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Unprecedented 3D reconstruction of pre-Columbian crania from the Caribbean and South America


Alfonso Benito Calvo, head of the Digital Mapping and 3-D Analysis Laboratory at the Centro Nacional de Investigacion sobre la Evolucion Humana (CENIEH) has participated in the 3-D reconstructions of a representative selection of 13 pre-Columbian human crania specifically from Cuba and Peru, which are part of the osteological collection of the The Montane Anthropological Museum in Cuba. The sample studied comprised crania with tabular oblique artificial deformation, annular deformation, and undeformed specimens. The 3-D models generated were used to produce prints and 3-D animated videos.

Unprecedented 3D reconstruction of pre-Columbian crania from the Caribbean and South America
Crania with oblique tabular deformation [Credit: G. Rangel de Lazaro et al. 2020]
The deformed and undeformed crania were digitized with the Artec Space Spider structured blue light scanner, which created three-dimensional models based on the real samples. The resulting 3-D models were used to produce 3-D printed replicas and animated videos. "These 3-D models of the Cuban pre-Columbian skulls have been made with microns precision," says Alfonso Benito.



The 3-D reconstruction of the crania will allow its precise systematic investigation and dissemination in different audiovisual media and online platforms, and they are also a perfect means to publicize the associated intangible resources, such as the experiences, rites and stories that surround these crania.


This study lead by Gizeh Rangel-de Lazaro (Natural History Museum in London and IPHES-URV) is published in the journal Virtual Archeology Review.

Source: CENIEH [July 27, 2020]

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