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VCU Archaeology

The Trouble with Quartzite

Digital Curator: Clinton King



I started the week in the laboratory with a focus on the scanning of prehistoric points.  These initial scans are designed to test different settings on the scanner and to determine which settings offer the highest degree of metric accuracy while minimizing any distortion in the visualization of the artifact.  The initial scans have been very successful however we have been having problems with the scanning of artifacts containing quartz crystals.

Initial results when scanning objects with high amounts of quartz crystals resulted in the program failing to align the object, and also created distortion in the coloring. (Figure 1)

Figure 1

After discussing the issue with the V.C.U.-R.A.M.S. team, we believe that this is caused by the number of small crystalline structures within quartzite bending the laser, thereby distorting the return path.  For now this problem has been overcome by applying talc to the entire object which reduces distortion and allows for better object recognition by the scanner. (Figure 2)

Figure 2



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