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VCU Archaeology

Putting the Past into the Hands of the Public

by Luke Davis-Lee

In my internship at the Virtual Curation Laboratory (VCL) this semester, I learned many things.  One of which was that I am not good at painting anything besides bones.  On my first day in the lab, I tried my hand at painting green glass and failed miserably.  After that I would come in and pretty much stick to filing and cleaning up 3D printed objects.  I was eventually introduced to the bone-painting guide made by our lab manager Brenna Geraghty.  It detailed exactly how to paint bones to look realistic.  I discovered that I was actually pretty good at painting 3D printed bones, and devoted most of my time in the lab to doing that.  I painted lots of bones, but the large ones were dog mandibles, a mastodon tooth, and a few animal skulls among others.

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I also helped Dr. Means with the Virtual Curation Laboratory booth at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of World Studies Student Research Conference.  We presented the work that we’ve been doing at the VCL over the semester to interested visitors.  That was a great experience for me, because I felt that I got to draw people into work I had been doing.  The fact that all of the artifacts we were presenting were 3D printed meant that we could indulge people’s curiosities and allow them to handle whatever they were interested in.  This makes 3D printing a very accessible way to put the past into the hands of the public.

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