A model monarch: Richard III’s grave recreated in 3D

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111435 (2)One year after Richard III’s reinterment, the University of Leicester has released a 3D interactive representation of the king’s grave and skeleton.

Created by University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), who excavated the Greyfriars site where Richard III had been laid to rest, the fully rotatable computer model shows the king’s remains in situ as they were found in 2012 beneath a Leicester city centre car park.

It was produced using photogrammetry software to turn photographs taken during the project into an accurate representation of the grave and the skeleton. It can be explored via the 3D sharing platform Sketchfab.

The software, Agisoft’s Photoscan, looks for points of commonality in overlapping photographs of a single object or surface from which it can extrapolate a three-dimensional point cloud which can be converted to a polygon mesh. The photographs can then also be used to render the surface reconstruction to create a photo-realistic effect.

‘Photographs and drawings of the grave, whilst dramatic, are only two-dimensional and do not always best show nuances in spatial relationships that a three-dimensional model can,’ said Mathew Morris, Site Supervisor for University of Leicester Archaeological Services, who first discovered Richard III’s remains on the first day of the dig. ‘Photogrammetry provides a fantastic analytical tool that allows us to examine the grave from angles that would have been physically difficult or impossible to achieve during the excavation, and gives us the ability to continue to examine the king’s grave long after the excavation has finished.’

The grave, and other digital models of recent archaeological discoveries made by ULAS, can be viewed at https://sketchfab.com/models/00d23c7defd0476db1a36c08728fa60f

Click here to read our coverage of the search for Richard III, how his remains were identified, and his reburial.

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