3D technology is doing amazing things for archaeologists and palaeontologists. As we've seen, it allows precious and fragile artefacts to be scanned, recreated and shared so that others can study them all around the world. Now Swansea University, the Mary Rose Trust and Oxford University in the UK are getting in on the action, with a new website that shares artefacts salvaged from Henry VIII's sunken flagship, the Mary Rose.
Built in 1510-11, the warship was in service for 34 years in wars against France, Spain and Brittany before she sank in between the Isle of Wight and the English mainland in July 1545. Nobody knows quite why she sank, but when she was salvaged in 1982, she had preserved "unparalleled insight" into the lives of the 500-strong community aboard.
The new website has two portals. The research portal, accessible only with a login, will allow academics to study 10 3D skulls in order to determine how useful such digital tools can be for osteology. For the public section, visitors can examine the skull of a man thought to be a carpenter between 30 and 40 years old, as well as a selection of tools from the ship.
"This technology, and the appetite of museums and researchers to open their collections to larger global communities, including the public, can have huge implications for both the investigations that can take place, and speed that science is done," said Swansea University materials scientist Richard Johnson.