Michael Carrasco, associate professor and director of museum and cultural heritage studies at Florida State University, spoke at Eastern Connecticut State University on Feb. 25 about his research in Mesoamerican studies and his use of the latest technology in conserving ancient artifacts. Mesoamerica is a region ranging from central Mexico to Belize and is defined by an assortment of cultural traits developed and shared by its original cultures.
Carrasco presented images of ancient Mesoamerican writing to the Eastern community and detailed its development. He explained how cutting edge, open-source technology can record and permanently preserve details that are not visible to the naked eye.
“We were very happy with the turnout; many students and faculty came from departments other than Art and Art History,” said Maline Werness-Rude, assistant professor of art history. “The technology he presented relates to a lot of fields other than art history. While Michael uses it in an archaeological context, communication and business majors can find points of interest in this type of technology as well.”
Carrasco spoke about the technology he uses to record archeological finds and how the process involves taking multiple shots of the artifacts from different vectors, making sure to get at least 60 percent overlap with the previous shots. The fact that the technology can be easily used to create, manipulate and/or modify images also provides new possibilities for digital artists. Regardless of their function, when groups of images are created in the way Carrasco described, they can be used in conjunction with high-tech software to transform them into 3D images, giving viewers the chance to look at them from different angles. “The technology Carrasco works with makes hidden details visible. It gives historians a chance to compare images and see how the monuments degrade from year to year,” said Werness-Rude. “This project, funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant and Florida State University, is a big success because it helps us study the conservation of Mesoamerican art.”