Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

In our eighteen years in business we've had the opportunity to scan many important historical artifacts, places, memorials, and buildings that would be fitting to discuss on July 4th. Perhaps most appropriate to share on Independence Day is the R. Charlton Coffeehouse in Colonial Williamsburg, VA.

The Coffeehouse was of significant historical importance, both to the city of Williamsburg and to the Revolution itself. Coffee houses of that time were known for more than their coffee, tea, and chocolate served to the colonials - they were also an important gathering place for political conversation. This activity made Charlton's coffee house one of Williamsburg's political ‘hotspots’ of the time - and therefor a likely spot for discussion and planning of the coming revolution. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Francis Fauquier were often in attendance. In particular, Charlton's Coffeehouse served as the site of Williamsburg's Stamp Act Rebellion which culminated in a standoff between an angry mob and a stamp agent on the coffeehouse's front porch.

DDI worked with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to laser capture what remains of the coffee house’s stone foundation. Of the original structure, only part of the brick foundation and some wooden fragments are still intact. We scanned the exposed foundation and the earthen floor with our Surphaser HSX spherical scanner. This unique scanner captures extremely accurate and high resolution data over a medium-range (2-10 meters). The Surphaser is a non-contact laser scanner so none of the delicate centuries-old foundation was harmed during the data capture process.

The raw 3D ‘point cloud’ data gathered in Williamsburg was then digitally modeled back at the Direct Dimensions facility in Baltimore, Maryland. The final surface mesh model was used to analyze the archaeological features found at the site. The data was used to help plan the reconstruction of the Charlton coffee house, which was rebuilt and furnished in the style of an accurate 18th century structure.