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VCU Archaeology

3D Artifact Scanning at James Madison’s Montpelier

by Bernard K. Means, Project Director

Dr. Means preparing an artifact for scanning

At the invitation of Dr. Matthew Reeves, Rachael Hulvey and I met at Montpelier’s archaeology laboratory on Wednesday, May 23, to scan some artifacts recovered from locations across the Montpelier landscape. Dr. Reeves is Montpelier’s Director of Archaeology. We also brought along some resin replicas produced by our MakerBot Replicator. The archaeology laboratory at Montpelier is quite spacious and was bustling with activity, including the occasional visitor. Working with the Montpelier staff, we selected three artifacts for scanning: a colonware smoking pipe, a bird figurine fragment missing its head, and a fragment of a Pan figurine consisting only of its head. The head of the Greek god Pan proved too problematic for us to scan at present, but we have developed some solutions that should allow us to successfully scan the Pan figurine fragment at a future date. The Pan figure was identified by visiting Colonial Williamsburg staff as representing English drabware dating to the early 19th century.

Rachael Hulvey shows a member of the Montpelier archaeology staff one of the objects produced with our MakerBot Replicator.

While scanning of the artifacts took place, Dr. Reeves gave us a tour of the general Montpelier landscape and also showed us the ongoing field excavations conducted in cooperation with Dr. Clarence Geier and James Madison University. Quite a bustling scene! Rachael was particularly interested in the excavations, as she will be participating in the second field school at this very location beginning in July.

Dr. Matthew Reeves provides Rachael Hulvey with an overview of the current excavations at Montpelier.

We had a great time and look forward to a return visit. Right now, we are working on creating digital models of the artifacts that we successfully scanned so that Montpelier can integrate them into their already impressive public outreach efforts.







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  1. Pingback: A day at James Madison’s Montpelier | Dirty Trowels - August 26, 2012

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