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VCU Archaeology

Coming Back For Seconds

Note that this blog post was completed by a Spring 2017 intern in the Virtual Curation Laboratory as part of the internship requirements.

by Ben Snyder


This was my second semester at the Virtual Curation Laboratory and it had some familiar work alongside allowing me to try my hand at some of the other things done in the lab. I spent most of last semester’s internship cleaning up and painting the 3D objects. This time I got to see the other side of the 3D printing process in working more on editing the digital models in preparation for their being printed. The basic editing process involved editing off excess static on models and then aligning the multiple different versions of one object to form a more complete model. This wasn’t always easy work, as the process could involve making very fine judgments, and alignments could especially prove frustrating.

Snyder Blog Pic 1

World War I entrenching tool

I always enjoyed the experience of seeing all of these objects from across the world and throughout history represented as these 3D digital models that I was able to edit. It shows an interesting development and use of technology that actually allows for us to strengthen our continuity with the past. In this way, it also illustrates the fact that the past is something that changes with the present. As we gain new ways to represent these things, they become alive in us in new ways; we are able to take in features of them until then not fully appreciated. All of the work being done here goes to show that, both in the digital models and their 3D printed versions; these all serve to open up new possibilities in representation.


snyder blog pic 2

One of the other most interesting aspects of my internship this time around was getting to see all of the new objects coming into the lab for various projects. This allowed me to get a look at some truly amazing things from the past. This included some entrenching tools from World War I, and an Egyptian funerary figurine known as an ushabti. While in large part this internship did involve dealing with representations of objects, things like these now and then allowed for some true reality to remind me of what this is all based on. It really adds to the appreciation of the process when you get to handle both the real objects, their digital models, and then the 3D prints made from them and see what each shares or differs in.




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