Students try hand at archaeological illustration


Greek and Roman Studies alumna Tina Ross brought her tools of the trade—calipers, gauges, graph paper, and pencils—to UVic last week to teach an introduction to archaeological illustration workshop. 

Ross, who graduated with a master’s degree in Greek and Roman Studies, with an emphasis on Greek archaeology, illustrates detailed, to-scale interpretations of ancient artifacts.

She works on excavation sites in Greece, Cyprus and Turkey and is involved in numerous projects as chief illustrator, including the department’s excavations at Eleon in Greece and previously at Gordion in Turkey.

She has also illustrated many of the recent discoveries from the unlooted Griffin Warrior Tomb from Pylos, including a 4,000 year-old-seal featured in The New York Times.

"The amazing thing about my job is you get to hold onto these pieces and look at them," Ross says.

Unlike other professions in which digital technology has replaced traditional methods, Greek archaeologists rely on the detailed renditions that illustrators produce. She said it was essential students understand the basics of archaeological illustration if they want to work in the field.

“It’s a very technical field so luckily, if you’re not overly artistic, you just have to take more measurements,” she says.

Greek and Roman Studies chair Brendan Burke says this is the second drawing workshop the department has hosted (the last one held in 2012) and both times it was over-enrolled.

“Students from art history, anthropology and Humanities recognize that courses in archaeological illustration are very valuable but difficult to find,” Burke says.

“Tina has made great use of her skills and training and we were really happy she was able to come back to UVic.”