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3D Scanning of the Teutonic bombard from Kurzętniki Castle

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Digitalization of a medieval bombard from the times of the Battle of Grunwald for educational and popularization purposes

Sheer curiosity was the source of an extraordinary idea that was born during the visit of Mr. Adam Przyborowski at the castle in Kurzętnik. The inspiration came from the extraordinary story of a certain monument - 15th-century Teutonic bombard, which still remembers the times of battles between Polish troops and the Teutonic Order. The cannon was used, among others, in the famous Battle of Grunwald in 1410.

In 1914, during excavations at the castle in Kurzętnik, Poland archaeologists discovered a valuable historical object. The item was identified as a small Teutonic cannon weighing 25 kg, 60 cm long- such type of object is very rare finding, what increased the historical and educational value of the discovery. The circumstances of its placement in the castle in Kurzętnik are unknown.

On the initiative of Mr. Przyborowski, the project was introduced to create a realistic copy of the unique artifact, which currently is a part of the collection in the Castle Museum in Malbork (the main castle of Teutonic Order in Poland, located near Kurzętnik castle). Initially, the plan was to create a copy based on photos. However „Technology is progressing so fast that in the meantime I realized the existence of 3D scanning." - says Adam Przyborowski.

The idea of scanning the bombard immediately appealed to the local authorities, whose representatives wanted to return the object to its place of finding, and at the same time ensure the access to treasury cannon for the many visitors of the Malbork Castle. SMARTTECH company was asked to acquire a digital 3D model.

3D scanning for popularization of the valuable artifacts in the digital form

Thanks to the courtesy of the director of the Castle Museum in Malbork, the artifact was made available to SMARTTECH specialists. Over 100 years after the discovery of the Teutonic cannon, the 3D scanning company starts working towards its archiving and making a digital 3D copy. The unexpected effect of the detailed documentation project was complementing information about the Battle of Grunwald.

Fot this task the MICRON3D color 3D scanner with a resolution of 10 MPix was chosen. 3D scanning is a non-contact process, what makes it completely safe even for delicate objects.

3D scanning is based on acquiring information about the shape and color of the object, which creates a virtual digital copy of it. The result is a cloud of points representing the surface of the scanned item. Each of these points stores information about coordinates placed on the surface of the object (X, Y, Z) and its color (R, G, B). Based on the generated cloud of points, a triangle mesh that reflects the continuous surface of the object is being created.

3D data enhances the knowledge about the history of artifacts

The intuitive SMARTTECH3Dmeasure software allows not only to obtain detailed information about the shape of the object, but also to make virtual cross-sections or calculate the surface area and volume. Everything is done with one click of the computer mouse. In that specific project, created cross-sections turned out to be helpful in determining, among others, the diameter of the cannon and provided additional information about the casting technique applied. Based on historical sources and archaeological discoveries, it was determined that the bombard had been cast in the bell foundry in Malbork.

Community representatives from Kurzętnik expressed their hope that 3D digitalization will lead to bringing a digital copy of the bombard back on the original finding castle hill, as well as will allow displaying one copy of a precious cannon the market square in Kurzętnik. Work is currently underway on making casts based on the acquired 3D models


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