The Scottish Ten
Digital heritage preservation on a global scale

About the Scottish Ten

The Scottish Ten is an ambitious five year project using cutting edge technologies to create exceptionally accurate digital models of Scotland’s five UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites and five international heritage sites in order to better conserve and manage them.

The primary aims of the Scottish Ten project are to:

  • Digitally document important historical sites for the benefit of future generations in Scotland and overseas.
  • Share and promote Scottish technical expertise in conservation and digital visualisation.
  • Foster international collaboration and build lasting partnerships that capitalise on cultural connections with Scotland.
  • Provide 3D digital models and data to site staff to better care for the heritage asset.
  • Create 3D digital assets for innovative research, education and management.

New Lanark , Mount Rushmore scans

The unique partnership of Historic Scotland – the Scottish heritage agency – and The Glasgow School of Art’s Digital Design Studio has developed to create the Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation LLP to carry out the project and undertake other commercial projects.

The laser scanning measurements allow us to identify problems and rate of decay of the monuments which we can then address quickly. We are also sharing this information with the non-profit conservation organisation CyArk to retain and use to promote interest and engagement with global historic monuments.

It is also possible to build on the initial scan data to create models or animations to use in helping visitors to sites understand them better or allow virtual access to areas the public can not see. Examples of this can be found at Stirling Castle where a photo-realistic tour of the Royal Palace gives a birds-eye view of fully restored versions of the intricate sculptures along the roof line that visitors would never be able to see otherwise.

How will the sites be chosen?

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Scotland

Scotland has five incredible World Heritage Sites which make up half of the project. Each represents very different aspects and achievements in our nations’ history. The Heart of Neolithic Orkney, The Antonine Wall (as part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire WHS), The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh and New Lanark cotton mill complex. All of these are recognised for their global cultural significance. The island of St Kilda is the UK’s only WHS designated for both its cultural and natural significance.

Four of the overseas sites have been selected to fulfil Scottish Government International objectives in North America, India, China and Australia. The team has completed work on the Presidential heads at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota in the USA and Rani ki Vav stepwell in Gujarat, India. Last year they travelled to Zunhua in China to record the Eastern Qing tombs. The fourth site will be the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

The fifth site will be selected and announced in due course with details posted on the website.

Find out more information on each of the sites and the specific issues they posed for the team here.

Each site poses its own particular challenges and we work closely with partners to get the best possible local knowledge and expertise in conservation and access. Sharing the information we collect with these collaborators allows us to look at what the most appropriate way to process it is.