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Exhibition gives insight into artefacts uncovered in archaeological dig

A new exhibition has opened giving visitors the chance to view replicas of items found during an archaeological dig in Perthshire.

The display includes 3D models of metalworking moulds, a decorated spindle whorl and an iron chisel, along with other objects found at the King’s Seat hillfort near Dunkeld.

They are being presented to the public at Dunkeld Community Archive.

Artefact specialists from AOC Archaeology Group selected some of their favourite objects from the site to be reproduced as 3D laser printed models. AOC created the copies on behalf of Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust (PKHT), which has gifted them to Dunkeld Community Archive.

The King’s Seat excavation saw PKHT work in partnership with Dunkeld and Birnam Historical Society to explore the story of the fort, which sits on a prominent hilltop above the River Tay at Dunkeld, in a commanding position overlooking Strathtay.

In the autumn of each year from 2017 to 2019, volunteers worked alongside a team of professional archaeologists from AOC Archaeology Group to survey and excavate the site.

The excavations showed that the fort was an important centre for crafts and trade around 1500 years ago, in the early medieval period. The site may even have had royal connections, with evidence for expensive, imported food and wine hinting at the status of the fort’s inhabitants.

With some of the objects too delicate to be handled freely, 3D printing was used to create highly accurate models, which were painstakingly hand-painted to replicate the colours and textures of the originals.

David Strachan of Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust said: “The exhibition in Dunkeld Community Archive will help us share the results of our project with so many more people – and the work AOC has done in creating these replica objects is literally state of the art, and remarkable to see.”

Dawn McLaren of AOC Archaeology Group said: “We are delighted to have worked with Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust to produce these models, which will bring a glimpse of the early medieval fort down from the hillfort and into the heart of Dunkeld.”

And Ruth Brown of the Dunkeld Community Archives added: “We are extremely grateful to Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust and AOC Archaeology Group for producing these amazing replica artefacts for us to display in the community archive.

“Without this technology we wouldn’t have been able to display any of the artefacts from the excavation. We look forward to welcoming visitors to see them and to find out more about the Hillfort.”

Dunkeld Community Archive can be found at 12 The Cross in the town.

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