Maritime Archaeology Updates

Diving Deeper with the Maritime Archaeology Trust

Category: 3D Models

Menhir de la Tremblais

Near the village of Saint-Samson-sur-Rance, in Brittany, France, we find this interesting Neolithic piece of stone.

Pierre Longue menhir of Thiemblaye

The menhir stands alone at 6 meters in length, leaning at just over  45 degrees. It is a large block of granite and quartz, with a relatively polished, flat look.

Most of the time that is all it seems to be. However, when the sun hits it just right, beautiful markings and carvings appear. Carvings of crosses, leaves, axes, waves and various animals.


There are several legends surrounding this monument. One legend says it is one of three stones closing the entrance to hell. This belief gave it the name “Bonde de l’Enfer,” loosely meaning “Leap From Hell.”

Another legend says that a young girl who wants to get married should climb on top of the menhir and slide down in her “birth pants.” Subsequently, she will be wed within a year.

A final legend tells a story of Samson of Dol who faced the temptations of the Devil nearby, and when the Devil failed, it whipped the stone, creating some of the marks we can see today.



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Model volunteer!

Ken Manchip from the Fareham and District Model Engineering Society tells us how he ended up volunteering for the Maritime Archaeology Trust:

“The road leading to my building of the model steam pinnace started when the Fareham and District Model Engineering Society that I am a member of, played host to a representative of the Marine Archaeologist Trust, how gave us a talk on the underwater world in the Solent: identifying and investigating wrecks. This was received so well that we have left the door open for a return visit.

One of the sites the Trust have been researching and surveying in Gosport, Hampshire is the hulked remains of a steam pinnace that would have been in use during the First World War, Steam Pinnace 704. The Trust identified a model kit for a similar vessel and they thought such a model would be a suitable and beneficial aid for public outreach.

They approached the Model Engineering Society to see if we might be able to help with the building and as the representative of the Society’s Marine group the task was presented to me and I very willingly took up the challenge.

The model kit duly arrived and was found to be a wooden plank on frame, vacuum formed plastic superstructure, and plastic fittings, which I am familiar with. The kit included a side view plan and short explanation of stage build.

Described as a beginner’s kit, it very quickly became obvious that without considerable experience, skills and tooling, this build would have taken more than a month of approximately 2 hours a day and the end result would have been quite different! As with other models that I have been involved in, patience is the main skill to get one through. The moment you recognise what is in hand and where it is expected to go, is magic.

I enjoyed the challenge of building the steam pinnace model, which led me to surf the net to learn more of the history of the naval Pinnaces. The model will be exhibited at the Fareham and District Model Engineering Society Open Weekend at the end of July, before the Trust takes possession for use in their public outreach activities.

And what’s next for me? Maybe I will try the earlier 19th century model?…….”

Ken Manchip, Fareham and District Model Engineering Society

IMG_20160602_155831 IMG_20160604_181916IMG_20160703_143918





You can see Ken’s steam pinnace model on the weekend of 30/31st July at the Fareham and District Model Engineering Society open weekend:


Across the Seas: ‘The Idol’, Peña Tú Asturias

Previously we have discussed some 3D-images of  French megaliths. The following 3D image is of a Neolithic stone shelter in Spain.

Located in the beautiful Sierra Plana de la Borbolla, at Llanes in Asturias, Northern Spain, ‘The Idol’ is a neolithic rock shelter which has preserved wonderful examples of prehistoric art.

The rock has been known by local inhabitants for a long time, but it was not until 1914 the first archaeological  investigations took place. ‘The Idol’ can be interpreted as a human form, featuring eyes, nose and feet wrapped in a cloth or robe. It might have represented a tribal elder or warrior, indicated by the adjacent dagger motif, thus making it likely that is was a funerary monument.

The images show crosses, demonstrating the site’s later Christianisation. In addition, we can find a faint animal motif and several red forms throughout.

It is likely that ‘The Idol’ is part of a series of sites dispersed across the region that are almost certainly connected with a wider common culture, stretching from Ireland to Scandinavia to Tunisia, in the Neolithic.

The site was surveyed by drone and Land Rover Defender.

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Across the Seas: French Megaliths in 3D

Hello again,

We have been in France researching La Roche Longue, which is a megalith (menhir) located southeast of Quintin, France. We have worked on developing a 3D model of this stone and its surrounding landscape. The model is derived from UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), commonly known as drone, images, and constructed using photogrammetry. Using a drone allows us to capture detailed images of these large stones which would otherwise be difficult to get from the ground.

La Roche Longue, Quintin, Brittany
by Maritime Archaeology
on Sketchfab

A second 3D model we have been working on is of Allée couverte de Mein-Gouarec à Plaudren. It is a passage grave located near the village of Plaudren in France. Dated around 4,500-4,300 BP, it is a late neolithic piece around 6 meters in length. The tomb features engravings representing the Mother Goddess, including carved out breasts on the back wall. This site was recorded in January this year, using Nikon D200 and D7000 cameras.

Allée couverte de Mein-Gouarec à Plaudren
by Maritime Archaeology
on Sketchfab

 The images are all collected as part of the Common Cultural Connections project. The CCC project is a collaboration between MAT in the UK, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France and University of Cantabria in Spain. The aim of the project is to enhance the understanding of the shared cultural heritage through an innovative mobile exhibition. Read more about the project here

Common Cultural Connections

Stay tuned for more about the exciting life of the Maritime Archaeology Trust!