Dr. Robert Z. Selden, Jr.

Dr. Robert Z. Selden, Jr. received a grant from NCPTT in 2014. With this grant, Selden used 3D preservation, documentation, and geometric morphometrics on intact Caddo NAGPRA vessels that were in the Turner Collection at Stephen F. Austin State University. He has since expanded the program to artifacts curated at Northwestern State University of Louisiana.


With a desire to examine and study artifacts while preserving their integrity, Selden used  3D geometric morphometrics to scan artifacts and created digital renderings for other experts to examine. The benefits of this method are numerous and include the identification of numerous subcategories of vessel form within the currently defined categories. Additionally, this allows for the preservation of individual artifacts that otherwise would go through more contact and degradation using traditional methods of analysis. To see a result of Selden’s work, click on the picture below.

Belcher Ridged Vessel

3D Belcher Ridged Vessel from the Belcher Site. To see a result of Selden’s work, click on the picture.

An example of this method can be seen in the above artifact. This artifact is a Belcher Ridged vessel that originated at the Belcher Site in Northwest Louisiana. With permission from the curators at Northwestern State University and the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma, Selden was able to scan and create a 3D workable model of the artifact.  He scanned several artifacts, such as this one, at Stephen F. Austin State University as well as at Northwestern State University (NSU). As a result of his work at NSU, many artifacts were returned to the tribe through a repatriation agreement.

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