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3D printing cuneiform tablets

Researchers have come up with a cool use for 3D printing technology – making duplicates of ancient cuneiform tablets.

Tablets can be copied using latex molds, but this runs the risk of damaging the original, Owen said. The most important recent technological development in the field was digital photography; this allowed millions of ancient artifacts to become instantly available to scholars everywhere. But it is nothing like the real thing.

“With a photograph you can see a lot and that’s great, but oftentimes you can read even more if you can actually hold the tablet because of the angle of the light — how it hits the signs can help you see it better,” added Alexandra Kleinerman ’03, a postdoctoral associate working with Owen.

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Story: Anne Ju, Cornell University | Photo: Jason Koski, University Photography

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