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VCU Archaeology

Detailed Work Goes A Long Way

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

by Diana Salazar


As my second time working for Dr. Bernard Means in the Virtual Curation Lab, I had another great and successful semester. Unfortunately, this time, I had a few drawbacks to my time spent here and I had less time at the Internship. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy my time here or that I didn’t contribute at all. In fact, I personally thought I did a lot on the down low.

As the same as last semester, I spent most of my hours painting 3-D printed replicas. There were several more interns this semester than we had last semester, so a lot of the cleaning and base coating were already done by them. And, with many more interns,that  meant a lot less work. However, I did a notice a few pieces that wouldn’t be painted for a while and that’s because they were very detailed pieces. I know that a lot of the interns could have done it if they really tried, but I can understand that it would take a lot of time and effort instead of doing the many other easy paintings and tasks that needed to be done in the lab. So I took the chance to paint some of the very detailed replicas.


Painting the details on the vessel

One of the challenging pieces that we had to do was a vase with a blue bunny decorated on it. Dr. Means had made several prints of this object but surprisingly, many of them were already done. There were probably about two of them that didn’t have the blue bunny painted on it yet, so I decided to fill in when I was the only one in the lab. It was a bit challenging because there were a lot of shapes and designs that were imprinted on the original object, but luckily the 3-D print had captured some lines that helped guide where you need to paint.


Egyptian robot in the progress

I had a similar object that I needed to detail: an Egyptian Robot that I had to paint for one of my class projects. He may seem easy but getting him just right was a bit challenging for me (probably because I was being too much of a perfectionist). Fortunately, there were also some guiding lines that helped me figure out where some borders should be at.


Holding up the slipware sherd


However, one of the most detailed and challenging 3-D replicas was this slipware shard. I noticed that the two of them hadn’t been painted for a couple weeks, despite the number of interns we had, so I decided to take a gander at it. Dr. Means showed me what exactly this object looked like and I was a bit astonished. If I remember correctly, I stayed back at the lab just trying to complete this finished look for one of them. It probably took me 2 hours and a lot of touch ups and going back with paint to make it look good enough. But I was very proud of myself doing something like this, because last semester I wouldn’t have really taken the chance.

As it was getting late, I didn’t have enough time to start the second piece but the next time I came to lab to do it, it wasn’t there anymore. Maybe an intern saw mine, thought that if I could do it, they could do it, and did it. That would be quite the inspiration.



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