Excavate St Kilda through Minecraft

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Gamers can excavate and rebuild St Kilda without ever having to visit the isolated archipelago after the World Heritage site was recreated through Minecraft.

St Kilda was digitally recreating as part of the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

The games-based learning team has already spent over 125 hours and used over 3 million bricks on the 1:1 scale, topographically accurate map. Minecraft is often referred to as “virtual LEGO” and is one of the best-selling video games of all time.

Nick Smith, Heritage Manager at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “This is a really exciting way to use technology so that people can discover a remote and difficult to access place.

“These events will help the public learn more about St Kilda and about how Minecraft helps us to explore the World Heritage Site.”

The team has been working closely with Jonathan Wordsworth, the St Kilda archaeologist with The National Trust for Scotland, to ensure that this digital world is as accurate as possible.

The build features abandoned blackhouses, boats and souterrains (underground structures), and will cover six stories, ranging from a kidnapped and incarcerated noble woman to an archaeological dig.

Players will be able to travel from site to site and “unlock” these tales, voiced by volunteers.

Throughout World Heritage Day (April 18) the ImmersiveMinds team will travel to six sites across Lewis, the gateway to St Kilda, to capture these voices and other sounds for the Minecraft world.

Members of the public are invited to join the team from 7.30pm to 9.00pm at An Lanntair in Stornoway to lend their voice to the recordings, learn more about the Minecraft site or add to a LEGO replica of the build.

Stephen Reid, Director at ImmersiveMinds, said: “Building the island of St Kilda for World Heritage Day in Minecraft has enabled us to shine a spotlight on six stories from the island’s past.

“Pairing this technology with archaeology offers a unique opportunity for us to bring remote, and sometimes forgotten, places into homes, schools and museums, making St Kilda and its history accessible worldwide to a whole new generation.

“Not only can virtual visitors explore the island as it is today, but they have a unique opportunity to experience what it would have been like at six different periods throughout its past.”

For additional information, visit DigIt2017.com.