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VCU Archaeology

Back to the MAACs: the Virtual Curation Laboratory at the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference

by Bernard K. Means, Director

Setting the Next Engine Desktop 3D scanner up at the MAACs adjacent to printed plastic replicas from digital models.

Setting the Next Engine Desktop 3D scanner up at the MAACs adjacent to printed plastic replicas from digital models.

Last Wednesday, March 12, 2014, with hands gripping the steering wheel, I made my way to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to attend the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference.  Here, I represented the Virtual Curation Laboratory in a number of venues that encouraged professional and public interaction. The next morning, I was part of a forum on undergraduate education organized by Heather Wholey and Carole Nash. My contribution to this discussion focused on how work in the Virtual Curation Laboratory has become central to the teaching of undergraduates at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and promoting their research (parenthetically, I will discuss in future posts the forthcoming publications by VCU undergraduates in the  Quarterly Bulletin of the Archeological Society of Virginia and Pennsylvania Archaeologist).

A MAAC attendee examines the Virtual Curation Laboratory display.

A MAAC attendee examines the Virtual Curation Laboratory display.

For the afternoon, I had organized a workshop on technological applications in archaeology within the Middle Atlantic region.  I scanned two artifacts provided by participants, and also showed off two of the posters that we had created as part of an exhibit in VCU’s James Branch Cabell Lirbary…. and a wide range of plastic replicas of artifacts.

Examining a plastic replica.

Examining a plastic replica.

The next day, Saturday morning, I was part of a session on collections and conservation organized by Emily Williams, Archaeological Conservator for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Here, I covered the Virtual Curation Museum we established last October to accompany the exhibit in Cabell Library, discussing how the web site is used to promote our research, including that by my student researchers.

Looking at the poster display of temporally diagnostic chipped stone tools.

Looking at the poster display of temporally diagnostic chipped stone tools.

Overall, a great conference and one that involved considerable discussions and future collaborations with scholars throughout the region!

A young attendee expresses interest.

A young attendee expresses interest in the efforts of the Virtual Curation Laboratory.

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