Exploring the grave of King Richard III using 3D Printing

25 Mar

Exploring the grave of King Richard III using 3D Printing

History had always given us fascinating facts of the world with archaeology and other research techniques. With various world heritage sites and monuments history has always bough new aspects and facts to lives. The remains of the British King Richard III were discovered in a car park in in Leicester in England a year ago. The remains were later reinterred more ceremoniously at the Leicester Cathedral. Researches and archaeologists from the University of Leicester have come up with a very innovative idea to mark the one year anniversary of reinterment. They have created an interactive 3D printed model of the original gravesite that will let people explore and investigate from their very own computer.

3d printing

SketchFab is used to host the digital 3D model and was captured using the process of photogrammetry and Agisoft’s Photoscan software. The digital models gives a full 360° view of the body and also demonstrates how the 32-year-old kings body was disposed off. King Richard III was one of the legacies form the monarch's reign, also he was the subject to Shakespeare's fictional play Richard III. He was the last plantagenet king of the England. The King was killed in the Battle of Bosworth fighting against King Henry VII's forces and his reign lasted only 2 years ever since it started in 1483. As the gravesite proves that the burial of the corpse possessed no coffin, no jewels and was not royally dug as a King's body.

The body was identified of the 15th Century King after the gravesite was dug by a team of archaeologists in 2012 and a year later with several DNA tests and extensive research now known as "The King in the Car Park". The 3D model created by the University replicated the king's skeleton the way it was discovered in the Car Park.

3d printing?

Matthew Morris, Site Supervisor for ULAS explains of the discovery, “During the excavation in 2012 we took photographs of the skeleton from multiple angles to create a lasting record of how the king's bones were positioned in the grave before we exhumed them.

These photos were not taken with photogrammetry in mind but the software is incredibly versatile and can be applied retrospectively to create this superb model." The 3D model further gives the viewers a closer look of the model and allows them to examine an know how the body was buried and also shows the fatal wounds he suffered in the Battle of Bosworth.

“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.,” explains Morris. “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.”

3d printing

The recent used of 3D printed models have enhanced the capability of the researchers and public of understanding and visualizing many relevant facts of history. Another instance is where the Cambridge University unveiled their 3D model of a 3,000p year old oracle bone making its printable Giles publicly available on its website. 3D printing technology can turn the museums and institutions into a collection of digital models. As it will be more an open-source concept there are higher possibilities that the viewer can understand the world's history.

Image Credit:Mathew Morris

Chris Joel (Author)

Exploring the grave of King Richard III using 3D Printing
Chris Joel is a writer at 3D Printers Online Store. Hailing from South London, he has a degree in English Literature. His interests include the application of 3D printing technology to art and its popularization.