Digital Recordation, Analysis, Distribution, and Replication of Archaeological Artifacts

Alex J. Nyers and Justin A. Holcomb

In order to protect archaeological collections, access to artifacts is commonly restricted to researchers with specific purposes. Even so, traveling to collection facilities to make in-person studies of artifact attributes can be time consuming and costly; moreover, manual measures of artifact morphology are relatively slow and realistically limited to a narrow range of potential dimensions. For studies based on the morphometric aspects of artifacts, three dimensional scans offer a viable alternative to museum visits or collection loans.

Here, we describe the application of 3D laser scanning to create digital replicas of artifacts, the use of these digital replicas for quantitative analyses, and their dissemination.  We also describe the use of new, relatively low cost 3D printing techniques to create physical artifact replicas and their potential applications.

Presented at the 2013 Northwest Anthropological Conference. Click here to view the poster.