Iron age jewellery recreated with the help of 3D printing

Ben Price, a postgraduate student at the University of the Highlands and Islands managed to recreate iron age bronze ring headed pins from the first to the third century AD.

By scanning clay moulds used to make the jewellery and using 3D technology, Price managed to recreate the ancient accessory.

The original moulds, found at The Cairns on South Ronaldsay, Orkney are too fragile to use to make jewellery today.

About 60 fragments of clay moulds were found during recent excavations of an Iron Broch at The Cairns.

Brochs, also known as Atlantic roundhouses, were stone towers built in the Scottish islands and Highlands.

The clay moulds were scanned into a computer and a 3D model was created. A 3D model of the pin was then created and sent off to be printed in wax so that the pin could be cast in bronze, the metal used by Orkney jewellery makers at the time.

Martin Carruthers, Masters degree programme leader at UHI, said: “This process gives us a unique and exciting insight into the objects that the people of The Cairns actually experienced and used over 2,000 years ago.

“You can see the imperfections and the work involved.”