Aline Verstraten
Giovanna Caimmi
Elise van Mourik
Ingel Vaikla
Lieven Van Speybroeck
Ode de Kort
Eleanor Duffin
Patricia Domingues
Griet Moors
Nadia Sels
Arne De Winde
Kris Nauwelaerts
Peter Snowdon
Carla Swerts
Patrick Ceyssens
Tom Lambeens
Sofie Gielis


Maria Gil Ulldemolins
Saidja Heynickx
Remco Roes
Kris Pint


(Sofie Gielis & Patrick Ceyssens)
Stan Hendrickx & Merel Eyckerman
Non-fiction graphic design exemplified by excavations in Egypt

Visual documentation is a most important element of archaeology, used both for scientific and didactic purposes, aiming respectively at a specialised audience and the general public.Although this type of illustration is often considered as nothing more than customer-related service, recent experience shows that the collaboration and interaction between illustrators and historians can result in important added value for the accessibility of written information. For this, the illustrators have to participate actively in the research, without becoming archaeologists or historians.

It is of primary importance that graphic design and photography as means of illustrations are not interchangeable but media with their own specific possibilities and methodologies. Essential for graphic illustration is the possibility for selecting and emphasising particular elements or aspects of objects. A good example is the illustration of pottery, one of the most characteristic archaeological find classes. The vessels are drawn with a vertical axis, on one side of which the exterior of the object is drawn and on the other side the interior with the section of the vessel wall. This allows to render important information on the fabrication technology of the vessel. In this manner, the drawing becomes part of the interpretation inherent to the archaeological research.
The present project is a result of the long-time involvement of Stan Hendrickx with excavations in Egypt and research projects in museums. His contacts allow collaboration with several universities (K.U.Leuven; Universität zu Köln; Yale University) and museums (Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels; British Museum, London; Musée des Confluences, Lyon), active at different sites in Egypt. This allows research in outstanding scientific conditions and publication of the results in relevant publications.

Over the last years, the project focussed on the excavations of the Royal Museums for Art and History (Brussels) at Elkab and of K.U.Leuven at Dayr al-Barsha. For the latter excavation, among others for the documentation of the objects from the intact tomb of Henu, an official living around 2050 BC, discovered in 2007. Another important project, in collaboration with Yale University, is the illustration of rock art tableaux at Nag el-Hamdulab (Aswan), representing the most extensive iconographic ensemble available for late Predynastic – Early Dynastic times and of great importance for the development of Egyptian art around 3100 BC. Besides these long term projects, a number of smaller publication projects is completed every year.

Finally it is to be mentioned that a limited number of students participates as illustrators in the field work at different sites in Egypt. The integration of the research in the teaching activities is ascertained through assignments for the specialisation “illustrative design”. In this context it is, however, to be noted that archaeological illustration is not the principal goal, but only the means for accessing the specific aspects of non-fiction graphic design.

Merel Eyckerman

Merel Eyckerman

Merel Eyckerman