ICRU student Hannah Scates and Charlie Sojka working on the 2008 archaeological reconstruction for Dr. Russell Ciochon and Dr. Art Bettis.
UI Undergraduate Digitizes the Past
In the 1930s a team of archaeologists found numerous hominid skulls in the jungles of Ngandong, Java. They never published their findings and their records remained incomplete. In 2008, the same plot of land in Indonesia was excavated by a different team of archaeologist headed by Dr. Art Bettis and Dr. Russell Ciochon.
Once Bettis and Ciochon returned to the University of Iowa campus from their excavation in Ngandong, they handed their records over to a UI junior Hannah Scates. She immediately began to make a reconstruction of the 1930’s and 2008 excavations using Autodesk soft-wares such as Autocad and 3d Studio Max. “By using these soft-wares,” she excitedly explains, “I can reconstruct the archaeological site in 3D. It’s a whole new perspective on record keeping”.
Scates’ reconstructions were used in Dr. Ciochon’s presentation given during the 78th annual American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) convention. The reconstructions of the 1930’s and 2008 archaeological excavations were used together to show the relationship between the ancient artifacts found in the small area. According to Ciochon the talk was an immense success, everything went smoothly and the animated reconstructions put together by Scates and Charlie Sojka, a computer science major, worked perfectly for the talk.
This last April Scates presented her work at the UI Spring Undergraduate Research Festival in poster form and will during the coming December have her work presented at the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is also working in collaboration with Dr. Brenda Longfellow building reconstructions of ancient Roman fountains for Longfellow’s upcoming book Roman Imperialism and Civic Patronage: Form, Meaning and Ideology in Monumental Fountain Complexes under contract with Cambridge University Press.
Hannah Scates plans on attending graduate school to obtain her Master’s degree in Anthropology focusing on digital humanities. “I’ve always wanted to take what we know of the past and make it tangible and the scholarship I received through ICRU (Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates) is allowing me to do it.”