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VCU Archaeology

Heavens to Betsy: Scanning Shipwreck Artifacts at VDHR

by Bernard K. Means, Project Director

Bubbles show outline of Betsy. Image courtesy of VDHR.

VCU’s Virtual Archaeology team recently made the long return journey to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources–over a mile from the laboratory.  I was joined by VCU students Kristen Currey, Rachael Hulvey, and Allen Huber.   At the invitation of VDHR (Virginia Department of Historic Resources)’s Jolene Smith–a VCU alumnus–our goal was to scan some objects recovered from the Betsy, a British ship sunk off of Yorktown, Virginia, at the end of the Revolutionary War. The ship had been excavated in the 1980s by the Yorktown Shipwreck Archaeological Project under the direction of then VDHR archaeologist John Broadwater.

Jolene Smith examines an artifact being scanned in VDHR’s lab.

Using laboratory space made available by VDHR’s Dee DeRoche, we worked to create 3D scans of two wooden objects: a sheave, and a deadeye.  The digital models that we will develop from these scans will be incorporated into an online slideshow created by VDHR intern and VCU student Kelton Rasmussen–similar to the recently created Pamplin Pipe site slideshow: http://www.dhr.virginia.gov/SlideShows/Pamplin/pamplinTitleSlide.html

We’ll make sure we let you know when that slideshow goes live!



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