Make 3D Cardboard Models of Caddo Ceramic Vessels!


Among the many topics that we have breached of late has been how to best augment our 3D scanning, documentation and analysis efforts with an educational component. One promising method of doing this is through the creation of (cut-out) cardboard models. This is an inexpensive process that we encourage you to try. To create the model, we used a 3D scan of a Caddo ceramic vessel in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s collections from 41WD60 in Wood County, Texas (see more about this vessel here).


Using CAD-based software, we modeled the vessel and produced three easy-to-assemble cardboard reproductions that can be created by printing the .pdf’s provided in the text of this post, and simply gluing those printed pages (8.5 x 11″) to cardboard and cutting them out. Each of the slices has a number associated with it that corresponds to the adjoining piece. The first of these was created as a radial model, and produces the basic vessel form. To download the cardboard version of the radial model of the vessel, click here –> TPWD_41WD60_1976.31.7_RadialCardboard


Virtual model–center–and fabricated model–bottom left. Fabricated model made from an old moving box in our attic. Click to enlarge.

In addition to the radial model, we also created a horizontal model that can be glued together, one piece at a time by lining up the blue dots on the template pages (download directions for the horizontal model here –> TPWD_41WD60_1976.31.7_Cardboard


Future plans include exporting these designs to a laser cutter, where we can begin to incorporate different materials, like plastic (below), which may allow us to better view the design elements as well as the vessel’s shape (at least where those designs have a vertical and horizontal component).


Of course, it is also possible to build these models purely for fun – which is why we’re also providing you with plans to make a cardboard Caddo effigy vessel. This particular piece is curated at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory (TARL) from 41UR2 (click here for the tempate –> TARL_41UR2-23 here.


We hope that you will make some time to build one (or all) of the models provided in this post while pondering the rich history associated with these designs, and we encourage you to share them with your family as well as your students and peers. In the meantime, we will continue experimenting with the various educational potential that our 3D scans can provide, and will pass along more possibilities as they become available.

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Written by zselden

I am a research associate in the Center for Regional Heritage Research at Stephen F. Austin State University, where my work is focused at the confluence of archaeology, art, engineering, computer science, and the humanities. I am particularly interested in the application of 3D technologies to archaeological problems, geometric morphometrics, network analyses, archaeological theory, and archaeological science.