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The Present and Future of Archaeoptics



Govan Sarcophagus

Image of Govan Sarcophagus reproduced courtesy of Govan Old Parish Church

In 2022, Archaeoptics finally started moving out of the shadows and back into the archaeological and historic sector.

Our involvement in a lot of 3D projects over the years had been hidden due to sub-contractor status and, after discussion with several ex-customers, it transpired much of our data had been lost.

As such, it was decided to publish "the Archaeoptics Archive" to ensure that it was known exactly what we'd 3D scanned over the years and also to enable people to get access to that data for further use.

We also wanted to resurrect some old projects that had languished over the years.

Pictish Symbol Stones Database

Portmahomack fragment Int14, courtesy of University of York

Image of Portmahomack fragment "Int14" reproduced courtesy of University of York

A very early project was the Pictish Symbol Stones Database. This was originally created in 1994/1995 and was one of the earliest database-driven websites in existence.

The database contained details on all symbol stones, site visits, maps and photos and was comprehensively cross-referenced and ground-truthed.

The database went offline in 2000 mostly due to maintenance cost and time.

In 2022, we resurrected the database and rewrote the entire website, both front-end and back-end and provided an API for data reuse. It was relaunched in July 2022 and is proving to be a popular resource of a snapshot of Pictish stones.

Visit the Pictish Symbol Stones Databases!

July 2022

October 2022

The Archaeoptics Archive

Seahenge Timber 031

Seahenge Timber 031 reproduced courtesy of English Heritage

The main publication project for Archaeoptics has always been a user-accessible archive of all of our data acquired throughout the years.

Our goal has always been to make the entire archive available including raw data from multiple capture devices, metadata, imagery (usually "behind-the-scenes") and final 3D models.

To this end, we could find no suitable existing platform to accommodate these requirements and, as such, we built our own!

After a few months of standardising data and running scripts to grind everything into the right format, the Archaeoptics Archive was ready.

The final piece was to reach out to all the organisations we undertook 3D scanning for and secured permission to publish data as far as we could.

We feel this archive is the first of its kind and represents an evolving snapshot of technology and data capture techniques from a single source... also contains some very cool stuff!

Follow this link to visit the Archaeoptics Archive!



Callanish Major Lunar Standstill viewed in Stellarium

In 2005, we were contracted by Emma Rennie of the Callanish Blackhouse Tearoom to 3D scan the famous Callanish I megalithic setting.

Emma and Archaeoptics always had a plan, or a dream, to use the highly accurate 3D scan data for archaeo-astronomical purposes but, unfortunately, the 3D data was far in advance of the astronomy technology.

In 2019, the project was restarted through the involvement of Victor Reijs and Georg Zotti who had added suitable support for large 3D datasets into the popular Stellarium software package.

In 2023, we finally imported the Callanish 3D dataset into Stellarium and checked the alignments against ground-based observations by Margaret and Ron Curtis and Gerald Ponting.

We released the dataset through our new collaborative Callanish3D project! The Callanish3D data is the first publicly available 3D dataset for Stellarium!

Follow this link to visit Callanish3D 



"How did they do that?!"

Hermes of Praxiteles

Mousa Broch, reproduced courtesy of Historic Environment Scotland

To produce our highly accurate, dense 3D datasets, we had to invent an entire 3D processing workflow from scratch.

We also had to write all the software to implement that workflow!

What we want to do is publish our know-how such that current 3D processing can take advantage of that knowledge and expertise.

This will be an ongoing project throughout 2023 and 2024.

Perfect Scale Miniatures

Govan 12 Hogback Miniature

Govan 12 Hogback, 1:32 Replica Miniature

Driven by our long relationship with the Govan Stones, we launched an online shop featuring 1:32 scale perfect miniature replicas of some stones from Govan and other Pictish stones.


Copyright (c)2000-2024 Archaeoptics.