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2. Collections background

Before entering into the digital domain we provide a brief background to the materials. One collection was of pre-Columbian ceramic vessels and other objects, all held by the Hampson Archaeological Museum State Park located in Wilson, Arkansas. The material represents an extraordinary collection of Native American artistic expression as well as a major source of data on the lives and history of late pre-Columbian peoples of the Mississippi River Valley. The collections at the museum are the result of extensive excavations of the Nodena Site as well as excavations at other sites in the region by Dr James K. Hampson, plus work by others, in the early to mid 20th century. The collection is particularly renowned for the near 1,000 complete pottery vessels. More on Nodena and the Hampson Collection can be found in Fischer-Carroll and Mainfort 2000; Mainfort et al. 2007 and Morse 1989. Previous publications on the Hampson Museum project include Payne et al. 2010, and Smallwood et al. 2009. A video (Video 1) developed as part of the project provides background on the entire project.

Video 1: Hampson overview video (this video contains no sound)

A very similar digital documentation effort was conducted with a smaller assemblage of materials from the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna. Amarna was the short-lived capital built by the Pharaoh Akhenaten and abandoned shortly after his death (c. 1332 BCE). It is of particular significance as it represents both the location of the first major society dedicated to the cult of a single god as well as an important city that was occupied for a relatively brief period and then abandoned. It is thus simultaneously the key to a chapter in the history of religious experience and to a fuller understanding of what it was like to be an ancient Egyptian. More information on Amarna can be found in Kemp 1977; Kemp 1995; Kemp 2002 and Kemp 2005. Video 2 reviews the project and virtual museum efforts.

Video 2: Amarna video overview (this video contains no sound)

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