I have worked as an epigraphic artist for the University of Chicago's Oriental
Institute/Epigraphic Survey in Luxor, Egypt since 1985. The project, known as
Chicago House, began in 1924 and is committed to both conserving and
documenting the ancient monuments under its concession.
We still use the same drawing method that originated in the 20s but now
incorporate digital technology. Starting with a large-format black and white
photograph of the scene and mirrored light raking across the temple or tomb wall's
carved relief, the artist pencils over the hieroglyphs, figures, and architectural
elements. We draw with a stylus on an iPad or in some instances with pencil on
the photograph. The penciled lines are then inked and a blueprint of the inked
scene is made for our Egyptologists and artists to carefully examine at the wall.
The artist uses the blueprint and notes to make any changes to the drawing. Lastly
the director takes the drawing back on site and makes the final check.
All information including the photograph, drawing, translation and interpretation of
the scene are included in our publications, which are available online through the
University of Chicago at: https://oi.uchicago.edu/research/publications/epigraphic-
For our Digital Epigraphy Manual go to: http://digital-epigraphy.com/