University of Oxford – Digitizing ancient Icenian Coins

by | Mar 17, 2022

Academics at the University of Oxford and University of Liverpool approached Central Scanning about 3D scanning some ancient coins made by the Iceni, which date back to the British Pre-Roman Iron Age (c. 100 BC–AD 50). This formed part of a research paper they were writing up about the use of 3D scanning technology for digitizing artefacts and for use in creating a display for the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford by means of 3D printing them at a larger scale.

Following some trial scans with our various Artec3D and ZEISS (#HandsOnMetrology) 3D scanners. We found the ZEISS scanners produced the sufficient detail needed for this application.

We used our metrology grade ZEISS COMET L3D scanner for the task in our temperature controlled workshop and produced some great results.

The scans were then taken to be 3D printed by Peter Walters in Engineering Sciences at Oxford at a larger scale to reveal minute details. These 3D prints were then gilded with gold and silver leaf to really bring them to life by the art technician Tim Crowley at the Ashmolean Museum.

Three of the 3D printed and painted coins are now part of an exhibition curated by Dr Courtney Nimura at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford until the 2nd Oct 2022:


Credit David Orwell

There are plans to create more for handling exhibitions and outreach and education. Dr Courtney Nimura comments:

“We thank Central Scanning for enabling us to carry out this technical exercise and for their expertise in 3D scanning. We hope our research and outreach will inspire others to explore digitization of their artefacts in future”

Credit David Orwell