Researchers in the UK have recreated artifacts from the Mary Rose shipwreck, including human skulls that could prove the efficacy of 3D printing as an archaeological tool. The project cam underway because a team, made up of researchers from Oxford University, Swansea University and the Mary Rose Trust have joined forces to see how much they can ascertain about the ship’s crew, their lives and their general health from 3D printed digital reproductions of their bones. The goal of the project being to prove the viability of 3D printing and scanning as a method for studying ancient history.
Modern museums around the world are starting to scan and digitize their collections. The potential benefits are obvious, as institutions can share data, compare various samples with software and print physical copies that mean priceless and historically significant pieces don’t have to be transported.
Now, though, the researchers want to know if this theory works as well in practice as it does in theory.
“Lots of museums are digitizing collections, and a lot of the drive behind that is creating a digital copy of something,” said Dr Richard Johnston, a materials scientist at the university. “We’re going to challenge the research community to see if they can actually do osteological analysis.
“Then we will take the results from around the world and try and compare those to a study that we did, where people looked at the real remains. Do you really need to hold the skull, or can you tell a lot from the digital one?
“There’s the potential to speed up science dramatically, but this needs to happen first.”
You can see the CG skull below, and check out some other interactive models form Professional Image 3D here.