Boston using 3D printing technology to bring city’s artifacts, historic record to life

There is an effort currently underway to document artifacts from Boston’s many archeological sites and make them directly accessible to you at home. For those making it happen, they see it as an opportunity to make the stories of the people and places of those who came before us available […]

There is an effort currently underway to document artifacts from Boston’s many archeological sites and make them directly accessible to you at home. For those making it happen, they see it as an opportunity to make the stories of the people and places of those who came before us available to everyone today. “Archeology is essentially the history of humanity through trash,” said city of Boston Archeologist Joe Bagley, who has a lot of historic trash at his disposal.As archeologists for the city, Bagley and his team are digitally documenting and cataloging thousands of items that have been unearthed years ago. “So we have about 200,000 artifacts photographed online and about 25 of those we’ve gone through the process of 3D scanning and putting online,” he said. Each one of the items serves as a tangible connection to the city’s past, including a German mug from the 1700s discovered at Faneuil Hall or a woman’s broach unearthed at a property at 71 Joy St. on Beacon Hill. “This is something somebody wore on their body, potentially every day, it was special to someone,” said Nadia Kline, a digital archeologist. Currently, 18 of the scanned artifacts, like an inkwell from an 1870s North End brothel, can now be downloaded at home, and if you have access to a 3D printer, you can reproduce a life-sized replica.”What this speaks to is the literacy of the women that were working at the brothel, and we were able to scan the artifact in 3D and put it online,” Kline said.The goal is not only to engage a new generation with a physical part of our past, but also to help fill in the gaps in stories that may have never been told.”This is people’s everyday lives and the stories they were living every day hundreds of years ago,” Kline said.Currently, there are almost 2 million different items in their collection, including a more than 400-year-old spoon that was found in Charlestown.Eventually, they’d like to have all of the items on their database for you to explore.Click here to browse the City of Boston Archeology archives.

There is an effort currently underway to document artifacts from Boston’s many archeological sites and make them directly accessible to you at home.

For those making it happen, they see it as an opportunity to make the stories of the people and places of those who came before us available to everyone today.

“Archeology is essentially the history of humanity through trash,” said city of Boston Archeologist Joe Bagley, who has a lot of historic trash at his disposal.

As archeologists for the city, Bagley and his team are digitally documenting and cataloging thousands of items that have been unearthed years ago.

“So we have about 200,000 artifacts photographed online and about 25 of those we’ve gone through the process of 3D scanning and putting online,” he said.

Each one of the items serves as a tangible connection to the city’s past, including a German mug from the 1700s discovered at Faneuil Hall or a woman’s broach unearthed at a property at 71 Joy St. on Beacon Hill.

“This is something somebody wore on their body, potentially every day, it was special to someone,” said Nadia Kline, a digital archeologist.

Currently, 18 of the scanned artifacts, like an inkwell from an 1870s North End brothel, can now be downloaded at home, and if you have access to a 3D printer, you can reproduce a life-sized replica.

“What this speaks to is the literacy of the women that were working at the brothel, and we were able to scan the artifact in 3D and put it online,” Kline said.

The goal is not only to engage a new generation with a physical part of our past, but also to help fill in the gaps in stories that may have never been told.

“This is people’s everyday lives and the stories they were living every day hundreds of years ago,” Kline said.

Currently, there are almost 2 million different items in their collection, including a more than 400-year-old spoon that was found in Charlestown.

Eventually, they’d like to have all of the items on their database for you to explore.

Click here to browse the City of Boston Archeology archives.

https://www.wcvb.com/article/boston-using-3d-printing-technology-to-bring-artifacts-to-life/39676269

Dong Anker

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