Jim Fisher's Avocational Archaeology
& Lithic Technology
Web Site

(Continued from page 1)

Long, a collecting and knapping friend, I was excited to see the base of a broad point poking from the side of a furrow.  You guessed it, as I pulled it from the sand I discovered it was missing a sizeable portion of its tip.  I was excited about the find because its form was atypical for the site and I was interested in determining its type.  The site typically yields large numbers of Lamoka points with an occasional Brewerton thrown in the mix.  This atypical find  became the first point whose digital image I attempted to restore.  As it turned out the virtual restoration helped me to determine that what I had found was a Perkiomen Broad Point.  An image of that first virtual restoration was e-mailed to my collecting buddy and I must credit Dan for the impetus to write this article as he felt that the topic may be of interest to IAM readers.   
    After scanning an incomplete point I use a program called Paint Shop Pro by Jasc Software to virtually reconstruct the broken find.  Versions 4 and 5 of this program are equipped with the

    With practice, it is possible to create images that would betray the incomplete nature of your broken finds.  This computer-aided process unfortunately will not allow you to hold your finished products in your hand but it can offer some creative challenges and a sense of closure for collectors with broken hearts and broken points.

editing tool that makes virtual restoration possible and relatively easy for collectors with a modicum of artistic talent.  Once the scanned image is imported into the editing program you are ready to begin the process.  The key editing tool that is employed is called a clone brush.  This tool allows the user the ability to sample from the artifact itself and reproduce matching colors and patterns.  Any graphic editing program that has a clone brush will likely allow you to achieve results similar to those you see pictured here.   
      While I am admittedly not an expert in the area of computer-aided graphic design, I have achieved results that have personally been very satisfying.  Here are a few tips that I have found to be helpful in creating convincing results:

  • Begin cloning at the artifact's point of fracture and slowly reconstruct toward the presumed terminal end of the missing portion (tip or base).

  • Experiment with brush shapes and attributes in order to blend the reconstructed parts of the image.

  • Try to layer and overlap your work by adjusting the opacity of the cloning brush, more translucent brush  work at first can be made more dense later.

  • Be aware of the dominant flaking patterns of the piece and try to sample and reproduce them.

  • Strategically place some of the material impurities and/or patina inconsistencies in the restored areas, it will lend a sense of authenticity to the final image.