Digital technology showcases heritage sites

Previously unseen artefacts and rarely opened archaeological stores have been revealed online thanks to a new partnership between English Heritage and Google Arts & Culture.

Using digital technology, the stories of 29 English Heritage sites across England – from Tintagel Castle in Cornwall to Hadrian’s Wall – have been brought to life and shared with an international audience via the Google Arts & Culture platform.

It is the first time Google Arts & Culture has worked with a heritage organisation and the first time it has worked with a multi-site institution.

Matt Thompson, head of collections at English Heritage, said: “In our new role as a charity, English Heritage is looking for innovative ways to open our sites to the public and share their fascinating stories with them.

“Thanks to Google Arts & Culture’s technology, we’ve been able to bring people closer to our historic masterpieces than ever before, open up our storehouses to a global audience, and showcase hitherto unseen artefacts.”

Amit Sood, Google Arts & Culture director, added: “English Heritage has done such an amazing job in preserving iconic art and sites, allowing us a glimpse into what life was like in a different time.”

John Glen MP, heritage and tourism minister, commented: “Our #CultureIsDigital project aims to harness the creative potential of technology to increase awareness and engagement in our world-class cultural organisations.

“The collaboration between Google and English Heritage is a perfect example of how the heritage and tech sectors can work together to present our history and culture in new and exciting ways.”

Highlights from the partnership include images of historical artefacts at Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, and 18th century ceiling paintings at Kenwood House in ultra-high definition.

Frank Wilkin’s vast 1820 painting of the Battle of Hastings hangs – largely unseen – within the private school on the 1066 battle field in East Sussex (pictured).

Now shot by Google’s Art Camera, this depiction of the most famous battle in English history can be seen with ultra-high definition zoom via the Google Arts & Culture platform.

Other stories include the fire that ruined Witley Court in 1937; Art Deco technology and luxury at Eltham Palace; the rediscovery of Rievaulx Abbey in the 1920s; the bombardment of Whitby Abbey during the First World War; and the preparations for nuclear war at York Cold War Bunker.