Archaeologists use Additive Manufacturing to reproduce unique historic artefacts

July 7, 2017

Archaeologists use Additive Manufacturing to reproduce unique historic artifacts

The bronze Rider of Unlingen has been replicated by Additive Manufacturing (Courtesy Concept Laser)

 

A team of archaeologists has additively manufactured an accurate copy of the Rider of Unlingen, a bronze figure of a horse rider dating back to around the 7th Century BCE. Working for the Baden-Württemberg State Office for the Preservation of Monuments, Germany, the team produced the replica using an Mlab cusing system from Concept Laser, Lichtenfels, Germany.

The accurate reproduction of a unique archaeological find by Additive Manufacturing has major implications for the field of archaeology, opening up new prospects for the non-destructive evaluation of key historic artefacts. Previously, reproductions have been manufactured using direct moulding, a process which risks damaging the original. To reproduce items using AM, no physical contact with the original is necessary.

To replicate the Rider of Unlingen, the team first digitised the original using X-ray CT. The bronze was scanned three-dimensionally and evaluated using Volume Graphics’ VG Studio Max 3.0 software, allowing the team to collect data which could be translated into a model for the additively produced replica.

 

Archaeologists use Additive Manufacturing to reproduce unique historic artefacts

The Concept Laser system constructs the geometry of the Rider of Unlingen (Courtesy Concept Laser)

 

Meanwhile, Concept Laser’s materials engineers worked to identify a bronze alloy similar to the copper-tin alloy used to produce the original almost 2,800 years ago. This was achieved by analysing the density and weight of the original and ascertaining the percentages of copper and tin using x-ray fluorescence analysis. As a result, the new Rider of Unlingen is reported to be visually and tactilely indiscernible from the original, with the difference only evident through in-depth material analysis.

As one of the oldest surviving depictions of a mounted figure north of the Alps and an example of early Hallstatt culture, the Rider of Unligen is of great archaeological significance. Speaking on the reproduction, Nicole Ebinger-Rist, Head Conservator of the Baden-Württemberg State Office for the Preservation of Monuments, stated, “I was very surprised by the level of detail. All of a sudden, you’re holding an object from the 7th Century BCE in your hands, except that it’s made out of powder from the 21st Century AD.”

“You’ve got a cultural-historically relevant copy in your hands and are looking at twenty-eight centuries gone by. It’s simply overwhelming. Whole new possibilities are being opened up to curators, conservators and scientists,” she concluded. As well as allowing non-destructive hands-on examination of historic objects, the production of replicas can be of benefit to many museums and cultural institutions by enabling multiple copies of the same object to be shown in different locations globally.

Replicas of this bronze are now being shown as part of an exhibition titled ‘The Rider of Unlingen – Celts, horses and charioteers’ at two different museums, alongside comparable Celtic objects.

www.concept-laser.de

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF
 

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Revolution, not evolution: General Motors on building an AM culture and the AM Dream Machine
  • The power of Additive Manufacturing in the hands of artists: Public works to small batch production
  • Growing momentum and broadening recognition: A status update on the rise of Electron Beam PBF
  • Improving carbon capture efficiency through Additive Manufacturing in the race for a liveable climate
  • The System of AM Systems: How Metal Powder Works’ in-process powder production could change metal AM
  • The next generation: Using metal AM to drive emissions reduction and educate the engineers of the future
  • Advances in the AM of refractory metals and hard materials at the 20th Plansee Seminar
  • Additive Manufacturing needs you: Why you and your company should get involved in standards development

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

News from the industry…

    News from the industry…

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

    • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news

    All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

    Browse the archive

    Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

    Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

    • AM machines
    • Process monitoring & calibration
    • Heat treatment & sintering
    • HIP systems & services
    • Pre- & post-processing technology
    • Powders, powder production and analysis
    • Part manufacturers
    • Consulting, training & market data
    Download PDF
    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap