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VCU Archaeology

Arti-facts and Arti-fictions: Presenting the Past with Archaeology in the Community

by Bernard K. Means, Director

The gang is all here.

Preparing for the shoot: from left to right, Ashley McCuistion, Mariana Zechni, Olivia McCarty, Rachel Hulvey, Allen Huber, Dr. Alexandra Jones, and Lauren Volkers.

The Virtual Curation Laboratory was visited on December 6, 2013 by Dr. Alexandra Jones of Archaeology in the Community. Archaeology in the Community is described on their web site as: “a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to revealing the various ways in which archaeologists uncover the secrets of the past.” Dr. Jones was joined by Ali Bavugamenshi and Steve Hanks of 1256 Productions. They were at the Virtual Curation Laboratory to film lab personnel for their project The DIG: 365 Days of Artifacts which will feature an artifact a day from a dozen locations.  The DIG began in January 2014 with short videos posted to Instragram, and you can find links to the Instragram videos as they appear along with an associated animation at the Virtual Curation Museum web site. These videos are also available on Archaeology in the Community’s YouTube Channel.

Preparing to film "The Dig."

Preparing to film “The Dig.”

In addition to myself, Rachael Hulvey, Olivia McCarty, Ashley McCuistion, Lauren Volkers, and Mariana Zechini had eleven seconds per artifact to discuss the artifacts that we had scanned and then printed (thanks in large part to the hard work of Allen Huber).  Because we spoke about printed replicas–the arti-fictions of the blog title–we were able to present a wide variety of objects from across the world and from multiple collections repositories.  This would not have been possible with the actual artifacts themselves.

In no particular order, the 31 artifacts we talked about were an Acheulian handaxe (Courtesy of Dr. Verrelli of Virginia Commonwelath University (VCU)), a German  bomb fragment from World War II (Courtesy of Clover Hill High School), a Man/Bird carving (Courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Natural History), a groundhog skull (Courtesy of George Washington’s Ferry Farm), a smoking pipe with Masonic emblem (Courtesy of George Washington’s Ferry Farm), a smoking pipe with seated hookah smoker effigy (Courtesy of Cultural Resources, Inc.), a wig hair curler (Courtesy of George Washington’s Ferry Farm), a Civil War-era Williams cleaner bullet (Courtesy of Cultural Resources, Inc.), a chunkey stone from the Monongahela village site of Fort Hill (Courtesy of The State Museum of Pennsylvania), an historic carved stone pipe (Courtesy of Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest), a bone brush stock (Courtesy of George Washington’s Ferry Farm), a World War I doughboy figurine (Courtesy of Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest), an Aztec figurine head fragment (Courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Natural History), a rook chess piece or needle container (Courtesy of D.C. Office of Planning), a Folsom point replica (Courtesy of Dr. Michael Shott), a Kirk Serrated point (Courtesy of the Westmoreland Archaeological Society), a Snook Kill broadspear (Courtesy of The State Museum of Pennsylvania), a smoking pipe from the Monongahela village site of Fort Hill (Courtesy of The State Museum of Pennsylvania), a Susquehannock smoking pipe with animal effigy (Courtesy of The State Museum of Pennsylvania), a Susquehannock canine effigy pipe (Courtesy of The State Museum of Pennsylvania), the nose cap of an Enfield rifle (Courtesy of George Washington’s Ferry Farm), a bone awl from the Monongahela village site of Fort Hill (Courtesy of The State Museum of Pennsylvania), a Jeweler’s mold from Jamestown  (Courtesy of Jamestown Rediscovery), a wine bottle seal of Augustine Washington (Courtesy of George Washington National Monument), a skeleton key (Courtesy of James Madison’s Montpelier), a musket rest (Courtesy of James Madison’s Montpelier), a Susquehannock rim sherd with human effigy face (Courtesy of The State Museum of Pennsylvania), bird bone bead stock from the Monongahela village site of Martin (Courtesy of The State Museum of Pennsylvania), a human mandible from a medical collection (Courtesy of Dr. Amy Verrelli), a fragment of a Susquehannock bone comb (Courtesy of The State Museum of Pennsylvania), a raccoon skull (Courtesy of California University of Pennsylvania), a carved deer rib from the Monongahela village site of Consol (Courtesy of the Westmoreland Archaeological Society), a name seal from a World War II Japanese soldier (Courtesy of Clover Hill High School), and a piggy bank top (Courtesy of Alexandria Archaeology Museum).

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