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Exhibition: 3-D Printing of Ancient Pottery from Cetamura

Published September 24, 2015

Cetamura Redux: International Archaeology Day at MoFA


At a conference on new technology hosted by Sponsored Research, Dr. Nancy de Grummond of the Department of Classics encountered Windham Graves, Research Assistant and MMAP Project Leader of the Facility for Arts Research. Their subsequent collaboration resulted in 3-D printing utilizing profile-drawing reconstructions of ancient pottery. So successful were the prototype vessels, that Dr. de Grummond, her students, and the FAR staff printed and polished an entire exhibition that is currently at MoFA—Printing Ancient Pottery in 3-D: Etruscan Ceramics from Cetamura del Chianti.


Due to its sheer size, a huge storage container (a dolium) required something more than 3-D printing: that fabrication challenge was undertaken by the FAR team and completed by Windham Graves and Max Gross.


On International Archaeology Day in October, Dr. de Grummond’s exhibition took advantage of another aspect of 3-D printing: it can be picked up, handled, examined. “Please do touch” is not an instruction normally seen in a museum. Dr. Sandra Lewis, Professor and Coordinator, Visual Disabilities Program of Florida State University, and her students along with Dr. de Grummond’s students assisted young visitors with educational exercises including the re-assembly of a smashed flower pot, analogous to the reconstruction of ceramics from fragments at an archaeological site.

1. Maker-bot demonstration at the Museum printed three small votive vessels at the same time; each blue matrix object was later sanded and colored to resemble the original material.


2. Windham Graves—with a sense of accomplishment— demonstating the “please do touch” aspect of the exhibition. Windham created the Cetamura dolium at FAR, completed with the assistance of Max Gross.

3. Max Gross, Dr. Nancy de Grummond and Windham Graves in the exhibition as it was being readied for the opening.

4. Students who participated in the International Programs archaeology classes in Italy are ready to assist young visitors dig in salted trays of soil and gravel.

5. Drs Nancy de Grummond (Classics) and Sandra Lewis (Visual Disabilities Program / FSU) are interviewed on International Archaeology Day about their projects for young visitors.

6. A student reassembles a ceramic pot from fragments.

7. Students from Lighthouse

7. Students from Lighthouse completed the re-assembly of broken pots using painter’s tape and museum wax.

8. Dr. de Grummond demonstrates the touchable nature of the objects to Windham Graves and guests at the opening of the exhibition.

9. Max Gross and Windham Graves delivered the dolium to the Museum from FAR.



Prepared by Dr. Nancy de Grummond and Windham Graves. There will be available braille labels and touch tours of the exhibition. This exhibition will run from October 16th through November 15th. The MoFA is open Mon-Fri 9:00am-4:00pm, and Sat & Sun 1:00-4:00pm. Admission is FREE and open to the public!


See the article in FSView


cetamura-exhibition-poster_fullwidth Best Screen shot 2015-07-02 at 7.10.29 PM Kate-Kaplan-with-Parts-of-Jar


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