Glastonbury Abbey Symposium 9 June 2011 Abbey Shield

Archaeological Illustration, by Liz Gardner . MA(Hons) AIfA MAAIS

Freelance Archaeological Illustrator

I have been involved in the project since the pilot working on the Chapter House area in 2008. Since the main project started in April 2009 I have been focusing on mapping and locating the excavations. This information has been complied into a series of master drawings. These working drawings are in Adobe Illustrator at a scale of 1:50, but there are also versions in AutoCAD which will have the advantage of geo-referencing all the trench locations and therefore by inference all the finds and structures that have been locatable within them.

My work has included integrating and digitising the parchmark survey drawings (Charles and Nancy Hollinrake), the metric survey (Downland Partnership Ltd) and the geophysical survey results (GSB Prospection Ltd). These surveys have been invaluable in both cross-checking and in some occasions locating the placement of trenches, as recording strategies have varied somewhat. The most obvious shift in archaeological recording methodology that can be seen during the course of the historic excavations is the move from plans drawn without the limits of excavation to the more standardised style of trench plans today. The excavation archive contains some aesthetically very beautiful pieces of recording that would not be seen today, such as isometric section drawings.

The process of collating the records has involved interesting footnotes such as the changing of measurements from Imperial to Metric and external factors on the recording such as the use of brown paper in the 1950s due to the continuance of paper rationing. I am still working on the datum levels as the sea level measurements use the Liverpool level (1844-1921), followed by the initial geodectic Newlyn measurements (1921-1956) and then a third observation at Newlyn (1956 present).

The bulk of my time has been taken up by digitising and as accurately as possible locating the excavation trenches. I am in the final throes of this now with only some of the earliest phases of excavation to locate (St John Hope 1904 and Bligh Bond 1908-1922). From now on the focus of my work shifts into artefact illustration before returning to the excavation drawings in preparation for publication.

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