University of Leicester
In August 2012 University of Leicester and the Richard III Society told the world they believed the remains of the last English King to die in battle lay beneath a council car park in Leicester and that they intended to undertake the most ambitious archaeological dig of all time.
When a battle worn skeleton was discovered extensive scientific tests were carried out in order to prove that this once was, indeed, the King of England . 3D printing and scanning was to play a major part in proving that that fact as well as the reconstruction of the monarch’s head.
Now 3D printing is also going to give access to the king’s remains to researchers and museums throughout the world. Once Leicester University had the remains CT scanned those 3D models were passed on to Loughborough University’s Additive Manufacturing Research Group. Using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) the Loughborough based group were able to print off a facsimile replica of the King’s skull.
Professor Russell Harris, who heads that group, told IEEE Spectrum blogger Eliza Strickland that his team is known for using 3-D printing for medical modelling. "I do a lot of work with hospitals, usually working with living people or people relatively recently deceased," he said. "Working with someone whose remains are over 500 years old, and who ended up being a person of great historical significance, was slightly unusual."
This application of 3D printing and scanning for universities and museums could hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of the past. We recently reported how Dalhousie University Library is creating a 3D repository of their most precious artefacts. If every university in the world could study each other’s relics who knows what those thousands of fresh pairs of eyes may discover?