Workshop at The American University in Cairo, 22-24 March 2019

Jun 29, 2020

Demonstrating digital documentation methods at the AUC on 22-24 March 2019, organized by Salima Ikram

Krisztián Vértes explaining color enhanced pencil drawings and the digital Chicago House method at the AUC

The two-day workshop, held at The American University in Cairo between 22-24 March 2019, was organized by Salima Ikram, Distinguished University Professor of Egyptology at the AUC. Our goal with this short course was to introduce AUC students to the hardware and software solutions utilized by the Epigraphic Survey in the past six years for their digital documentation projects. Thanks to the kind hospitality and excellent organization skills of Salima and her fellow teachers and students, we had the pleasure to familiarize the audience with a large arsenal of tools used in our various epigraphic projects. 

The workshop was structured as follows:

  • The goal of epigraphy in the digital age
  • Digital epigraphy basics - hardware and software solutions
  • Photography for the digital artist - providing the background for digital documentation
  • How to pick the right method for a particular project
  • Digital fieldwork
  • Preparing digital field drawings for the studio
  • Digital “inking”
  • From scenes to walls - digital assembly, reconstruction and the unique possibilities of digital publications

During the short course of two mornings and afternoons spent with digital epigraphy, many of the pressing matters of drawing in the 21st Century were discussed. The students were particularly interested in understanding what visual interpretation means today, with so many fantastic “gadgets” capable of “digitizing” Egyptian monuments on a microscopic level. Many among our AUC audience were skilled epigraphers themselves with exceptional computer, digital drawing, and 3D modeling skills. Explaining drawing in Photoshop, using the iPad in the field, or sketching with digital “pencil” in Procreate immediately caught everyone’s interest, with many alternate solutions brought up and examined on the spot. 

A significant part of the afternoons was reserved for trying out the devices the Survey applies for specific steps of their processes. The audience particularly enjoyed testing their freehand digital drawing skills using Photoshop on the Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 demo unit. To demonstrate budget solutions and to declutter one’s digital environment, the students had a chance to test Astropad’s excellent Astropad Studio on their iPad, working with tethered Photoshop on the go. 

Finally, the workshop provided an excellent opportunity for us to get to know the many field- and studio projects associated with The AUC and tailor some of our digital epigraphic solutions to their specific needs. We are eternally thankful for Salima Ikram, Mariam Ayad, Dalia Edris, Julia Puglisi, and the rest of The American University in Cairo personnel for creating this fantastic opportunity for digitalEPIGRAPHY.

Farewell dinner with many of the participants at the end of the workshop, exchanging our views of epigraphy while enjoying an excellent meal in downtown Cairo

If you’d like us to demonstrate our digital documentation solutions to a broader audience or you have a project-specific question to discuss, you can reach us at

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