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3D Models Support Digital Historic Preservation

graphic of 3D Models Support Preservation
3D Models Support Preservation

At the Neolithic village of Skara Brae off the northern coast of Scotland, serpentine green slopes overlay the remains of a community so complete that many of the houses feature stone beds, dressers, and cupboards—even though the village is older than both Stonehenge and the pyramids of Giza. The site, which was once home to some 50 people, overlooks the blustery Bay of Skaill. Over the millennia, wind and water have slowly eaten into the hills around the ruins, putting them at risk of eventual destruction. For the last decade, the preservation organization Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has been visiting Skara Brae developing strategies to capture 3D models.

From an article in Nova by Alissa Greenberg.

to protect what’s sometimes known as the “Scottish Pompeii” from encroaching erosion. One of their most successful efforts has nothing to do with wood or stone and everything to do with light. Every two years, HES conservators bring laser scanners to the remote northern island to gather a 3D image of Skara Brae, including both its structures and the surrounding dunes and cliffs. Comparing the resulting data set to its predecessors has helped them identify to the millimeter how the landscape has changed.

“To be able to monitor what’s going on is essential,” says Sophia Mirashrafi, who helps coordinate HES’s digital projects and get them ready for presentation to the public. “Scanning doesn’t stop the water from eroding the site, but it can be used to help inform decisions about how it can be protected.” She and her team also used the scans—known as point-cloud models—to create interactive virtual experiences that give the public up-close access to parts of the village.

For the complete article on the use of 3D models CLICK HERE.

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