Technology as a tool for archaeological research and artifact conservation

Gretchen Anderson and Giovanna Fregni

Abstract

Advances in image and analysis technology have been an immense benefit to the field of museum conservation. X-ray Fluorescence, 3-D imaging and industrial X-ray/CT scans all provide data through minimally destructive and noninvasive analysis.

Recent research at the Science Museum of Minnesota utilized equipment including the Bodelin ProScope HR, the Leica Stereo Explorer, the Next Engine Desktop 3-D Scanner and CT scans provided by North Star Imaging, Inc. This technology not only provides the conservator with needed analysis of composition and detailed images of surface structure, but equipment such as the Next Engine scanner can create three-dimensional images of an artifact that can be viewed from a variety of angles and measured without further handling of the artifact. This technology creates virtual duplicates that can be shared, measured, and studied by other institutions, thus providing larger data samples for researchers and information for conservators without subjecting artifacts to risks through repeated handling.

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