by Amanda Ndemo, VCU Honors College Student
This summer I had the opportunity to work with VCU’s Virtual Curation Lab. Before beginning my internship my knowledge of three dimensional laser scanning was minimal, I had only heard of it briefly in some of my classes and hadn’t really placed much thought into its impact within the field of archaeology. The opportunity to work at the lab came about in an advising meeting during last spring semester. I had been looking for summer internship opportunities and when I was told about the Virtual Curation Lab I knew it would be a unique and beneficial experience for me.
My internship is a collaboration with VCU’s Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Program (HSURP) so one of my tasks while at the Virtual Curation Lab was in developing a research topic on 3D scanning. After weeks of research and help from my mentor, Dr. Means, I decided to expound on the benefits of 3D laser scanning in bio-archaeological studies specifically dealing in the areas of morphometric analysis. Some of the items that were scanned include faunal remains such as groundhog and raccoon bones, other items scanned were hominid skull replicas.
When I first started out at the lab I was a bit nervous to begin with, mainly because managing the equipment and software did seem very complicated. However, my transition into the lab and learning the basics of the NextEngine scanner turned out to be an easy task. With the help from the coordinator, other interns as well as pictorial guidelines created for the software it didn’t take too long before I had a hang on things. Although things went smoothly in the beginning with the scanning process I do have to admit it quickly changed when it came down to post processing the data. With no previous knowledge on the applications used in editing 3D models it became a daunting task of trial and error.
Much of the work I’m doing is still in progress but as the summer comes to an end I plan to continue my research into the upcoming school year.