Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal - by Katharine Grayson, Staff WriterDate: Friday, July 15, 2011, 2:03pm CDTView photo gallery (3 photos)
- An image taken by one of North Star's scanners of a model ancient clay ball. The objects contain tokens, which represent items exchanged during a transaction.
Northstar Imaging Inc.’s 3-D X-ray machines are often used to scan medical devices and aerospace products. This week, though, the company’s technology is helping solve an ancient mystery.
- Katharine Grayson
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The University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute is using Rogers-based Northstar’s CT scanners to peer into “clay balls” that date back to 3,500 B.C.
The artifacts are akin to a receipt for a business transaction. They contain tokens that represent items exchanged during a transaction.
Experts at the Oriental Institute didn’t want to break open the clay balls to see what was inside, which is where Northstar’s imaging technology comes in. The company’s CT scanners can see through the balls’ outer shells and reveal the shapes of the objects inside.
The clay balls tie in with a larger special exhibit, called Visible Language, that was held at the Oriental Institute from ran from last fall through March 2011. (You can read a New York Times story on that exhibit here.)
There’s no word yet on exactly what the imaging work uncovered. (Scans were being taken Thursday and Friday.)
Northstar’s technology has been used in other archaeological endeavors. The Science Museum of Minnesota used it to scan a 150 million-year-old fossilized crocodile skull, for instance.
See the chronicle of news about the Oriental Institute.