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FW: 11/12/2003 Daily Report from The Chronicle of Higher Education

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    [snip] MAGAZINES & JOURNALS A glance at the fall issue of American Archaeology : A hands-off way of studying artifacts With digital scanners, archaeologists
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 13, 2003
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      A glance at the fall issue of "American Archaeology":
      A hands-off way of studying artifacts

      With digital scanners, archaeologists can create three-
      dimensional representations of artifacts that can be studied and
      manipulated on the Web, says Michael Bawaya, the magazine's

      Such "virtual" archaeology could open up new ways of viewing and
      conserving archaeological collections. Virtual collections could
      allow more researchers to study fragile objects that would
      deteriorate with too much handling. And researchers could more
      easily identify their finds by comparing them to virtual copies
      of specimens in collections across the country or around the

      Unfortunately, "gee-whiz technology comes at a gee-whiz price,"
      Mr. Bawaya writes. The equipment for making good scans can cost
      more than $100,000, not counting labor and the expense of
      archiving the data and making it available on the Web. But
      advances in technology could make virtual technology more viable
      in the near future, he says.

      Some scientists worry that museums would use the technology only
      for their flashiest artifacts, not the more representative ones,
      or that virtual copies would make some administrators think the
      originals were dispensable. But on the whole, "virtual
      archaeology has the potential to do far more good than harm," he

      The article, "The Virtues of Virtual Archaeology," is not
      online. Information about the magazine is available at

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