One year after the reinterment of King Richard III's remains in Leicester, England, researchers have released a digital tool that gives the public the ability to explore the burial site closer than ever before. The interactive 3D model was created by a team at University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) using photographs taken during the excavation of the king's remains from a parking lot in 2012. The photos were processed using photogrammetry software, which ULAS is able to share online using the Sketchfab platform.
"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," ULAS site supervisor Mathew Morris said in a statement. He added that when the photos were taken, it was to have a record of the positioning of the remains. The 3D model was not a part of the initial plan, but it became a welcome next step. "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."
In addition to moving 360 degrees around King Richard III and zooming in on his remains and surroundings, the model features nodes that provide more information about the monarch's injuries, his positioning in a grave that was dug too small, and his missing feet, which are thought to have been lost sometime after his burial. There is also a virtual reality headset option, which lets the viewer get even closer to the figurative action. Check out screenshots from the Sketchfab model below, and click through to check it out for yourself.
Images via Sketchfab/ULAS