Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sam and Christine are Graduating!

This has been the last semester for Sam and Christine at SMU! Dr. Eiselt, Rachel, and I (Lauren) are going to miss both their hard work and shenanigans!

From left to right: Christine, Sam, Lauren

Best of luck, Sam and Christine!


3D Scans Galore: Ground Stone

Here are some more scans we made from the Collins Collection. Thank you again to our Mustangs Give Back Donors for making this possible!

All of these models are ground stones. Ground stone are different than flintknapped stone, because they were made using different methods. As you might guess, flintknapped tools were made by flintknapping, a process in which a stone is chipped away or flaked by another stone to create a tool, like a projectile point. A ground stone is produced through abrasion: either grinding or pecking, to form the shape that the crafter wanted.

Here is a grooved axe, SMU

This example is a full grooved axe. It's called "full grooved," because the groove wraps all the way around the stone. The groove could have been used to mount the axe by placing it between a split stick. some axes are half or three-quarter grooved, meaning that the groove does not completely wrap around the axe.

This is a Chunkey Circle Roller, SMU Rollers like this were used in Chunkey, a game played by southeastern Native American groups.

Chunkey Rollers usually have a smoother surface, and concave sides. Sometimes they have a hole through the center.

The last ground stone we scanned was Birdstone SMU Birdstones are a type of bannerstone, which were used as weights on atlatls, a prehistoric dart throwing device. Most bannerstones have a butterfly shape. An alternative is a boat stone, which was used for the same purpose. Boatstones, like birdstones, are named for their shape, which is a hollowed out "cup" (think paper-boat shape).

When attached to an atlatl, these bannerstones would have added more leverage, giving the dart-thrower greater propulsion.  Here is an example of how they were attached:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

3D Scans Galore: Lithics and Clay

On March 7th SMU hosted Mustangs Give Back Day! Mustangs Give Back Day is an event where SMU departments and organizations raise money to fund projects or other needs. The SMU Collections Management Team raised money so we could work more on our 3D scanning. Thank you to all our Mustangs Give Back Donors!

We started with some large projectile points and a knife from the Collins Collection:

SMU 92.1.95

And then we scanned a Wyandotte Chert Disc from the Collins Collection (SMU Many discs like this were found at the Hopwell site in southern Indiana. More than 8,000 of these discs were found in a cache in Mound 2. Disc by SMUMaterialScience on Sketchfab

Lastly, we scanned a historic clay pipe (SMU

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Visit to Deason Innovation Gym

Today we visited the Deason Innovation Gym (DIG), in the basement of one of SMU's engineering buildings, Caruth Hall. While we were there, we went through orientation and training for how to use the 3D printer. 

The DIG is a unique space for students to come and create whatever they want (within reason). They have laser cutters, power tools, vinyl cutters, and 3D printers. 

We were only trained on the 3D printer today, and in the future we hope to use it to print some miniature vessels from the models Dr. Selden created in February.

One of the DIG 3D Prtiners

There are 3 steps to using a 3D printer: design, slice, and print! We learned how to use different programs to do these things on a computer connected to the printer.

Afterwards, our instructor printed an example project. It was tiny, so it only took about 3 minutes to print. He said that the longest project printed at the DIG took about 12 hours! It was an Eiffel Tower, and was a little shorter than 1 ft.

Some other 3D projects we saw while at the DIG:

Soon we will be going back to the DIG to show that we are competent and confident in using the programs and printer. Then, we will be free to use the printer whenever we want! To learn more about the DIG, check out their website.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hamilton and Marr Event

On March 28th, we attended the Hamilton and Marr Scholars Event! The event showcased researched projects done by the Hamilton and Marr Scholars. These scholars are students who received funding for research from the Jack and Jane Hamilton Undergraduate Research Scholarship and Dr. Ray H. Marr Undergraduate Research Scholarship. 

We are Marr Scholars, and are graciously funded by the Dr. Ray H. Marr Undergraduate Research Scholarship through the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man. The scholarship has made our research on exploring the uses of 3D Archaeology possible. Unfortunately, Christine was not feeling well, and was unable to attend the event. We missed you!

