Scanning the London Stone
Mark Beckett of Europac 3D scanning the London Stone
The latest use of the technology comes from the Museum of London, which has enlisted the help of Europac 3D, to unlock the secrets of the 100-year-old London Stone. The name "London Stone" or “Londenstane” was first recorded in around the year 1100, although the date and purpose of the Stone remain a mystery it is often referred to as ‘the protector of London’.
The stone is believed to be Roman, but its origin has been subject to urban myths since at least the 16th century. Europac was approached to create a full 3D scan of the famous stone as part of MOLA’s (Museum of London Archaeology) recording work, in advance of an exhibition at the Museum of London.
The detailed scan of the stone revealed several carvings, one of which may have been engraved when Jack Cade entered London ahead of a rebellion against King Henry VI; he is believed to have symbolically struck the Stone with his sword to claim lordship of the City.
The scan of the stone was able to pick up detailed markings of less than the width of a human hair, exposing a range of markings and textures that the stone had accumulated over the years due to weathering and events in time. The scan was uploaded to Europac 3D’s specialist software to pick defined points on a triangulated surface, and a ‘best fit’ algorithm could then be used to create the full, detailed 3D image of the precious London Stone.
Mark Beckett, Technical Director at Europac 3D, comments: “It’s exciting to be using the very latest technologies to investigate the origins and purposes of the historic London Stone. Having recorded the details, archaeologists are now able to closely examine the details and markings on the stone to better understand its history and purpose. It has also allowed the exact measurements and details to be digitally recorded for future reference and prosperity.”
The 3D scan of the stone has also helped ensure that there is always a ‘digital backup’ that could be turned into a full-size, exact 3D replica of the stone if needed.
“Europac 3D provided a quick and highly effective service for capturing the finest details of the stone using the latest technology. Their highly accurate 3D model has provided us with an excellent ‘hands-off’ method of examining this fascinating piece of London’s history.” Andy Chopping, Head of Photography, Museum of London Archaeology.
The London Stone was resting in Cannon Street, London, before its removal for examination. The stone is believed to be only the upper portion of a once much larger object. The surviving portion is a block of Clipsham limestone is approximately 53 cm wide, 43 cm high, and 30 cm front to back as is believed to have originated in Rutland before being transported to London for building purposes.