restrictions are lifted!

Participants will gain an understanding of the difference between a drawing and an archaeological illustration. Using household items as substitutes, participants will learn how to set up an artefact for an archaeological drawing and then how to draw it. Online lectures will be combined with set illustration tasks to provide an interactive and practical online experience. Under expert online guidance, participants will produce an illustration of an item of pottery and a small find made of wood, metal or leather.

By completing this course using household items, participants will get an introduction to the illustration skills that can then be applied to real archaeological artefacts when it is possible to access them. This course was originally organised to be run in-person to train volunteers to illustrate the hundreds of artefacts recently raised from HMS Invincible. When social distancing restrictions are suitably relaxed, a follow up course will be held at the MAST conservation lab in Poole, Dorset where participants of this course can further their skills – on real artefacts!



The expert tutor will be Mark Hoyle BA(hon);P.G.C.E.;MAAIS; MIfA a field archaeologist and archaeological illustrator with 27 years experience. He is currently a full member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists – Graphics Archaeology Group (CIfA). Mark has a background in teaching and has run many successful archaeological illustration courses for the general public and specialist groups and this is the third course he has run for NAS! See some of his work at

Dan Pascoe is a maritime archaeologist, director of Pascoe Archaeology and licencee of the HMS Invincible wreck. He will give a special presentation about HMS Invincible and the artefacts that will be available for archaeological illustration, when social distancing restrictions are lifted.


This course is for anyone interested in this traditional method of recording artefacts that is still relevant today. Divers, beachcombers, and avocational archaeologists will find this course interesting as it will teach them that through the detailed observations required for an archaeological illustration, more information can be gleaned from an artefact that might not be observed during rapid photographic recording techniques. People wishing to include the still-essential line illustrations of artefacts in publications will find this course useful as they will learn how to create these figures themselves.

NAS members will earn 5 credits towards their Certificate or Award.


A computer or tablet (phone screens are a bit small to look at for the whole day) with a good internet connection is essential. A built-in or external webcam and microphone are optional. A week before the course you will receive an invitation to the online course session which will be run through GoToMeeting. This is an online video conferencing programme that can be run directly through the internet or you get better connection if you download the small programme – it only takes a minute to do.

If you are concerned about your computer set up, please contact the organiser at for a test run before the course.


Blank A4 paper – although gridded paper is better
Pencils – any will do but technical or HB pencils are best
Ruler – a straight one with mm accuracy
Rotring Pens – recommendation is for Rotring 1904812 Tikky Graphic Fineliner set of 3 pens (0.3mm, 0.5mm and 0.7mm)
Profile gauge – recommendation is for a metal profile gauge

Contact if you need assistance with obtaining any of this equipment.


Item of pottery, preferably a broken cup of any vintage
Wooden item such as spoon or spatula
Metal knife, butter knife is fine
Another type of ‘small find’ that you would like to illustrate such as a glass, old shoe etc…


NAS members £30
Non-NAS members £60 (although as NAS membership starts at £12, you’re better off becoming a member and getting the discount rate immediately!)

Provisional Timetable in Grenwich Mean Time

09:00 Log on, online etiquette and introductions – NAS host

09:20 History and archaeology of HMS Invincible – Dan Pascoe

09:50 Why archaeological illustration still matters – Mark Hoyle

10:20 Questions and break

10:30 Theory: Overview of techniques and conventions of pottery – Mark Hoyle

11:00 Questions and break

11:15 Practical: pottery illustration – participants

12:30 Lunch and finishing off illustrations

13:00 Theory: illustrating small finds, metal, wood, stone, rope and leather – Mark Hoyle

14:00 Practical: small finds illustration – participants

15:00 Reviewing illustrations – Mark Hoyle

15:30 Practical: Making changes to illustrations – participants

16:00 Questions, putting it into perspective – Mark Hoyle

16:30 Getting involved in HMS Invincible volunteering and NAS – NAS host

17:00 Day end