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Towards a best practice for the use of active non-contact surface scanning to record human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts

Towards a best practice for the use of active non-contact surface scanning to record human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts
Towards a best practice for the use of active non-contact surface scanning to record human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts
Active surface scanners emit light or a laser stripe to record the exterior surface of an object or landscape, providing results in three dimensions. The use of active surface scanners to record anthropological and archaeological contexts has increased within the last few years, creating a number of sub-contexts within these disciplines, and allowing a further development of certain applications, such as quantitative analysis, the use of replicas in education and museums, and the creation of digital databases archived in institutions. However with guidance, this paper aims to assess the advantages and disadvantages of active surface scanning and the potential for research with regards to the recording and analysis of human skeletal remains. The key advantages and uses identified include: quantitative digitisation, geometric morphometric studies, conservation, preservation, documentation, and reconstruction. However, surface scanning also has some limitations, including: cost, technological expertise, the need for a power source, computing requirements, and data size. Overall, the application of active surface scanning technology to archaeological skeletal remains will provide a vital digital archive that will serve to preserve the integrity of this fragile and finite resource for future generations. This is particularly important within the current developer-funded environment in which many skeletal collections, including those yielding unique or unusual pathological or morphological features, are re-buried, with only very limited time for analysis.
1047-482X
650–661
Errickson, D.
2f8ed50b-c9ac-45c4-afde-da74d40880f3
Grueso, I.
2b7f8b1d-4607-4a20-bbb8-4591271204b1
Griffith, S. J.
ddad652e-7fc2-46de-9361-4729b14c5701
Setchell, J.M.
f7269974-5915-4bdd-9117-fe04e9ccd625
Thompson, T.J.U.
8b1a3243-3f5c-4460-8e1d-7af2bc447308
Thompson, C.E.L.
2a304aa6-761e-4d99-b227-cedb67129bfb
Gowland, R.L.
42a017cd-908d-400b-87ed-a91f1f56e251
Errickson, D.
2f8ed50b-c9ac-45c4-afde-da74d40880f3
Grueso, I.
2b7f8b1d-4607-4a20-bbb8-4591271204b1
Griffith, S. J.
ddad652e-7fc2-46de-9361-4729b14c5701
Setchell, J.M.
f7269974-5915-4bdd-9117-fe04e9ccd625
Thompson, T.J.U.
8b1a3243-3f5c-4460-8e1d-7af2bc447308
Thompson, C.E.L.
2a304aa6-761e-4d99-b227-cedb67129bfb
Gowland, R.L.
42a017cd-908d-400b-87ed-a91f1f56e251

Errickson, D., Grueso, I., Griffith, S. J., Setchell, J.M., Thompson, T.J.U., Thompson, C.E.L. and Gowland, R.L. (2017) Towards a best practice for the use of active non-contact surface scanning to record human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 27 (4), 650–661. (doi:10.1002/oa.2587).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Active surface scanners emit light or a laser stripe to record the exterior surface of an object or landscape, providing results in three dimensions. The use of active surface scanners to record anthropological and archaeological contexts has increased within the last few years, creating a number of sub-contexts within these disciplines, and allowing a further development of certain applications, such as quantitative analysis, the use of replicas in education and museums, and the creation of digital databases archived in institutions. However with guidance, this paper aims to assess the advantages and disadvantages of active surface scanning and the potential for research with regards to the recording and analysis of human skeletal remains. The key advantages and uses identified include: quantitative digitisation, geometric morphometric studies, conservation, preservation, documentation, and reconstruction. However, surface scanning also has some limitations, including: cost, technological expertise, the need for a power source, computing requirements, and data size. Overall, the application of active surface scanning technology to archaeological skeletal remains will provide a vital digital archive that will serve to preserve the integrity of this fragile and finite resource for future generations. This is particularly important within the current developer-funded environment in which many skeletal collections, including those yielding unique or unusual pathological or morphological features, are re-buried, with only very limited time for analysis.

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Errickson et al. 2017 - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 17 February 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 22 February 2017
Published date: 1 July 2017
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: 'Towards a best practice for the use of active non-contact surface scanning to record human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts', which has been published in final form at [10.1002/oa.2587]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Organisations: Geology & Geophysics, Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 406179
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/406179
ISSN: 1047-482X
PURE UUID: a3afa189-c10b-4ad1-b010-c3308c64652e
ORCID for C.E.L. Thompson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1105-6838

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Date deposited: 10 Mar 2017 10:41
Last modified: 17 Feb 2022 02:35

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Contributors

Author: D. Errickson
Author: I. Grueso
Author: S. J. Griffith
Author: J.M. Setchell
Author: T.J.U. Thompson
Author: C.E.L. Thompson ORCID iD
Author: R.L. Gowland

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