Anthropology project gives students hands-on experience

If any skeletons roam the New College campus during Halloween week, they should watch out for Kara DiComo. The anthropology student buried a fake skeleton last week and unearthed it as part of her thesis project, and she will stage another burial later in the semester.

“For my thesis I decided that I wanted to look into a form of documentation technology called 3D photogrammetry,” said DiComo, “which involved taking a series of 2D photos that can be used to create a 3D model, and how it can potentially be used in relation to the documentation and analysis of human skeletal remains.”

DiComo created a mock burial site with the help of Professor of Anthropology and Heritage Studies Uzi Baram, the founding director of the New College Public Archaeology Lab, and a team of volunteers. The lab’s recent acquisition of the skeleton enabled DiComo to complete her work.

“This entire project was only possible because NCPAL not only had a suitable space to place my mock burial,” she said, “but also, and more importantly, had the proper equipment needed to perform the excavation.”

DiComo attended a bioarchaeology field program at a medieval cemetery during summer break after her sophomore year at New College. Researchers there were using photogrammetry to document the excavation site, which sparked her interest in the technique.

The final step in the process is to create 3D models of the site using specialized software. DiComo’s next excavation will be a surface scatter, which more closely mimics the forensic anthropological work she hopes to pursue after graduation.

Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay is home to more than 800 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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