Plastic copy of Clovis fluted point made from a lasar scan. Except for color and weight, it’s an exact replica.

The Ohio History Connection has begun the process of scanning selected artifacts with lasar beams in order to create near perfect 3D digital models of the objects. These digital models can be reproduced in plastic using a 3D printer allowing us to generate as many copies as we want from a digital “mold” that will never wear out. These reproductions can be used as hands-on educational resources or sales items for the museum shop.

Replica Clovis point with the actual specimen on display in the background

If the actual artifact is ever damaged or lost (perish the thought), the 3D model also will preserve a nearly perfect record of its dimensions — except for its weight, which means important data valuable to researchers will never be lost. Eventually, these digital models could be made available online so that researchers or anyone else could have remote access to the museum’s amazing collection of objects! (The Smithsonian is already doing this by the way.) One of the first objects we scanned is possibly the oldest human-made artifact in the Ohio History Connection’s entire collection — the beautiful Clovis point used as the image in our blog’s header! This spear point may have been used to hunt mastodons or mammoths — or to butcher Ice Age rabbits!

Diorama showing mastodon being butchered by Clovis hunters

Clovis points and lasers! You don’t often get to mention those two things in one blog post. Brad Lepper

Posted October 18, 2014
Topics: Archaeology

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