Illustrations Abound with the ASBC Nanaimo Branch
By Julie Cowie
On Saturday, October 25, 2008, pencils were sharpened and calipers were at the ready as the ASBC Nanaimo Branch offered its first Archaeological Illustration Workshop. The focus of the workshop was learning how to draw artifacts for publication, as well as to map artifacts in situ and stratigraphy profiles. These hands-on skills are essential tools if pursuing a career in the archaeological field but also give the general public a better grasp on the basic archaeological principles and why we do what we do. Illustration versus photographic recording was discussed, as well as various areas of application for illustration skills. Thirteen participants spent the morning learning the fine art of illustrating stone tools using obsidian flakes. Methodology for illustrating flake characteristics and general illustration techniques were discussed.
|Amrid Marawaha of Camosun College measuring his artifact with calipers|
Photo by Alex Christie
Our next venture was to learn how to illustrate artifacts in situ, using a mock excavation situation with various faunal materials within a 1metre by 1metre square. Working in pairs, the participants learned how to accurately portray faunal material using basic x/y coordinate mapping.
|Xenius Dambourg and Nola Nahirnick mapping in situ||Emily Barker measuring in faunal material in situ|
Photos by Julie Cowie
They could then apply this skill in the last part of the workshop: stratigraphy profiles. Digital profiles were used from ASBC Nanaimo’s Hands On Heritage project to give the participants a chance to see what a finished profile looks like and how to accurately map the profile. Working in partners, they took turns mapping and measuring the horizons. Amrid Marawaha and Alex Christie working hard at their profiles Phyllis Dale and Ron Driedger contemplating their Photo by Julie Cowie profile –
|Amrid Marawaha and Alex Christie working hard at their profiles||Phyllis Dale and Ron Driedger contemplating their profile|
Photos by Julie Cowie
The two exercises where the participants were partnered were an essential component of this workshop in addition to the actual mapping. It is important when working the in the field that you can work effectively as a group to accurately record the data. By partnering for these exercises, they learned the communication is essential when doing this type of detailed mapping. There was much discussion about personal preference for methodology and I think that a general consensus was that mapping is quite detailed and hard work!
Overall, the workshop was a great success, with a majority of participants being non-ASBC members. I was pleased to see an interest from outside the Society, as it is our aim to educate the general public about archaeology and heritage conservation. Workshops such as this only serve to increase interest in preservation and in archaeology in general. Members of the Camosun Archaeological Field Assistant course also attended, adding to their repertoire by honing their illustration and mapping skills. I was very pleased with the enthusiasm of all that attended and I enjoyed sharing my knowledge with them. It is our hope that we will make this workshop an annual event and I, for one, am looking forward to it.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris Sholberg, Heritage Planner of the City of Nanaimo, for the use of the City’s plotter to print out our stratigraphy profiles and his unwavering support of the Nanaimo Branch, which included participating in this workshop. I would also like to thank our community partner, Home Depot, for supplying calipers and line levels. They have supported ASBCNB endeavors for four years and without the support of these community partners our Branch educational programs would not be possible.
Julie Cowie is the current President of the Nanaimo Branch and has served as its President from 2003 to 2007. She holds a degree in Archaeology from the University of Calgary, with a specialization in lithic and faunal analysis. She is proud owner of Heritage Matters Archaeological Consulting based in Ladysmith, BC.