An introduction to drawing archaeological pottery practice paper

An introduction to drawing archaeological pottery practice paper - revised edition November 2017

In an age of ubiquitous digital imaging, there are perhaps some ‘analogue’ skills which archaeologists still require. It could be argued that the direct experience of drawing artefacts by hand enhances the understanding of the material in a way that digital capture does not.

This introduction to drawing pottery is aimed at the beginner, especially students, community groups and others who are new to the practice, and attempts to give a step-by-step guide to the arcane skill of producing pottery drawings, with a general introduction to most of the different types of material which might be encountered, and different approaches to the treatment of texture, decoration and problems such as handles. It also includes guidance on bringing drawings into publication graphics packages such as Adobe Illustrator, and outputting for final publication.

The revised edition reflects the advances in digital and computer technology since the 2012 IfA edition of the practice paper, and describes how traditional methods of producing pottery drawings can be integrated with and enhanced by digital technology.


  1. We would like to thank Lesley Collett (MCIfA) and other members of the Graphic Archaeology Group involved in updating this Practice Paper.
  2. The Practice Paper is available free of charge to all members on the members section of the CIfA website. Hard copies are available on request from admin [at]
  3. Non-members can purchase a hard copy or electronic copy of the paper for £10 by completing payment below
  4. For more information about this Practice Paper and other CIfA papers please contact admin [at]

Pottery paper. Please select hard or digital copy.