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Technology brings the Picts to life at Perth exhibition

Forensic artist Hayley Fisher measuring up an artefact for a 2-D facial reconstruction of the face of a Pict.
Forensic artist Hayley Fisher measuring up an artefact for a 2-D facial reconstruction of the face of a Pict.

A ground-breaking new exhibition at Perth Museum and Art Gallery will bring visitors face-to-face with the Pictish past using the latest digital technology.

Visitors to Picts and Pixels,  which opens on Friday, can explore the past through virtual reality headsets and interactive stations, including a reconstruction of Moredun Top Hill Fort on Moncreiffe Hill on the outskirts of  Perth.

A real-life archaeological dig is currently taking place at the Iron Age fort but with the new technology visitors will be able to “fly through” and explore the site as it may have been in its heyday.

There will also be an opportunity to get hands-on experience and examine ancient Pictish objects up close through 3-D modelling technology. These include the Inchyra Stone with its cryptic inscriptions and a Celtic stone head originally found by two schoolboys in 1965 at the North Muirton end of the North Inch.

Forensic artist Hayley Fisher will be producing a 2-D facial reconstruction of the face of a Pict, using a partial skeleton found in Blair Atholl.

For more traditional fans of heritage and history, items loaned from National Museum of Scotland as well as items from Perth Museum’s collection will feature as part of the exhibition, which runs until August 13.

Perth Museum and Art Gallery’s first ever Museum Late event — an idea made popular in bigger cities such as Edinburgh, London and Berlin — will kick off the exhibition from 7pm on May 19. As well as a first chance to see and try Picts and Pixels ahead of the rest, there will be live music and performances from Adventure Circus. Beer is supplied by Perth’s Inveralmond Brewery, with a free first drink on entry.

The exhibition is a collaboration between Culture Perth and Kinross, the University of St Andrews Open Virtual Worlds Research team, Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, and Tay Landscape Partnership with support from the Heritage Lottery fund.

Helen Smout, chief executive of Culture Perth and Kinross, which delivers and develops museum and library services across the county, said: “We’re hugely excited about Picts and Pixels. It’s a ground-breaking exhibition, one that pushes the boundaries of what a museum exhibit is, and it comes hot on the heels of our highly successful Brick City LEGO exhibition.”

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