The Association of Archaeological Illustrators & Surveyors (AAI&S) has now merged with the Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) – this process was formally completed on 31st October 2011.
All enquiries concerning the AAI&S should now be directed to the IfA

Institute for Archaeologists
University of Reading
PO Box 227


The services provided by the AAI&S and its responsibilities to its membership will now be provided by the Illustrators & Surveyors Special Interest Group of the IfA – click hereto view website.

The Illustrators & Surveyors Special Interest Group will continue to build on the work of the AAI&S representing all those visualising archaeological data, focusing on issues relating to standards, training and employment whilst contributing to the broader discussions on the development of the archaeological profession as a whole.

Assessment Process


In order to qualify as a Full Member of the Association it is necessary for a candidate to present examples of his/her work to a panel of assessors for critical analysis and consideration. Applicants must already have been accepted as Licentiate members of the Association, but there is no minimum time restriction before applying for Assessment once subscriptions have been paid.

When does the assessment panel meet?
Assessment panels may be convened whenever there are a sufficient number of candidates to justify setting one up. The dates for these are not fixed- and will depend on the number of candidates, the availability of candidates and that of members of the Assessment panel.

How can I apply?
To apply for Assessment, the candidate should complete a form, obtainable from the Assessments Officer, provide the names and addresses of two referees, list what categories of work they intend to submit and supply a CV. At least one of the referees should be a previous or current employer or client. The candidate is invited to submit work from any or all of the categories listed.

What do I need to supply?
Candidates are asked to submit their work in the form of a well-presented portfolio consisting, preferably, of published or original material, although good quality copies will often suffice. The Association will normally require evidence for a high standard in at least three categories for a pass. However, candidates with a narrow specialism will be considered favourably. The Assessments Officer can advise on this subject.

But what if I’m not based in the UK?
Candidates who live and work abroad may arrange a postal assessment with the Assessments Officer. Again, good quality copies of their work are required, but in addition, a dissertation on their methods and approach are needed.

Who will be assessing my work?
The assessment panel usually consists of three Full Members of the Association and one external specialist working within archaeology, chosen depending on the range of skills of the candidates. In order to maintain consistency of Assessment and standards, one panel member is usually held over for the following Assessment.

What happens at the Assessment?
The Assessment is an interview in which the candidate is asked to tell the panel about their background and experience and then to work through their portfolio in discussion with the panel. This should not be seen as an onerous experience, but as a discussion with your professional colleagues and peers on the presentation and quality of your work. The candidate then retires to allow the panel to discuss their views of the presented work and mark it accordingly. Following discussion among the panel, the candidate is then invited back to the meeting room to discuss any relevant points raised by the panel about their work and is informed of the outcome.

What criteria are used to judge my work?

A high degree of accuracy and attention to detail.The ability to depict a subject aesthetically without detracting from the archaeological information, thus producing an image that enhances the viewers’ interest and understanding.Technical expertise and the development of an individual style.Knowledge of, and appropriate use of, conventions.Suitability for publication or presentation; familiarity with working for reduction; and an appreciation of composition and layout.The panel will also take into consideration any constraints under which the candidate may operate.

After the Assessment.
Candidates are normally informed of the outcome within a week of the Assessment procedure. Those who pass are awarded a certificate and their names appear in the Newsletter. They are entitled to append the letters MAAIS to their name and titles. Successful candidates are required to submit an example of their work for publication in the Association’s Journal or Newsletter, and requested to provide A4 copies of their portfolio as an archive of the type of work being assessed. Candidates who fail on this occasion are encouraged, with advice on where their work could be improved, to re-submit and try again.

It is a good idea to look at the work of other illustrators, especially those who have already been assessed, to see what standard of work will be expected. The annual conference provides an excellent opportunity to meet other members and to see what their work is like. Portfolio sessions are often held where you can discuss your portfolio with other members and get some advice on content or presentation.