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Explore Glasgow's prehistoric past with new 3D digital model


A new 3D digital model of prehistoric Fossil Grove, which comprises the spectacular fossilised remains of 11 Carboniferous Lycopod trees, has been released by Historic Environment Scotland.

The new, interactive model has been created through a combination of 3D laser scanning and photogrammetry. The process involves taking hundreds of overlapping images which are then combined to create a 3D model, enabling users to explore the site in detail from a range of different angles.

Fossil Grove, situated in Glasgow’s Victoria Park, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest comprising the fossilised remains of 11 Carboniferous Lycopod trees, which are around 325 million year old. The site was discovered in 1887, and has been a popular visitor attraction from the Victorian era to the present day.

Fossil Grove is the only site in the world where such trees have been preserved in their growth positions, and is considered one of the world’s first examples of geoconservation. As well as allowing a new way to explore the site, the digital model will also play an important role in protecting Fossil Grove for the future. HES has been working with The Fossil Grove Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to ensure the long-term conservation of the fossils.

Bringing prehistory to life

Andy MacGregor, Operations Officer at Scottish Natural Heritage commented: This 3D modelling technology is bringing to life part of Scotland’s prehistory, hundreds of millions of years old. It is an invaluable way to understand our fascinating fossils, and conserve them for generations to come.

This new resource will allow Historic Environment Scotland to access vital information about Fossil Grove, to help ensure its future, as HES Conservation Scientist Sarah Hamilton explained: 'Fossil Grove is a unique geological gem, and we’ve been working with partners over the past few years to support efforts to conserve and protect the site with the service and expertise of our Conservation Science and Digital Documentation teams.

'Recently, water penetration into the Victorian building that houses the fossils has caused discolouration and decay to some of the exhibits. We have undertaken 3D laser scanning and mineralogical analysis to help gain a better understanding of the site and these issues.

As well as being a fantastic tool for interpretation, this new digital model is going to be of huge value to our work at Fossil Grove, as it’s allowing us to access even more detailed base information to create our risk map of the surface condition, which will help inform where we focus conservation efforts.'

Explore the 3D digital model via SketchFab here.

(report and image courtesy of Historic Environment Scotland/SketchFab)

QUICK LINK: Victorian glass photo slides rescued from skip

Further reading

A Geological Guide to Fossil Grove by David Webster

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