Students Learn about New Technologies Being Used to Study the Past

Olivia DrakeApril 2, 20184min

On March 28, the Archaeology Program and the Department of Classical Studies invited Ian Roy of Brandeis University to Wesleyan to discuss ways new technologies are used to study the past. Roy is the founding head of Brandeis MakerLab and director for research technology and innovation at Brandeis University’s library.

Object from the Wesleyan Anthropology Archeology Collections
Students learned how to use a portable Artec 3-D scanner to scan a vessel from the Wesleyan University Archaeology and Anthropology Collections.

Roy first visited the Archaeometry: How to Science the Heck out of Archaeology class taught by Andrew Koh, visiting assistant professor of archaeology. There, he demonstrated how to scan objects in 3-D using an Artec Space Spyder, a tool that uses structured light to capture incredibly high-resolution scans of objects. The class produced multiple models of artifacts, including a vessel that has since been posted to Sketchfab.

“What’s so amazing is that these are just quick versions made in only 15 minutes, without any post-processing and touch-ups,” said Kate Birney, assistant professor of classical studies, archaeology, and art history.

Roy also spoke about emerging technologies in archaeology to Birney’s Art and Archaeology of the Bronze Age Mediterranean class and interested Wesleyan faculty. Roy explained how new scanning processes can be used to re-create ancient sites and objects as 3-D prints, or in augmented and virtual reality environments.

Students took turns trying on HoloLens goggles to see and interact with Bronze Age artifacts from Crete in augmented reality, and even to try their hands at flying some of the small drones used for on-site image capture.

Photos of the class activities are below:

Roy explains how to use the 3-D scanner.
Ana Rodriguez Santory, a visiting student from Puerto Rico, examines a scaled 3-D print of a sculpture. 
Ana Rodriguez Santory, a visiting student from Puerto Rico, examines a scaled 3-D print of a sculpture.
Ana Rodriguez Santory, Dominique Nunnelly ’19, and Andrew Rogers ‘21 learned how to fly drones. 
Ana Rodriguez Santory, Dominique Nunnally ’19, and Andrew Rogers ‘21 learn how to fly drones.
Roy demonstrates augmented reality to students and faculty.
Roy demonstrates augmented reality to students and faculty.
Students watch as the Gyptodon is scanned.
Students watch as the Glyptodon is photographed with the scanner.