I’m an illustrator and painter, best known for my work as series illustrator on BBC 2’s Meet the Ancestors. I’ve created drawings and paintings for books, museums and television, working closely with archaeologists and curators to interpret evidence of the past. If you’d like to see some more images please visit my illustration archive. I am always happy to consider commissions.
My original illustration of the Amesbury Archer (Wessex Archaeology) used at the British Museum.
I have just published an illustrated comic-strip book for children about the adventures of the Amesbury Archer who travelled to Stonehenge around 2300 BC.
An Exciting comic strip adventure story for children
Links to the National Curriculum at KS 2
To buy a copy:
The Stonehenge Visitor Centre,
and to order from all good bookshops.
The world of the ancient Beaker People comes to life
The archaeological story
At Amesbury, near Stonehenge, archaeologists excavated the bones of a prehistoric man. His mourners had placed precious objects in his grave including a pair of rare hair tress rings made from beaten gold and three copper daggers. Together these are the earliest metal artefacts found to date in the British Isles.
The Archer’s skull restored by Wessex Archaeology
Stone bracers for the Archer’s wristguard
When Professor Andrew Fitzpatrick and his team examined the finds they discovered that though some were from Britain, many had come from mainland Europe. The five decorated bell-shaped pots were Beakers, so called because they appear to have been drinking vessels. Isotopic analysis of the man’s teeth suggested he had grown up in a mountainous region of central Europe.
Some of the artefacts were for metalworking. A shaped and polished stone could have been used to beat gold.
The Archer’s left kneecap was missing. The bones of the leg had grown thin because of muscle wastage. It is not possible to be certain but this was probably the result of a severe injury sustained when he was a young man.
Researching, drawing, writing
Next spring I’ll be having a small exhibition at Salisbury Museum of some of the drawings and research material that went into the ‘Archer’. I’m just beginning to revisit the books and piles of paper I’ve accumulated in an attempt to sort out my studio (and my head).
As I go along I’ll share some of the drawings, articles, objects and so on which became part of the process of writing and illustrating.
It was to Andrew Fitzpatrick, the excavation director, I turned first. He was by then deep into his post excavation research, very excited by his findings and very generous in wanting to share them with me. I remember calling him to ask what he thought of my idea and trying to take in all that he was saying.
Had I heard of the Bell Beaker (In the UK we say Beaker, in the rest of Europe it’s Bell Beaker) cemetery at Sion in Switzerland, where anthropomorphic stones, or stelae, depicted men and women in great detail?
The people appear to be wearing clothes decorated with designs similar to those on some Beakers. They have belts, bows and arrows, some have sporran-like bags and some small daggers, very like those in the Archer’s grave.
Professor Richard Harrison and Dr Volker Heyd of Bristol University had recently published a paper on the cemetery, which is known as Le Petit Chasseur. Andrew suggested I should go and have a chat.
This one has a dagger in his ‘sporran’
It seemed like a great place to start. I think best with a pencil in my hand so to develop some idea of what the Archer and his tribe might have looked like seemed a good way in.