Obsessively Opacifying Obsidian: Adapting Three Dimensional Laser Scanning Techniques

Author(s): Christopher Swoger

Year: 2015


Three dimensional (3D) imaging technologies are being increasingly utilized by archaeologists to improve the accuracy of material analysis. To facilitate the development of these technologies, it is crucial to determine the limits of different devices and materials. This project focused on the challenge of scanning obsidian blades with the Next Engine HD 3D Laser Scanner, a popular and inexpensive choice among researchers. The Next Engine device was used to scan six small obsidian blades from several Late Holocene sites in northern Kenya. In order to probe the limits of the technology when confronted with dark and reflective surfaces, several simple non-permanent surface treatments and scan techniques were tested on the obsidian blades including the application of an opacifying powder, a coating of cornstarch, and the use of the multidrive object stand. Results are compared with images created using standard lithic illustration methods, photography, and 3D photogrammetry to determine their usefulness in analysis.

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Obsessively Opacifying Obsidian: Adapting Three Dimensional Laser Scanning Techniques. Christopher Swoger. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397915)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -18.809; min lat: -38.823 ; max long: 53.262; max lat: 38.823 ;