Modelling History

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History is the search for what really happened in the past. We can forget history almost as it happens and what we choose to recall is not always accurate. The reverse is true when historians delve further back in time, and as we investigate we learn more about what happened in the past. Research methods and activities are greatly aided today by science and technology as we are able to extract vastly more information from each discovery.

Modelling History is an outlet for the research interest of the team. We combine technical skills with good research to bring things to life and aid understanding. Modelling has a wide meaning, it can be anything from making a miniature of an object to using words precisely to shape an idea. Research and analysis comes first and then the choice of the best way to model the thoughts.

Primarily we are engaged in our own research but we are asked to consider projects. We take on work for others if the subject is of interest and we have sufficient knowledge, skills and equipment. Each project is an opportunity to extend our capabilities. Fees are agreed as appropriate to the client and when a project is of special or local interest may be shared or waived. Below are some example of our images, videos and reports. Please contact us if you think we could be of assistance.

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THE TEAM

John Steer is an independent history researcher and archaeologist. He work for Reuters achieving a senior position in financial information technology after which he retired early to pursue his researches. Prior to Reuters John worked in computer graphics, he is a London University graduate and since retiring has also studied law.

John's interest in history started in York when he became involved in archaeology as a schoolboy in the 1960s, at a time when post-war redevelopments were gathering pace. He keeps his archaeological hand in and more recently has excavated in Pompei and Herefordshire where he lives. His preference though is for documentary research with a particular interest in the Medieval periods.

During retirement John was curator of artefacts at Dorking Museum prior to its reopening after a complete refurbishment of their premises. The work then involved cataloguing and assessing the museum's large collection which covered all eras, as well as arranging for the artefact's display needs.

The family is artistic and has been for generations. Descended from the Keys family of notable modellers, painters and gilders at the Derby porcelain factory in the decades either side of 1800. We are keeping up a family tradition only using today's technology as they did in their day.

John has close associations with Archaeology Plus, owned by an old friend, Chris Snook. They frequently discuss their researches and test each other's ideas.

Tim Steer continues the family modelling tradition, he graduated with a first in Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) at Bournemouth University, going on to complete a Masters. Tim received the team award for creativity and excellence; he has the family characteristic of attention to detail. He is also a skilled artist with pens, pencils and papers.

Tim has worked freelance modelling children's animations in Bristol and London. In May 2016 he was featured in "3D Artists" magazine.

Currently he is the lead artist at Bossa Studios.

Chris Snook has two successful businesses and in his horticultural consultant role he has included the Royal Botanic Garden Kew and Royal Horticultural Society as his clients. He is also an archaeologist and some years ago started the archaeological book service Archaeology Plus which actually covers all eras and historical subjects. The books are second-hand, many rarer ones, but it is properly a recycling business making available to following generations the books from the libraries of often prominent historians when they themselves become history. With libraries now divesting themselves of books and not taking on collections Archaeology Plus is providing a valuable service and occupies an increasingly prominent position in the sector.

Chris and John are often at conferences, meeting clients, old and new, and authors as wells as selling and buying some books and attending the sessions.

Research is also greatly aided by having ten thousand different books to hand.

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EXAMPLES

The images and videos are presented to show our interests and capabilities, however, they are reduced in quality to keep files sizes reasonable for internet use. Particularly as more hand held devices are used to connect to the web.

RECORDING AND MODELLING POTTERY

DETAILED MODEL OF A TIMBER FRAMED BUILDING

ENHANCING LIDAR

REALISING AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL PLAN

REPORTS

     IMPALED HERALDIC PLAQUE

RECORDING AND MODELLING POTTERY

The pottery found during archaeological excavations is mostly in the form of sherds and often the only means of identifying them is by examining the surfaces and fabric. It helps when the sherd gives some other clues by coming from the rim or base of a vessel. Knowing what types of vessels were in use at a place indicates what was happenning there and when. Recording as much as is known about a potsherd is part of the process as in the image below.

There can be enough sherds of a broken vessel to piece it together, but otherwise if the form is known it can be modelled to show how it appeared when newly made. The video below is of a model of a late eighteenth century blackware baluster jug.

This blackware bowl sherd shows a reddish slip under the glaze which typically does not reach the base of the vessel. The thickness of the glaze can be seen in the profile close up image of the buff fabric.

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Blackware of this type is a frequent find in my local area, having a buff, sometimes red, coloured fabric and a thick glaze. Wheel thrown and quickly produced for everyday use, the potter's finger trails are visible around the body of the vessels. The vessels were held by the base when dipped into the glaze and when placed upright the glaze would sometimes run down to reach the base but often not.

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DETAILED MODEL OF A TIMBER FRAMED BUILDING

Two interactive 3D model of a west of England timber framed cruck building.

This is a detailed model with each timber and joint faithfully modelled. Clicking on the images will take you to an external site and may take a few seconds to load. Then use the mouse to navigate around the buidling. Help is available on the site, just click the question mark (?).

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ENHANCING LIDAR

LIDAR is an accurate surveying method using laser rays directed to the ground from aircraft. LIDAR data is available as ground heights (terrain model), or with surface features such as building and tree heights included (surface model).

This model is based on terrain LIDAR sampling at 2m intervals. Colour has been used in this LIDAR example to show elevation but the model can be configured with different colour schemes and controls to emphasise other details.

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REALISING AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL PLAN

The plan of the Roman brick floor was drawn on site. Not evident in the plan is a depression in the floor which had caused the crescent shape fissure near the centre of the plan. Working from a photograph of the drawing it was simple to create a model that included the depression.

Apart from a small doorway the room was entirely enclosed by walls which restricted taking photographs from all directions and angles needed for full photogrammetry. The model and video overcome these limitations.

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