New 3D Technology Utilized for Preservation

3 people stand over a laptop in a small, dark room. The man in the middle clicks at a mouse.
Dr. Rogers and his crew from Ithaca College, Lexi and Ryan, scan the historic hearth and process the images created by the scan.

National Park Service

In June of 2018, Dr. Michael ‘Bodhi’ Rogers from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ithaca College visited Fort Stanwix National Monument to 3D scan the hearth. The hearth is a unique archaeological feature from the fort's occupation. It was excavated during the reconstruction of the fort and has been on display for visitors since the park opened in 1976. The hearth is the only original element of the fort left in place and is a visitor favorite.

Dr. Rogers is a physicist and archaeologist who uses specialized technology to record historic buildings, search for archaeological features without excavation, and even 3D print scale buildings and objects. He has used this technology to scan Trim Castle in Ireland, in addition to a variety of historic homes and forts for the National Park Service.

The hearth at Fort Stanwix will be the first archeological feature to undergo this 3D technology. Dr. Rogers, project coordinator and Ithaca College alum Ryan Bouricius, along with current student Lexi Farrington, utilized two hand-held 3D scanning devices to capture the hearth at a very high resolution. This will allow for a detailed rendering of the feature and provide information for the park to make decisions regarding the hearth’s preservation.

“This project is exciting because modern laser technology is the only way to fully record this important feature in high detail without damaging it,” Dr. Rogers stated, “Advances in online three dimensional rendering will also help us make this feature available for many more people to view it remotely, which we hope will inspire people to come see it in person.”

Chief of Cultural Resources at Fort Stanwix National Monument Keith Routley also noted, “Forty-two years on exhibit has led to deterioration of the feature and these high resolution scans capture intricate details about the hearth's current condition. This information can be used to help the NPS make decisions regarding long-term preservation.”

The park plans to share the finalized scan on the NPS.gov and is considering other ways it may help visitors enjoy the site. Currently the hearth room, along with the rest of the north casemate, is undergoing rehabilitation and is closed to the public for the next several months. However, summer Behind the Scenes Collection Tours are still available at various points throughout the year. These tours are a unique chance to learn about the archaeology, museum collection, and preservation at Fort Stanwix.
A man sits in a wooden boxy space with a laptop on his knees and feet near a crumbled brick hearth.
Dr. Rogers and his crew from Ithaca College scan the historic hearth and process the images created by the scan.

National Park Service

Last updated: October 4, 2018