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VCU Archaeology

Ability to print material from a research site thousands of miles away

by William Swilley, Intern

My name is William Swilley, and this was my first internship with any association on VCU’s campus. I am a currently in the school of World studies obtaining a degree in anthropology, a minor in biology and a focus in archeology. I am looking to pursue a career in archeology focusing on public relations after attending graduate school. This internship is a great opportunity to gain knowledge and skills about 3D scanning and printing of artifacts; the process of 3D printing artifacts has opened a new world of opportunity for public archeology and relations.  Being able to make near exact replicas of artifacts that are lighter, able to be manipulated/reengaged, and can be broken or given away with little to no consequences allows for great accessibility of artifacts to the public.

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Virtual Curation Lab Display work in progress

The Virtual Curation lab was instrumental for my personal effort in pursuing a research opportunity this semester. The research I focused on was Roopkund Lake in North India. Also known as “Skelton Lake”, this is an extremely large archaeological site with little formal research published on it. The director of the printing lab Dr. Bernard Means not only introduced me to the Roopkund site but had scanned material from the site which I then was able to implement in my research. The ability to print material from a research site thousands of miles away and present with it increase the gravity of the subject matter you are speaking about, especially when its human remains. The Virtual Creation Lab not only allows researchers the ability to share artifacts across vast distances, it allows for the public to handle artifacts bare handed when they would be considered too delicate.

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Rowell base coated and ready for final paint




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