Cultural Heritage Spotlight: Morbase

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Our Cultural institutions Page highlights our ongoing support of museums and cultural institutions with free accounts and access to tools. In Cultural Heritage Spotlight, we’ll explore museums who are using 3D technology to bring new life to their collections.


Morbase is a project from the Montemor-o-Novo’s Municipality with the primary goal of promoting the scientific knowledge related to the cultural heritage of Montemor-o-Novo’s region in Portugal. Through the guidelines of public archaeology, presenting the data and scientific interpretations to the general public, thus enabling the interaction with the scientific community. To captivate the audience and make them aware of what is theirs by cultural heritage, translating that which is their historical past. This should be the duty of an archaeologist and of those who manage cultural heritage.

The awareness for cultural heritage will ease its preservation, empowering individuals with knowledge towards prevention and not just remediation. It is also intended that MorBase is able to encourage the innovation of techniques regarding the gathering of scientific knowledge while at the same time regarding the registration and dialog with our cultural heritage, developing public and experimental archaeology.

It was precisely through experimental archaeology that Morbase promoted the Virtual Reconstruction Marathon, on the 1st Symposium of Virtual Archaeology. For 48 hours, a group of archaeologists, illustrators and heritage technicians took part in the 3D virtual reconstruction of a medieval village ancient house, with a wine cellar inside. For this 3D virtual reconstruction, the Sketchfab 3D scan model seen below was used as a work tool. The results of the Virtual Reconstruction Marathon can be seen in this video.

This is the main reason why the 3D survey and Sketchfab’s viewer have been crucial for Morbase, providing an immersive visual contact in three dimensions of many archaeological and art pieces, as well as monuments whose access is often limited for several reasons. The collective burial of the Neolithic from the Escoural Cave is one example of that. It was taken from the Montemor-o-Novo’s region in the 1960’s, and brought to the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia where it is preserved in their archaeological storages. Even though it is physically away from the eyes of the public, it can be seen in 3D on Sketchfab.

In an ever more globalizing world and with the constantly evolving capabilities provided by the computer industry, publishing our data has now become a priority. Being able to publish it in 3D is a step forward. Morbase has integrated 3D models on its website database for the unique collection of 16th century pottery and will continue to provide 3D models of Montemor-o-Novo’s Heritage. We are also currently developing a technique for the 3D survey of megalithic monuments. The 3D model of the Dolmen 2 of Comenda da Igreja (also known in portuguese as the Anta Pequena da Comenda da Igreja) was the first essay for a project that Morbase is planning to extend to several other prehistoric monuments in the region.

Thank you for sharing, MorBase!

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About the author


Nicolas Guinebretière

Cultural heritage enthusiast

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