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VCU Archaeology

FBG 150, the New York Times, and the Virtual Curation Laboratory

by Bernard K. Means, Project Director

FBG150 tin cup Bernard K Means

Tin cup animation by Bernard K Means

Over the last week, the town of Fredericksburg in Virginia commemorated the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg, which culminated in a major defeat of Union forces during the American Civil War. The commemoration included some amazing re-enactments of the clashes between Union and Confederate forces, as well as coverage in the local and national press.  The New York Times covered the commemoration in their Disunion page, and covered archaeology that took place in and around the City of Fredericskburg. Excavations by Taft Kiser of Cultural Resources, Inc., on a site occupied by the Union army, received considerable attention from the readers of the Times in early November (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/12/us/construction-site-offers-fleeting-glimpse-of-the-civil-war-past.html?_r=0) and the Times was interested in a followup on the archaeology of the Battle of Fredericksburg, and which Taft provided with this great piece “In Small Things Forgotten.

As part of this second article, Kerri Barile of Dovetail Cultural Resource Group worked with Taft to assemble a team of archaeologists and historians whose research intersected with the events of the Battle of Fredericksburg, to tell the story of this battle in 21 objects. The Virtual Curation Laboratory was invited to create digital models of several of these artifacts, and multimedia coordinator and VCU student Ashley McCuistion and I worked tirelessly (mostly Ashley, actually) to create several animated digital models for the 21 objects piece. Unfortunately, while some of our object photographs made it into the artifact-focused gallery–including two photographs where Ashley’s fingers are holding Civil War artifacts–the Times decided not to include the animations. So, to complement the work of Taft, Kerri, and other Fredericksburg archaeologists and historians, I present two of the animations here.  Look to the 21 objects piece for details about the artifacts. In a follow up blog, I will present some other animations.

FBG150 44ST286 pipe 8.12 Bernard K Means

Hookah Pipe scanned by Ashley McCuistion





  1. Pingback: From Mount Vernon to the MAAC | Digging Anthropology - March 9, 2013

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