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Thursday, March 31 • 11:45 - 12:10
S06-08 The digital ossuary: Rothwell (Northamptonshire, UK)

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The Digital Ossuary: Rothwell (Northamptonshire, UK)

Elizabeth Craig-Atkins, Jenny Crangle, Dawn Hadley, Peter Heywood, Tom Hodgson, Steve Maddock, Robin Scott, Adam Wiles

Holy Trinity church, Rothwell (Northamptonshire) houses one of only two English medieval ossuaries with in situ charnel. Ossuaries were largely emptied and either demolished or allocated to other uses after the early sixteenth-century Reformation, and have accordingly attracted minimal scholarly attention, despite their important functions as places of pilgrimage and intercessionary prayer. At Rothwell, osteological analysis is hampered by issues of access, preservation and requirement of the church authorities to retain the remains in situ. Our research project has four principal aims: i) to illuminate medieval use of the ossuary, through digital capturing of its spatial arrangements, and the range of medieval vantage points into the chapel; ii) to present this fragile, and largely inaccessible, heritage resource to the public in a sustainable manner; iii) to analyze the largely unstudied medieval human skeletal remains (which cannot be removed for standard osteological assessment) by collecting digital records of the charnel deposit, with a view to understanding the composition and stratigraphy of the assemblage; and iv) to facilitate digital preservation of the charnel, which is in a fragile state, with a view to informing conservation strategies (e.g. through recording of degradation and discolouration). This paper addresses the methodological challenges of working in this semi-subterranean environment, with restrictions on the handling of the osteological materials, and issues attendant on capturing the larger built environment alongside the finer detail of the charnel. A Leica P20 laser scanner was used to capture a 3D point cloud which is being processed to produce a 3D model. Interrelated research is addressing: i) how to produce a sufficiently accurate surface model; ii) the most appropriate computer graphics rendering; and iii) the kinds of interaction required to maximise accessibility to both the public and researchers.

Thursday March 31, 2016 11:45 - 12:10 CEST
Domus Academica, Theologisk eksamenssal