Highlands & Islands

Lewis Chessmen held in Edinburgh museum recreated in 3D images

3D chess pieces Image copyright NMS
Image caption Eleven of the original Lewis Chessmen hoard have been recreated in 3D

Eleven Lewis Chessmen pieces have been recreated in a new 3D visualisation.

The computer-generated images can be moved around to gain different views of the pieces, which include queens, kings, a knight and a berserker.

Dating from the 12th to 13th Century, more than 90 Lewis Chessmen were found buried at Uig in Lewis in 1831.

National Museums Scotland, which has created the 3D model, has 11 pieces in its collection at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Image copyright NMS
Image caption The 3D model allows the Lewis Chessmen to be viewed from below

More than 80 pieces are held in the British Museum, while a small number of the original hoard are owned by private collectors or are lost.

The pieces were made from walrus ivory and sperm whale tooth, possibly in Trondheim in Norway.

Dr Alice Blackwell, curator of medieval archaeology and history, at National Museums Scotland said the Lewis chess pieces were among the "most popular and iconic objects" in the museum's collection.

She said: "Creating digital models of them allows us to bring these medieval treasures to a global audience, enabling as many people as possible to explore them in fantastic detail.

"We hope this will help people to get to know their faces better as well as their less familiar angles, and be inspired to find out more about Scotland's past.

"The models will also assist with future research and conservation of the chess pieces, helping us to understand and document them and to preserve them for future generations to enjoy."

Image copyright NMS
Image caption A knight is one of the 11 pieces offered in 3D form

In July this year, a warder - a man with helmet, shield and sword - found in a drawer of an Edinburgh home was sold at auction for £735,000.

Its previous owners had no idea that the object was one of the long-lost Lewis Chessmen.

The Edinburgh family's grandfather, an antiques dealer, had bought the chess piece for £5 in 1964.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A piece called a warder sold for £735,000 earlier this year

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