Ogham in 3D Project

Ogham in 3D
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The Ogham in 3D project is supported by an expert Advisory Panel including Professor Werner Nahm (Director of the School of Theoretical Physics at DIAS), Professor Fergus Kelly (School of Celtic Studies at DIAS), Damian McManus (Professor of Early Irish at Trinity College Dublin and author of A Guide to Ogam) and Fionnbarr Moore (Senior Archaeologist at the National Monuments Service, responsible for the recording and preservation of Ogham stones).

Dr Nora White is the Principal Investigator on the Ogham in 3D project and Jean-Francois Bucas, IT Systems Administrator at DIAS, is responsible for the design and development of the Ogham in 3D website. Funding for the current phase, focusing on ogham stones in state care under the supervision of the National Monuments Service, was made available by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan. In October 2012 work began on this pilot project in collaboration with the Discovery Programme whose expertise in 3D capture and modelling has greatly benefited the project.


The Ogham in 3D Project utilises portable, high-precision 3D scanning technology to record the Ogham inscriptions, which by their nature cannot be effectively captured by two-dimensional imaging. This method is totally non-contact, and therefore preferable to traditional invasive methods of capturing inscriptions on stones, such as rubbings or squeezes.

The data can then be used to create a 3D digital image of the Ogham stone, or even a reconstruction of a broken or damaged stone.

As well as offering new opportunities for the manipulation of the inscriptions, this provides the potential for improved interpretations. These detailed 3D images may also allow for analysis of tool markings and the techniques of individual stone masons. In some cases scanning can even highlight inscriptions no longer visible to the naked eye.

3D technology also allows for the creation of accurate replicas. Particularly vulnerable outdoor Ogham stones could be moved indoors to a safer environment, and replicas put in their place, which would have the advantage of preserving the archaeological landscape.

Project to digitise Ireland's ogham inscriptions and make 3d models of the ogham stones freely available online for purposes of research, education, etc