On Interactive 3D Models and Descendant Communities

Most of the 3D modelling that we do at the CRHR is focused upon documenting Caddo burial vessels prior to repatriation or reburial. While I use many of these models in my research (click here to learn more), we have been working with the Caddo Nation to find additional methods of disseminating these scans to their membership.

One of the many ways that we have been able to do this is through combining the utility of Sketchfab through the Facebook platform. We recently began to upload all of our scan data to the new Caddo Heritage Museum page on Sketchfab, and are sharing one new scan per day on the Caddo Nation Heritage Museum‘s Facebook page (click here to view interactive 3D models on their Facebook page). Among those caveats stipulated by the Caddo Nation prior to scanning these vessels is a restriction that requires the texture file be omitted from publicly-accessible models–meaning that all of these models are uniform in color.

The model below was posted on the Caddo Nation Heritage Museum’s Facebook page this morning, where you can rotate, zoom in/out, and otherwise interact with the model.


I want to bring your attention to a few useful options in Sketchfab, where there are four icons at the bottom right of the screen. You can use the eyeball (far left) to change the viewer mode (orbit or first person), the rendering options to change the way that the model is rendered (can change the shading [helps to see the decorative elements] and view the wireframe), and–should you have the hardware to use it–there is also an option to view the vessel in Virtual Reality (or VR) by clicking on the goggles. The last icon will allow you to view the model in full-screen mode.


There are currently two pipes that you can view with texture (many thanks to the Caddo Nation for permission to post these) from the Gahagan site. The frog (above–click here or on the image to view in 3D) and the anthropomorphic figure (below–click here or on the image to view in 3D) are both curated at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport, Louisiana. The anthropomorphic figure does have a texture file associated with it, but is shown here in matcap (rendering option) where the features of the pipe are more easily seen.


In an effort to better engage the larger Caddo community, we are posting one 3D model per business day (and sometimes on the weekend; but not always) on the Caddo Nation Heritage Museum’s Facebook page for the remainder of 2016. We encourage you to like their Facebook page, and follow their postings to see the wide range of ceramic forms and designs produced by ancestral Caddo potters.

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Written by zselden

My research is focused at the confluence of archaeology, 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.