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VCU Archaeology

A mix between independent study and guided research

Note from Bernard K. Means: This blog is related to a course entitled Visualizing and Exhibiting Anthropology. As you can see, students were tasked with creating an exhibit, as well as presenting a research poster at the Spring Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium. Included here is a reflective blog, a one page summary for the student’s part of the exhibit, and the presented research poster. Blanks on the poster were places where 3-D printed  replicas were placed.

By William Swilley


I embarked on this class never having set up a display for public viewing but seeing this class as an opportunity to broaden my horizons as a presenter. The was designed to provide experience in setting up a museum display and leading object-based discussions; with the popularization of 3D printing and the accessibility of scanning technology object-based lesion are becoming more popular for presenting. After picking the topics for our display and being assigned India in the general scope and choosing Roopkund Lake in northern India as a research topic we began selecting our artifacts and printing ones that were not readily available. The entire class was a mix between independent study and guided research on how to set up a professional display.

bkm_2018-05-01 10.11.18

The only problem I ran into with the class was finding research for my topic, the specific area I had chosen in India hadl ittle formal research published on it. This left me relying on sources with details that can only be corroborated by other unverifiable sources. This proved to be an issue until an article was recommended to me by a credible anthropologist whom had visited Skelton lake and done some professional surveying of the site. the entire museum experience was both educational and allowed me to refine my capabilities as a presenter at the UROP Symposium where our research topics were unveiled.

Overall the class was a wonderful experience and I have few gripes with it and Dr. Means made the class more than enjoyable. Truly one of the best parts of the class for me were lesson planning and guest speakers, having a better understanding of how to incorporate 3D objects into a teaching environment will be of great use to me. Not to mention how 3D printing technology has become more mainstream so understanding the process to increase my marketability to another archology lab. Small criticism with the class are lack of regular lecture. I would have liked to come into class one day and talk about a reading from the book.  A lack of a class room though completely out of the hands of Dr. Means and falling on the heads of the VCU bureaucrats. More grades in the class would have also been nice little writing assignments or a quiz every other week just to keep the class moving at a steady pace would have also been nice. Otherwise the class was wonderful, and I would take it again if VCU would give me credit for it.


Swilley UROP poster














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