Dr. Ray H. Marr and the Marr Scholars

During the event, some of the scholars prepared posters about their research projects, and others gave presentations. The subjects of these research projects ranged from anthropology to chemistry to economics, and other departments within the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences here at SMU. We had a wonderful time at the event, and it was very interesting seeing all the amazing projects that other undergraduate are students working on!

Thank you again to both Dr. Ray H. Marr and the Hamilton Family for making all of this possible!

Left to right: Dr. Eiselt, Sam, Lauren

Friday, March 18, 2016

Dino-Lite Photos

Since Dr. Selden's visit, he has completed the 3D models of the vessels, and has begun publishing them on Sketchfab. They are also being posted on the Caddo Nation Heritage Museum Facebook Page, which has new 3D models of Caddo vessels posted everyday.

Click the play button to interact with the model.

While he's been completing the models, we began using a Dino-Lite to take microscopic photos of different sections of the vessels that Dr. Selden scanned.

We set up using a boom stand, which holds the Dino-Lite steady in place. Underneath it, we placed a foam sheet where the vessels would be in order to add padding, and protect them from the surface of the table. Sometimes, if the vessel is too small for the Dino-Lite to capture a good angle, we would place a book underneath the vessel to raise it.

And then we were ready to begin taking pictures!

 After focusing the Dino-Lite, we took pictures of cross sections, incisions or punctations, and the surface of the vessels.

 The cross section of an area of the vessel, usually the rim, that has been broken. This allows you to see the temper of the vessel.

Incisions and punctations are decorative elements made on the surface of a vessel. Incisions are engravings made by cutting or scrapping the surface, while punctations are impressions made in the clay using either a tool or finger.

Incising example:

Punctate example:

We took multiple pictures of each element at different angles of light, because it creates more dimensions, which makes for a more accurate image of the vessel.

 After all the pictures are captured, we saved them all and moved on to the next vessel.

Next, we will begin experimenting with trying to use the Dino-Lite to create microscopic 3D models!

Friday, March 4, 2016

3D Scanning Workshop Day 2

Earlier this month, on Saturday February 6th, we continued learning about 3D scanning and modeling from Dr. Selden. One of the projects we focused on that day was using photogrammetry to create 3D models. To do this, we went the Daniels Family Cemetery, a private cemetery in Dallas, which the Daniels Family allowed us to visit. While there, we took photos of two Woodmen of the World grave markers.
 Dr. Selden explained to us that these markers were provided by the insurance company Woodmen of the World Insurance, operated through WoodmenLife, upon the death of a customer. 

Before we could begin, Dr. Seldon explained to us how to take photos for a 3D model. Here is a photo that shows Dr. Selden demonstrating how to take photos of one of the grave markers.

The method we used at the cemetery is very similar to the way we took photos of Rachel's Pet when we were first experimenting with Autodesk 123D Catch, which we have discussed in a previous blog post. We began by standing in front of the marker, and then slowly walking around it in a circle, making sure to take one photo for each step. When we completed the circle, we had about 20 photos of the marker. 

Here is a photo of Sam and I holding down grass that had grown around the base of a marker, while Christine takes photos using this method.

After this, we had to take photos at a higher angle in order to capture the top of the marker. Without this step, the 3D model would have had a hole at the top. Here is Dr. Selden showing Christine how to take photos at a higher angle. 

The last step is to take detail shots of the marker. This step was very simple, and only required a few photos of the Woodmen of the World emblem, and some other shots of the branches on the marker. This made the details of the 3D model clearer than they would have been if we had just used the photos from the first two steps.

After that final step, we headed back to the lab to stitch together all of our photos and create the 3D model! But first, Dr. Selden took a selfie.
From left to right: Dr. Selden (foreground), Rachel, Lauren, Sam, Chrisitne, and Dr. Eiselt (background)

When we got back to the lab, we used a program called Autodesk 123D Catch, the same program we used to create the model of Rachel's Pet, to stitch the photos together and create the model. It is a free, easy to use program that you can download here

While we do not have the 3D models of the grave markers that we took photos of, you can see examples of other models of Woodmen of the World markers here on Dr. Selden's blog, crhr:archaeology. If you want to learn more about photogrammetry or Autodesk 123D Catch, you can read this article, also on Dr. Selden's blog.