Monthly Archives: July 2014

Animation of the Day: 18th Century Brewery Foundations at William and Mary

by Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory (VCL)

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On July 30, 2014, I visited the excavations of an 18th-century structure on the campus of the College of William and Mary, adjacent to the Wren Building.  The excavations, conducted under the auspices of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation CWF), have uncovered the remains of what appear to the the foundations of a brewery. The scan made using the Sense 3D scanner focuses on a part of the structure showing where an addition had been made, cut by a modern utility line.  CWF archaeologist (and former intern in the VCL) Crystal Castleberry provided me with a tour of the excavations.

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Scanning the foundations. Photograph by Crystal Castleberry.

Crystal Castleberry.

Crystal Castleberry.

Categories: 18th century, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation | 1 Comment

Animations of the Day: More from the Colonial Cellar at George Washington’s Ferry Farm

by Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory

 

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Today’s animations are two different views of a Colonial-era cellar that may be attributed to George Washington and his family in the home where he grew up as a boy from the age of 6 until his early 20s. One quarter of the cellar was excavated  in early July of 2014 at George Washington’s Ferry Farm and animations of the feature are present here. A second quarter of the cellar is currently being excavates and was scanned by Allen Huber using the Sense 3D scanner on July 29, 2014.

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Using editing software, I “opened” up one side of the cellar to make it easier for researchers to view.

Categories: 18th century, Animation of the day, Gallery, George Washington's Ferry Farm | Leave a comment

Animation of the Day: Wig Hair Curler with Residue from George Washington’s Ferry Farm

by Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory

 

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Today’s animation is a wig hair curler from an 18th century context associated with George Washington and his family in the home where he grew up as a boy from the age of 6 until his early 20s. It was recovered archaeologically at George Washington’s Ferry Farm. This animation was created by Lauren Volkers, a Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus excavating at Ferry Farm this summer. Lauren also edited the digital model generated during the scanning process.

Note: the following text is  from a popular summary written about a wig hair curler residue analysis project and provided by Laura J. Galke, Artifact Analyst and Field Director, George Washington’s Ferry Farm.

Scientists Discover Colonial-era Hair Powder

on Washington Curlers

A collaborative venture between the George Washington Foundation (GWF) , Fredericksburg, the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Richmond, and the College of William and Mary Applied Research Center, Newport News, has uncovered evidence for mid-eighteenth century wig powder on fired-clay artifacts unearthed at Ferry Farm, the boyhood home of George Washington, Stafford County, Virginia.

During the eighteenth-century, wigs or ‘perukes’ were an essential component of stylish male attire.  The most fashionable of these hairpieces featured curls.  These curls required maintenance by a gentleman’s hairdresser, which included periodically re-setting the curls and applying a lard-based pomatum followed by a dusting of powder.  The historical record documents that wigs were worn by at least one of George’s three brothers at Ferry Farm:  Samuel Washington.

Archaeologists at Ferry Farm have recovered almost 200 fired-clay wig hair curlers.  At Ferry Farm, these curlers were tools used to re-set a wig’s curls.  GWF archaeologist Laura Galke noted that a few of the curlers retained visible black, white and translucent residues and speculated that they may reflect materials used for wig hair care during the middle 1700s.  VCU anthropology professor Dr. Christopher Stevenson became aware of Galke’s hypothesis and agreed to form a research partnership to analyze the residues.  Stevenson invited a team of material scientists at the William and Mary Applied Research Center to analyze the residues.

One of the great challenges facing the team was how to analyze such minute traces.  The incredibly small size of the residues, consisting of a few milligrams of material, required a sampling method technique appropriate for such tiny deposits.  Drawing on the resources of the Applied Research Center, scanning electron microscopy/ x-ray fluorescence and infrared spectroscopy were used to characterize the deposits.  The x-ray analysis provided an elemental analysis of the residue while infrared spectroscopy resulted in spectra that identified organic compounds.

The results suggest that a few of the Washington family curlers retained hair powder made from either wheat flour or white kaolin clay.  Pulverized shell was also mixed in with some of the clay and powder deposits.  In addition, some curlers exhibited rusted iron residues, which Galke believes to be the remains from iron hair pins used to hold the curlers in place while the wig hair was styled and set.

This is the first time that residues on historical wig hair curlers have been analyzed in a systematic scientific fashion.  The preservation of 250-year old residues on curlers has never before been documented.  The use of curlers as part of a home-based wig hair maintenance regimen at George Washington’s boyhood home represents a new discovery about our first President’s home, where he lived between 1738 and early 1754.  The team will present their findings at a statewide conference this October.  They hope to inspire similar collaborative projects and analyses using other curated collections.

