Laser Scan of Carved Shield (image courtesy of Archaeoptics Ltd)

Archaeoptics Ltd:  Laser Scan of Carved Shield

We were asked by the Rollright Trust to laser scan a feature carved into the inner face of the tallest monolith within the main circle. This feature was generally regarded as a shield, but opinions differed as to what decoration, if any, the shield might have.

Additionally, it was surmised that a second larger shield existed outside the smaller, more clearly visible, one.

After scanning and processing the data, we came to the conclusion that the smaller shield was indeed a shield as it featured three or four castellations along the top edge. There are also a similar number of internal loops just beneath the upper horizontal bar of the shield. There are no identifiable internal marks other than those, certainly no obvious heraldic devices thought to exist.

Similarly, it appears that there is no outer shield, although there are one or two areas of possible pecking which may delineate where some carving was started. However, the pecking could simply be natural erosion of the limestone.

The scan took approximately 10 minutes in total taken in situ at the Rollright Stones. Data post-processing took an additional 30 minutes and the carving was recorded to approximately 0.4mm accuracy.