Thursday, May 10, 2012

Redefining archaeological research

Andrew Nelson 

Anthropology professor Andrew Nelson places a 5,000-year-old cuneiform clay tablet into the new microCT scanner at the Sustainable Archaeology Repository, located at the Western-based Museum of Ontario Archaeology.

Gently cradling a 5,000-year-old cuneiform clay tablet from Ur (modern day Iraq), Andrew Nelson wishes he could peel back the layers to find out what makes up this first-generation iPad. And thanks to a new microCT scanner at Western’s Sustainable Archaeology Repository (SAR), the Anthropology professor has done just that. 

With the touch of a button, the object was scanned, reconstructed and fully rendered using more than 3,000 individual images, allowing for high-quality visualization and inspection. 

“Imaging is a signature strength at Western, and that ranges from clinical imaging to the microCT imaging facilities down at Robarts (Research Institute). Western has established this as a No. 1 place for CT imaging,” said Nelson, adding he knows of only one similar microCT unit, located at National Research Council in Montreal. Western’s scanner is the only one dedicated strictly to archaeological research.

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