A 2 year AHRC-funded project to study Roman and Late Antique Artefacts from Egypt – a collaborative effort between the University of Kent, Manchester Metropolitan University, and the UCL Petrie Museum, Bloomsbury, London – has resulted in the production of replica ancient musical instruments using 3D print technology. Using laser scanning data and further research to enable the identical reconstruction, School of Music and Fine Art technicians, Georgia Wright and George Morris made a set of reed panpipes, 3 different ceramic rattles, a pair of wooden clappers and two sets of double-flutes.
Lloyd Bosworth, archaeology technician in SECL, 3-D had scanned the objects at the museum and then created virtual 3-D models from the scans (Lloyd has just won a University research prize for his research support). The virtual 3-D models were sent to Georgia Wright, who printed them out to use as a basis for the replica objects in the original materials, and with George Morris then produced the instruments.
On the Project Team, Dr Ellen Swift, Reader in Archaeology at the University of Kent, commented: “It was very exciting going over to Chatham to pick up the instruments and I was really pleased with how Fine Art Technicians, Georgia and George, were able to achieve a close match with the size and appearance of the original artefacts thanks to new 3-D scanning technology. On my first visit, I picked up the 3D print-out of the panpipes and it was a real eureka moment to find out that they played a musical scale known from written documents to have existed in the Roman period. Making the instruments did pose a challenge as in some cases there were parts missing and some additional research and creativity was needed to fill in the gaps.”
The replica artefacts are a key part of the project and will be used for research and also for an exhibition at the UCL Petrie Museum at the end of the project in 2019. When all the instruments are ready, sound recordings will be made at SMFA to be used at the subsequent exhibition.
This research project – the first in-depth study of Roman and Late Antique Egypt that uses everyday artefacts as its principal source of evidence – aims to transform our understanding of social experience, social relations, and cultural interactions, among the populations of Egypt in this period.
For more info go to http://blogs.kent.ac.uk/egypt-artefacts/2018/02/02/3d-printed-panpipes/