Pictish symbol stone gets the 3D treatment

Pictish Craw Stane

The Craw Stane. Photograph by R. Brown, published in The Early Christian Monuments of Scotland (1903).

One of the accounts I follow on Twitter is the ACCORD Project which seeks to involve local communities in 3D digital visualisations of their heritage. The project’s full name is Archaeology Community Co-Production of Research Data. It’s run by the Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio in partnership with RCAHMS and the university archaeology departments at Glasgow and Manchester. Three weeks ago, the project website showed an example of how 3D printing technology can be used to produce models of ancient objects from digital photographs. The object in question is the Craw Stane at Rhynie in Aberdeenshire, a rough-hewn monolith carved with two Pictish symbols – a salmon and the enigmatic ‘Pictish beast’. The Craw Stane stands in what was undoubtedly an important landscape of power and ritual in the first millennium AD.

Based on data from 130 separate photographs, the 3D model was produced by Rhynie Woman – a collective of local artists – working alongside ACCORD. Click the link below to see the result.

Craw Stane printed in 3D

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More links….

Short video of the Craw Stane model being printed (looks like not much happening at first, but wait for the impressive finish)

Photographs of the collaboration between Rhynie Woman and ACCORD.

ACCORD Project website and Twitter account.

Description of the Craw Stane at the RCAHMS Canmore database

Rhynie Woman has a webpage and a Facebook page (where I spotted their excellent T-shirt design based on the famous ‘Rhynie Man’ Pictish carving)

Rhynie Environs Archaeological Project

Another collaboration between ACCORD and a local community has created a 3D model of a standing stone carved with an early medieval cross at Camas nan Geall in Ardnamurchan.

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6 comments on “Pictish symbol stone gets the 3D treatment

  1. 3D has finally stepped out of the silly movies. This is very cool use of that technology

    • Tim says:

      Almost exactly what I was thinking when I wrote the blogpost. I’m not a techno person by any stretch of the imagination, so I was pretty awestruck when I watched that YouTube video.

  2. Mick Deakin says:

    3D printing or ‘additive printing’ is becoming huge in one of the worlds oldest industries.
    The established means by which to produce a casting using patterns and core boxes to produce moulds and cores is being challenged ! Now, difficult mould and core shapes can be printed overnight in resin bonded sands – without joint lines. These printed shapes are extremely accurate – but still expensive ! It wont be long though before costs are reduced as competition increases. The foundry where I work has used these printed cores to produce complex castings for submarines – believe me, the industry is about to embark on a sea change 🙂

    Also – just look how 3D laser scanning has given us an insight into ‘Tig Guocobauc’



    • Tim says:

      Useful to get a perspective from the engineering industry, Mick. Also interesting to read about the Nottingham caves, which I think are totally new to me.

  3. Thank you Senchus for your fab blog post! We are excited to hear peoples’ reaction to this technology. The ACCORD community are happy to pass on their knowledge of how to use the tech, and it really is easy! You can contact them via our Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/accordprojectcommunity?fref=ts

    • Tim says:

      Thanks for visiting, Mhairi. I’m sure many folk will want to take a look at the Facebook page. Nice to see a Pictish connection for my old department (Archaeology@Manchester).

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