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VCU Archaeology

Brushing Up on History

by Bernard K. Means, Director

I spent the last Monday and last day in September at George Washington’s Ferry Farm in Fredericksburg.  My main goal was to scan some diagnostic chipped stone tools from the Middle Archaic and Middle Woodland periods.  Although we’ve managed to scan numerous temporally diagnostic chipped stone tools dating from the Paleoindian period to the eve of European Contact, these two periods were underrepresented in our digital collection. I also want to create plastic replicas of points from these two periods to incorporate into an exhibit we are developing for our library. However, I began my day by scanning an early 19th century bone tooth brush in the Small Finds Laboratory at Ferry Farm.  This bone tooth brush was set aside for analysis and cataloging, and caught my eye.  This was partly because of the excellent preservation, but also because of how personal an artifact like a tooth brush would have been to his or her owner.

Scanning a tooth brush

Scanning a tooth brush

Digital model of tooth brush

Digital model of tooth brush

And, of course, after brushing up on my historic artifacts, I scanned some diagnostic chipped stone tools.

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