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VCU Archaeology

Physical to Virtual and Everything in Between!

by Becki Bowman, Intern in the Virtual Curation Laboratory

My name is Becki Bowman and I am currently a 22 year old undergraduate at Virginia Commonwealth University. I am an Anthropology major with specific interests in osteology, zooarchaeology, biological anthropology, and biological archaeology. For the summer of 2014, I chose to spend my time focusing on my archaeological interests by interning for Dr. Means in the Virtual Curation Lab (VCL). My goal is to familiarize myself with handling material remains and acquiring proper virtual curation techniques. I hope to use these skills to further my knowledge in the archaeological field and to extend my options for various graduate studies.

Intern Beck Bowman paints replica artifacts for future display in the DC Public Library

Intern Beck Bowman paints replica artifacts for future display in the DC Public Library

Thus far, this internship has taught me the importance of proper virtual curation, organization, and has demonstrated its many contributions towards public archaeology. Working with Jamestown Rediscovery, I have seen in action how virtual curation and 3D-printing can be used to engage the public.

Jamestown's Jeff Aronowitz, Becki Bowman, and Vivian Hite scanning artifacts in the Jamestown Rediscovery lab.

Jamestown’s Jeff Aronowitz, Becki Bowman, and Vivian Hite scanning artifacts in the Jamestown Rediscovery lab.

One particular example is how we scanned, printed, and painted a 3D copy of an ivory compass. This allowed the public to physically interact with an exact replica, expanding their interests and comprehension of the past. I hope to continue learning virtual curation skills and public archaeology through my work in VCU’s Virtual Curation Lab. One task I am excited to begin is splitting my time between the VCL and Virginia Department of Historical Resources (VDHR). Working closely with VDHR Conservator of Archaeology Katherine Ridgway and Dr. Means, I will practice physical mending of artifacts and compare them with virtual mending. These comparisons will show the positives and negatives of each technique and hopefully help to create a new standard for artifact mending. After working on this independent study, I will be able to present my findings at the annual meeting for the Archeological Society of Virginia (ASV) in October.

VCU's Ivana Adzic, Laurren Hogg, and Becki Bowman discuss opportunities with VDHR's Katherine Ridgway.

VCU’s Ivana Adzic, Laurren Hogg, and Becki Bowman discuss opportunities with VDHR’s Katherine Ridgway.

VCU’s Virtual Curation Lab provides amazing opportunities for anyone interested in anthropology and archaeology. So far, it has been a great source for knowledge, growth, and connections in the subject and field. I have enjoyed every minute of my internship and have high hopes for what the rest of the semester will hold.

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