Field school has ended, summer has passed, and a new semester at VCU has just begun! It seems ridiculous to assume that anything I do this fall will compare to the excitement I experienced at Ferry Farm and the fun I had traveling with the Virtual Curation Unit all summer, but I have done my best to ensure that I will not undergo a moment of boredom this semester, and that I will have plenty to blog about throughout the year! Nearly all of my classes this semester are anthropology courses, and I am also doing an internship with Dr. Means in the Virtual Curation Laboratory.
My internship involves scanning and processing artifacts, much like I was doing over the summer but far more in depth and with less traveling. We kicked off the internship and the fall semester the day before it began, when Dr. Amy Rector Verrelli, a professor at VCU and a biological anthropologist, loaned us a beautiful one million year old Acheulean Hand Axe that was found near Cape Town, South Africa. Acheulean Hand Axes are stone tools that were the product of Homo Erectus.
This was, by far, the oldest artifact I had ever held, and the oldest thing the Virtual Curation Lab has ever scanned. Dr. Means, Mariana Zechini, and I were all working in the lab at the time and we were very eager to get this artifact scanned and create a digital model of it. The scan was successful and the results looked good, but when it came time to process the file I discovered that there was quite a bit of data missing and I was unable to finalize the process. We concluded that we needed to try the scan again and obtain a better image, so that is exactly what I did on Friday. The new scan looks fantastic, so hopefully this week I will be able to successfully process the file! In any case, this was a very exciting way to start the semester!
In addition to classes and my internship, I have just become the president of a new student organization at VCU called the Virtual Archaeology Scanning Team (VAST). I am very excited about this organization, as many of the founding members are students I went to field school with, so this will give us the opportunity to connect with other anthropology students at our university and remain active and engaged in archaeology and 3d scanning during the school year.
In all, I this semester is off to a fantastic start, and although I am sad that this extraordinary summer has come to an end, I can’t wait to see what opportunities and adventures I will stumble across this year, and where I might end up when the next field season begins!