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13 June 2024

New digital 3D model of Tantallon Castle

Innovative technology aiding conservation of one of Scotland’s most unique castles

Today (Thursday 13 June) we released a digital 3D model of Tantallon Castle, one of the mightiest examples of 1300s castle architecture in Scotland.

Available to view on Sketchfab, the new digital model can be used to view angles and areas of the grand medieval castle that are not currently accessible. Digital visitors can enter the well-preserved 17th century dovecot, or gain a spectacular bird’s eye view from the very top of the castle. Nobleman William Douglas oversaw the construction of Tantallon in the mid 1300s, and it was finally abandoned more than 300 years later following a destructive siege of the castle by Oliver Cromwell’s army.

Tantallon Castle’s dramatic setting - high on a cliff overlooking the North Sea – once provided the fortress strategic defence, but also exposed the masonry to wind-driven salt spray from the sea. The digital model will be used to measure the erosion this causes to the castle’s sandstone, providing a baseline dataset that can then be used to track any potential future change.

Sophia Mirashrafi, Senior Digital Innovation Officer at HES, said:

We are excited to continue to offer innovative ways for the public to enjoy our sites.

"Each of our digital models is created using a combination of high-resolution laser scans and thousands of photographs that are then combined into one 3D object. This model was created using almost 1,450 images and around 200 laser scans.

“Our models are incredibly accurate and primarily used to support the conservation of our sites. Using this highly detailed 3D model, we can monitor physical change at Tantallon Castle and help manage the property for the future.

We can also use the 3D data to provide virtual access to tell innovative stories of Scotland’s heritage through immersive experiences, augmented reality and virtual tours."

Anyone can now explore the dramatic site on their computer, tablet or mobile via Sketchfab, along with many other models of HES sites and objects.

You can also view an animated clip on Youtube:

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About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

  • We are the lead body for Scotland’s historic environment, a charity dedicated to the advancement of heritage, culture, education and environmental protection. It is at the forefront of researching and understanding the historic environment and addressing the impacts of climate change on its future, investigating and recording architectural and archaeological sites and landscapes across Scotland and caring for more than 300 properties of national importance. We are also the lead on delivering Scotland's strategy for the historic environment, Our Past, Our Future.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle, and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
  • View our press pack and keep up to date by registering to receive our media releases. Already registered? You can unsubscribe at any time by following the unsubscribe link, included in every email.

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For further information, please contact:

Robin Kepple
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
07721 959 962