Categories: 18th century, Animation of the day, Gallery, George Washington's Ferry Farm | Leave a comment

Animation of the Day: Forensic Reconstruction of an Individual from Burial 9 in the Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground

by Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory

 

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Today’s animation is a forensic reconstruction of a woman recovered from the Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground, an 18th century African American cemetery near Albany, New York.  More details on this cemetery can be found here. This  reconstruction of the individual from Burial 9 was scanned at the New York State Museum (NYSM) by NYSM bioarchaeology technician Julie Weatherwax using the Virtual Curation Laboratory’s Sense 3D scanner. The artist who sculpted this face is Gay Malin, a former NYSM exhibit specialist.

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Categories: 17th century, Animation of the day, Forensic reconstruction, Gallery, New York State Museum | Leave a comment

Animation of the Day: Reconstruction of a Neanderthal

by Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory

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Today’s animation is from a plaster  reconstruction of a Neanderthal man that was in the bioarchaeology laboratory of the  New York State Museum (NYSM). I scanned this bust using the Virtual Curation Laboratory’s Sense 3D scanner.

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Categories: Animation of the day, Forensic reconstruction, Gallery, Neanderthal, New York State Museum | Leave a comment

Animation of the Day: Forensic Reconstruction of an Individual from the Coeymans house in Coeymans, New York

by Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory

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Today’s animation is a forensic reconstruction of a woman from the Coeymans house in Coeymans, New York, which is a few miles south of Albany. The reconstruction was scanned at the New York State Museum (NYSM) by NYSM bioarchaeology technician Julie Weatherwax using the Virtual Curation Laboratories Sense 3D scanner.  According to NYSM Curator of Bioarchaeology and NAGPRA Coordinator Lisa Anderson, “Her skull was found in the foundation of a wing of the house that was built around 1720 and modified in the late 18th century. How it ended up there is still a mystery but she was an unfortunate victim of scalping. The artist who sculpted this face is Gay Malin, a former NYSM exhibit specialist.”

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Categories: 18th century, Animation of the day, Forensic reconstruction, Gallery, New York State Museum | Leave a comment

Animation of the Day: Forensic Reconstruction of an Individual from Burial 3 in the Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground

by Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory

 

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Today’s animation is a forensic reconstruction of a woman recovered from the Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground, an 18th century African American cemetery near Albany, New York.  More details on this cemetery can be found here. This  reconstruction of the individual from Burial 3 was scanned at the New York State Museum (NYSM) by NYSM bioarchaeology technician Julie Weatherwax using the Virtual Curation Laboratory’s Sense 3D scanner. The artist who sculpted this face is Gay Malin, a former NYSM exhibit specialist.

 

 

Categories: 17th century, Animation of the day, Forensic reconstruction, Gallery, New York State Museum | Leave a comment

Animation of the Day: Kirk Serrated Point from Anne Arundel County, Maryland

by Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory (VCL)

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Today’s animation is a Kirk Serrated Point recovered archaeologically by the Lost Towns Project located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. This point was scanned in the Virtual Curation Laboratory on Monday, March 18, 2014, by Digital Curation Specialist Lauren Volkers.

Categories: Animation of the day, chipped stone tools, Gallery, Lost Towns Project, Maryland archaeology | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Animation of the Day: Bark Bed Reconstruction from the Sheep Rock Shelter Exhibit

by Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory (VCL)

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Today’s animation is a bark bed reconstruction from the Sheep Rock Shelter exhibit at  The State Museum of Pennsylvania (TSMP). A stone-lined hearth is visible at a lower level.  This section of the Sheep Rock Shelter was scanned with a Sense 3D scanner on July 21, 2014.

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Categories: Animation of the day, Gallery, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, villages | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Animated Object of the Day: Large Mammal Bone

by Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory

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Our animation for today is a large mammal bone scanned from the faunal type collection at the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH). Normally, we use the NextEngine Desktop 3D scanner for bone, but I wanted to see whether the Sense 3D scanner could work with a large bone.  While the Sense 3D scanner works reasonably well for features and people, the quality of the scan for even a large bone is not sufficient for analytical needs.  VMNH intern Jessica Clark assisted with this scanning effort on July 18, 2014.

Jessica Clark scanning the large mammal bone.

Jessica Clark scanning the large mammal bone.

 

Categories: Animation of the day, Gallery, raccoon, Zooarchaeology | Leave a comment

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