Aug 3, 2017 | By Tess

One of the most important and iconic language artifacts in the world is now viewable in three dimensions. Thanks to the efforts of a team of digital technicians from the British Museum in London, the famous Rosetta Stone was recently 3D scanned and uploaded as a 3D model for all to see.

The actual Rosetta Stone is currently on display at the British Museum, where it is encased in protective glass and usually surrounded by dozens of peering tourists. And while we do recommend seeing it in person if the opportunity arises, those who can’t make it or even just want a closer, unobstructed view of the stele can now do so on Sketchfab.

The open access 3D model is the first to be uploaded of the Rosetta Stone, which is one of the key artifacts in our possession from ancient Egyptian civilization. At the time of its creation in 196 BC, the giant granodiorite stele was a relatively common document, a simple decree which showed support of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

What makes the stone so special is that the decree was written in two languages (Egyptian and Greek) and using three types of script (hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek). When it was found in 1799 by Napoleon’s army, the Rosetta Stone became the central tool used for deciphering the hieroglyphs of Ancient Egypt.

The release of the Rosetta Stone 3D scan a couple of weeks ago appropriately coincided with the 218th anniversary since the artifact’s discovery. If you want to learn more about the stone but can’t be bothered to scroll through a whole Wikipedia article, the 3D model also makes use of Sketchfab’s newest feature: an integrated audio option which offers a synopsis of the stone’s history as you explore the 3D model.

“This scan was part of our larger attempt to capture as many of our iconic pieces from the collection—and indeed the unseen in store objects—and make them available for people to view in 3D or in more tactile forms,” said Daniel Pett, a British Museum adviser.

Indeed, the British Museum has embraced 3D scanning technologies to digitally immortalize some of its prized possessions, including the Jericho skull (from between 7,000 and 6,000 BC), the Granite head of Amenemhat III dating from 1,800 BC, and many more. The entire digital collection, which currently comprises of 219 3D models, can be found here.

According to Prett, the museum is planning on 3D scanning many more of its objects, though with eight million objects in its collection, there are still many reasons to visit the British Museum in person.

 

 

Posted in 3D Scanning

 

 

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