The JESSOP Consultancy

Lichfield + Sheffield + Oxford

Star Carr,

Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Scheduled Monument (SM:1401425)

Digital reconstruction of Mesolithic landscape and visualisation as a short animation

OASIS: n/a

Star Carr is an internationally important Mesolithic site in North Yorkshire. Despite being over 11,000 years old the site has a wealth of rare organic remains. Star Carr has been the subject of numerous excavations since 1949 which has lead to the recovery of some iconic objects, including the famous antler headdresses as featured on royal mail stamps in 2017. The site also has the oldest known houses in Britain and an engraved pendant representing the earliest form of Mesolithic art in Britain

Working on behalf of the York Archaeological Trust for the Star Carr project, The JESSOP Consultancy was commissioned to produce highly detailed 3D digital environments based on the environmental and archaeological data from the site. Using these digital reconstructions we created five illustrations for the new 2 volume  publication on Star Carr. 

Each reconstruction image in the book has a QR code allowing the viewer to use a mobile phone to link to an animated version of the printed image. The animation replicates the ambient environment, adding in the wind and ripples on the water, bringing the image to life. 

The JESSOP Consultancy was also tasked with writing, directing, and producing a 4 minute animated film for the project. We were keen to incorporate new technologies and methods in the building of the digital film sets needed to create the animated scenes. We utilised photgrammetric data of the excavation site and laser scans of the recovered artefacts as part of our workflow. With this digital data we were able to create 3D models that replicate the actual archaeological deposits and insert these into our virtual environments. The archaeology the viewer sees in the animated film, is a 3D copy of the actual deposits placed there by the people of the Mesolithic. From the placement of the timbers to the bones and flints deposited in the water, each is an authentic model of what was discovered on the site during excavation. We feel this extra level of authenticity adds to the production and creates a more engaging result. 

The animation is part of the new Star Carr exhibition and is on display in the Archaeology and Anthropology Museum University of Cambridge. 

Scope of work: archive research, 3D digital modeling, animation, reconstruction of archaeological landscape