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VCU Archaeology

Dispatch from India, Part 5

by Bernard K. Means

Friday, May 11, 2018, was the last full day I would spend in Srinagar (Garhwal) at the HNB Garhwal University archaeology laboratory, at least for this year, so I wanted to make the most of it.  I spent the early morning hours editing digital files from earlier scanning efforts in the lab and also some from the temple excursion the day before. The internet was working at the guest house so I posted more models to our Sketchfab site in two collections, one related to HNB Garhwal University archaeology and geology (https://sketchfab.com/virtualcurationlab/collections/hnb-garhwal-university), and the other to the temple scans (https://sketchfab.com/virtualcurationlab/collections/uttarakhand-temples).  The former included a number of Ice Age animal fossils we had scanned for the Geology department, including the extinct horse species Equus sivalensis. Some of the geology graduate students were due to come by this day, and I wanted to show them completed scans.

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3D scanning an Indohyaenodon raoi dentary

I should just make some quick comments about a daily schedule while in Srinagar (Garhwal), except the day we went to temples. Normally, tea was brought to my room sometime between 7 and 7:30 am and breakfast is ready in the dining room around 8:30 am.  The university does not open before 10 am. Lunch was around 1:30 or 2 pm or maybe later, and dinner was around 8:30 pm.  So these mundane activities punctuate and structured each day in Srinagar, excluding the day we went to visit Hindu temples.

After breakfast on Friday, I thought I would take an hour to wander around campus and take some pictures before we got back to doing some scanning. The campus has wild spaces throughout where the vegetation grows without check, and other places, such as in front of the university archaeology museum, where there is a beautiful garden with a wide variety of colorful flowers. The wild spaces I can’t imagine on an American university campus, but I like them.  I wondered about the kind of wildlife they support. There are numerous birds that make this campus their home that are unknown to me in the U.S., but the only ones I ever saw up close—including a pair that lived on my room’s balcony—were pigeons. As for my amazing photographic adventure, I cut it short.  While the earlier days here had been relatively cool, this morning it was extremely hot and very humid. I ended up back over at the archaeology lab at around 9:20 am and just sat in the shade until the building was unlocked around 9:50 am.

After Sudhir arrived, we began 3D scanning one of the fossils provided by the geology department, a radius of an Indohyaenodon raoi,  which was an extinct predator. Near the end of the second of two 3D scans, we lost power for the first of four times that day.  Luckily, a battery backup allowed us to finish this 3D scan.  The power losses were due to utility work that necessitated shutting off the power to the region without advance notice.  After the power returned, we tried to 3D scan another fossil, this time of Diacodexis indicus. The scan of this fossil was aborted twice due to two more power outages.  We decided during the second power outage to go over to the museum and use the Structure Scanner (which does not require external power) on some sculptures. We returned, did one of two scans on the Diacodexis indicus fossil before losing power for a fourth time, when we decided lunch would be a good idea.

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After lunch, we returned to the archaeology laboratory, and finished the fossil scans. Two geology students came by during the day, and were particularly interested in 3D printing. I let them know that I would send them replicas of the fossils after I returned to the U.S. We then finished the day by 3D scanning two sculptures.

One was too large and heavy to place on the NextEngine’s turntable, so I marked a board into 8 divisions and did 12 panel scans of the sculpture–8 with the sculpture laying on its side and 4 with it resting on its base.  Really, four more scans would have been good with it resting on its base, but we ran out of time for what would be my last 3D scan at HNB Garhwal University this year. Still,  the results look good, as you can see here (https://skfb.ly/6yRTH).

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The morning of Saturday, May 12, 2018, I had my final breakfast at the guesthouse, and was met first by Mohan Naithani and then Sudhir Nautiyal, who saw me off.

A car was waiting for me at 9:00 am to take me to Dehradun. My flight was not until 6:30 pm, but expected pilgrimage traffic in Rishikesh could have let to long days.  Fortunately, for whatever reason, we were only slightly delayed through Rishikesh.  The trip was only 4.5 hours, as opposed to the 6 hours I had from the journey to Srinagar (Garhwal) the previous Sunday. One highlight of the trip was a brief stop by the driver to take a look at where the Ganges has its beginnings.

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