Hunterian to reveal the lost tomb of Robert the Bruce

The Lost Tomb of Robert the Bruce
24 June 2014 – 4 January 2015
Hunterian Museum
Admission free

A special new exhibition at The Hunterian will present the first complete 3D digital model of the long lost tomb of Robert the Bruce (1274-1329).

Organised in association with the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, the exhibition will also reunite surviving fragments from the lost tomb for the first time since their discovery almost 200 years ago.

Robert the Bruce was King of Scotland from 1306 until his death in 1329. The famous warrior king led Scotland to victory in the Scottish Wars of Independence and is now considered a national hero.

‘The Bruce’ was buried in the choir of Dunfermline Abbey and his grave marked by an impressive gilded white marble tomb imported from Paris. The tomb was lost in the turmoil of the Reformation era, but a grave and fragments of carved and gilded stone, believed to be those of the vanished tomb, were found in 1818 and later given to The Hunterian and to the National Museums of Scotland. A further fragment has recently been found in the collections at Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott.

The identification of these remains and the design of the royal tomb have long been the subject of debate but to mark the 1314 anniversary, a consortium of Scottish heritage bodies, including The Hunterian, has been working to reconstruct the lost tomb in its historic setting.

The Lost Tomb of Robert the Bruce explores the process of archaeological reconstruction and showcases the use of 3D digital modelling developed in Scotland to create a detailed visualisation of the tomb architecture in its original setting.

The digital visualisation of the tomb was created by a team of 3D visualisation experts from the Digital Design Studio at the Glasgow School of Art. The visualisation consists of a 3 and a half minute animated film which shows the position of the remaining fragments and also a 3D flythrough of the reconstructed tomb.

The Lost Tomb of Robert the Bruce is a collaboration between The Royal Commission for Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), Historic Scotland, The Hunterian (University of Glasgow), the National Museums of Scotland, Fife Cultural Trust, the Abbotsford Trust, the National Records of Scotland, the Digital Design Studio (Glasgow School of Art) and received research grant funding from the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Hunterian Museum
University of Glasgow
Gilbert Scott Building
Glasgow G12 8QQ

Open Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm and Sunday 11.00am – 4.00pm
Admission free

For further information contact:
Harriet Gaston
Communications Manager, The Hunterian

Press images are available here.

Notes to Editors

As well as the marble fragments, The Hunterian is home to other objects including pieces of the ‘cloth of gold’ that king’s body was wrapped in, a cast of his skull, a toe bone, and a coffin handle and nails.

The Hunterian is one of the world's leading University museums and one of Scotland’s greatest cultural assets. Built on Dr William Hunter’s founding bequest, The Hunterian collections include scientific instruments used by James Watt, Joseph Lister and Lord Kelvin; outstanding Roman artefacts from the Antonine Wall; major natural and life sciences holdings; Hunter’s own extensive anatomical teaching collection; one of the world’s greatest numismatic collections and impressive ethnographic objects from Captain Cook’s Pacific voyages.

The Hunterian is also home to one of the most distinguished public art collections in Scotland and features the world’s largest permanent display of the work of James McNeill Whistler.

The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland is a not-for-profit membership organisation, founded in 1780, to study the antiquities and history of Scotland. Today the Society provides an independent forum for the research, discussion and sharing of knowledge.

First published: 12 June 2014