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18 July 2016

Developing cutting-edge technology for Antonine Wall

£150k funding announced to develop 3D app for Roman World Heritage Site

Bar Hill Fort illustration

A new project has been granted £150K of funding from Creative Europe to develop cutting-edge technology which will revolutionise the visitor experience at the Antonine Wall, in Central Scotland. The Wall is part of the Europe wide ‘Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site’ and the project will see Scottish, German and Austrian partners working together to create a mobile app platform and exciting new visitor content.  

The new technology promises to make the visitor experience more interactive through the use of augmented reality and 3D virtual reconstructions, whilst improving understanding and access both for users on-site but also for those who may want to visit ‘virtually’ from elsewhere. 

A key aim of the project is to engage with key audiences and carry out user testing, potentially with schools and community groups, in Scotland and Germany. Engagement with local authority partners across Central Scotland will also explore how best to use the app to support the tourism offering at individual properties along the length of the Antonine Wall.

Collage of screen shots from the Antonine Wall mobile app

New technologies for presentation and engagement will be explored during the project, with the hosting of conferences in Scotland and Germany providing an opportunity for the exchange of information and best practice across the sector, both in Europe and worldwide. The final products will also be made available, free of charge, to other countries along the line of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site, such as the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Hungary, to enable them to create their own bespoke versions.

The three year Advanced Limes Applications project (ALApp) is a partnership between Historic Environment Scotland, The Glasgow-based Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation (CDDV) - a collaboration between heritage specialists at Historic Environment Scotland and world leaders in 3D visualisation at The Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio -  the Bavarian State Department for Monument Protection, and Austrian firm Edufilm und medien GmbH, who specialise in the production of heritage based digital applications. 

The project builds on previous work of the CDDV to digitally document the line of the Antonine Wall as part of the Scottish Ten project. The project will significantly enhance a basic version of the app platform which was developed by the Bavarian State Department for Monument Protection (with financial support from the Bavarian Savings Bank Foundation).

Dr Patricia Weeks, Antonine Wall World Heritage Site Co-ordinator for Historic Environment Scotland, said: “Over the last twelve months we have made great strides in digitally interpreting the Antonine Wall. Thanks to this significant commitment from Creative Europe, as well as Historic Environment Scotland’s own substantial investment, we are now able to build on that work and expand our use of innovative technologies to engage the widest audience possible.

The project is a great model of international partnership working and ultimately we will share the technology with other countries free of charge, which should benefit the entire sector.”  

Dr Lyn Wilson, Digital Documentation Manager at CDDV said:  “We are delighted to have the opportunity, thanks to Creative Europe’s generous funding, to further develop and disseminate the 3D data we captured as part of the Scottish Ten project. The app will offer a substantial opportunity to share widely our high quality 3D models and accurate virtual reconstructions of both archaeological sites and artefacts from the Antonine Wall in a state-of-the-art way. We look forward to working in partnership with colleagues across Europe on this”.

Dr Christof Fluegel, Bavarian Office of Monument Protection/Museums department said: “ALApp offers the huge opportunity to enhance visitor experience along the transnational serial World Heritage Site “Frontiers of the Roman Empire”.

We are glad that we can combine our experience in the field of Roman Apps on the Limes in Germany with a truly European approach to bring archaeology to life, together with our Austrian and Scottish partners and are looking forward to this exciting collaboration.”

Erik Dobat (M.A) of Edufilm und medien GmbH said: “We are very happy to participate in this granted European project which is helping to present common European history to a large audience, making archaeology more widely available and easy to understand. We have extensive experience in developing cutting-edge technology in this area, which we will use to present the Antonine Wall and the Roman Frontiers in an innovative way, using multimedia and 3D to facilitate a better understanding of these monuments. We look forward to working with an international team, sharing ideas and expertise.

Further information about the project will be made available at the project’s official website: www.alapp.eu

Notes for editors

The Antonine Wall became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 as part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site which also includes Hadrian’s Wall and the German Limes.

The Wall was the most northerly frontier of the Roman Empire nearly 2,000 years ago. It ran for about 40 Roman miles (60km) from modern Bo’ness on the Firth of Forth to Old Kilpatrick on the River Clyde. At the time it was built, the wall was the most complex frontier ever constructed by the Roman army.

Other countries who may join the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site from across Europe include: the Netherlands, Austria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania

The Scottish Ten is an ambitious project using cutting edge technologies to create ten exceptionally accurate 3D digital models of Scotland’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and international heritage sites in order to better conserve, manage, understand and virtually access them. The Antonine Wall joins Mount Rushmore (USA), Rani ki Vav (India), Sydney Opera House (Australia), Eastern Qing Tombs (China) and Meiji Industrial Heritage (Japan) in the Scottish Ten. The project is now focusing on dissemination of data through the use of innovative technologies. For more information, visit www.engineshed.org/about-us/the-scottish-ten.

The Bavarian Savings Bank Foundation (Bayerische Sparkassenstiftung) helped to fund the original development of the app platform with the Bavarian State Conservation Office (Bayerisches Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege) who developed the content for the German App

The ALApp project secured funding under the ‘Creative Europe Culture Cooperation Projects 2016’ funding stream.

Project Partners:  

  • Historic Environment Scotland (formerly Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland) is a non-departmental public body.
  • The CDDV is a collaboration between heritage specialists at Historic Environment Scotland and experts in 3D visualisation at The Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualisation. CDDV has recently completed the first phase of the Scottish Ten project, digitally documenting Scottish World Heritage Sites and five internationally important heritage sites.
  • The Bavarian State Conservation Office (Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege) is the central specialist body for monument protection and conservation in the Free State of Bavaria. It participates in the project through its Bavarian Museum Service (Landesstelle für die nichtstaatlichen Museen in Bayern), which supports non-state museums and coordinates the authorities managing Bavaria’s FREWHS. The state department and museum service are both based in Munich.
  • Edufilm und medien GmbH, based in Bad Bleiberg-Kreuth in Austria, is a firm specialising in the production of digital applications in a heritage context.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

  • As of the 1st October 2015, Historic Scotland and RCAHMS came together to form a new lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. The new body Historic Environment Scotland (HES) will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland is a sub brand of HES.
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Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

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Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

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