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Belvoir Slave Quarters


This digital animation gives viewers a chance to virtually walk through the Belvoir slave quarters. It was created by a team of archaeologists and 3D reconstruction artists using architectural elements and artifacts discovered during excavations. The building was occupied between the 1780s and 1860s, so the team needed to decide which era they wanted to represent in the animation. Since there are, today, known descendants of the enslaved community who lived there between 1816 and 1850, the team chose to furnish the quarters with artifacts from that specific time period. Furthermore, the mugs and jars sitting on shelves, as well as the stoneware butter churn, for example, are based on ceramic sherds that were unearthed at the site. Even the ducks, gourd dippers, and corn hanging in the kitchen were inspired by archaeological finds.


Drone photography and LiDAR scanning of the site allowed the team to capture the exact measurements of the stone foundation, brick walls, and fireplaces of the building’s kitchen and two bedrooms. It was even possible to add small cellars and the brick floor patterns with exact precision. When it came time to make decisions about the number of window panes, the spacing of joists, and color of paint trim, an architectural historian provided direction based on similar buildings from the late eighteenth century.


Credits: Julie Schablitsky, Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration, Archaeologist; Dennis Pogue, University of Maryland, Architectural Historian; Joe Nicoli, Direct Dimensions, 3D Laser Scanning, 3D Reconstruction, and Digital Model Coordination; Clara Hickman, Direct Dimensions, Lead Animator and Lead 3D Reconstruction Artist; Terry Kilby, Elevated Element, Drone Photography