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Cutting edge conservation techniques on display at Duff House

16 April 2014

Images from the ground-breaking Scottish Ten digital conservation project have gone on display at Duff House near Banff.

The project utilises laser scanning technology to create 3D digital models of ten heritage sites in Scotland and across the world, including Mount Rushmore in the USA and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

The ambitious five year project has seen experts visit each of these sites to painstakingly record every millimetre of them using laser scanners. The results are then used to create incredibly detailed three-dimensional models. These allow the site owners to use metrically accurate data from the laser scanning to help identify any structural problems and rates of decay at an early stage.  By using fly-through animations, the models  also give the public virtual access to parts of these sites which would otherwise be impossible, or too dangerous to get to.      

The ten sites comprise of the five World Heritage Sites in Scotland and five sites across the rest of the world, identified for their historical importance. As well as Mount Rushmore and the Sydney Opera House, the team have already scanned China’s Eastern Qing Tombs , and the Rani Ki Vav stepwell in India. The work to scan Scotland’s five World Heritage Sites of  St Kilda, Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, New Lanark, and the Antonine Wall is almost complete. The fifth international site has yet to be decided.  

James Hepher, Surveyor/Spatial Analyst for the Scottish Ten Project said: “It’s fantastic that the public are being given the opportunity to see these wonderful landmarks from across the globe in such a detailed way. This exhibition will show there is amazing work being done to conserve these historic environments for future generations.”  
“We are showcasing how advanced scientific technology is  being combined  with heritage conservation, with startling results. This project is making parts of these amazing sites accessible to members of the public for the first time,.”

The Scottish Ten is an ambitious, five-year collaboration between specialists in heritage digital documentation at Historic Scotland, experts in 3D visualisation at The Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio and not-for-profit digital heritage organisation CyArk.

The exhibition, comprising a video display, photographs and explanatory information, runs between the 7th April and 14th May.  

Duff House is also currently hosting an exhibition on the works of German artist Albrecht Durer, in partnership with the National Galleries of Scotland.

Notes for editors

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is internationally recognised as one of  Europe's foremost higher education institutions for creative education and research in fine art, design and architecture. The Digital Design Studio (DDS) is a world leading research and postgraduate centre of the GSA specialising in 3D digital visualisation and interaction technologies,. It combines academic, research and commercial activities. The experts at the Digital Design Studio are currently creating the 3D scans for the widely admired Scottish Ten as a partner in the CDDV. Other areas of DDS research include ground-breaking medical visualization, Marine Visualization and Auralisation and sound.

  • CyArk is a non-profit entity whose mission is to digitally preserve cultural heritage sites through collecting, archiving and providing open access to data created by laser scanning, digital modelling, and other state-of-the-art technologies. For more information visit

  • There are five World Heritage Sites in Scotland: St Kilda inscribed in 1986; Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (1995); Heart of Neolithic Orkney (1999); New Lanark (2001) and Antonine Wall (2008).

  • Scotland welcomes the world in the Year of Homecoming 2014 providing a year-long programme of events alongside the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games. The Year of Homecoming Scotland will run until 31 December 2014 throughout the length and breadth of the country. Visitors from around the world are invited to join in a celebration of the nation’s food and drink, active pursuits, cultural heritage, nature and ancestral heritage. Homecoming Scotland 2014 is a Scottish Government initiative being led by EventScotland and VisitScotland, supported by numerous partners. To find out more visit For more on Historic Scotland’s Homecoming activities visit or tweet us using #hshomecoming.

Follow Historic Scotland:
Twitter:@welovehistory ; @edinburghcastle ; @ScottishTen (#hshomecoming)
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For further information

Alan Bannon
Historic Scotland Media Office
Communications and Media
0131 668 8588 or 07854 366 805