Minecraft maps Scotland’s past

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Gamers can now explore thousands of years of history thanks to the most topographically accurate and interactive Minecraft map of Scotland ever created.

Scotland’s ancient historical sites are now “virtually” at player’s fingertips through a full-scale Minecraft world called Crafting the Past.

After months of site visits, building and trialling, people from across the world are invited to download and uncover Roman forts, journey back to the Victorian era or excavate long-lost Pictish settlements as part of the immersive game.

The project is running in tandem with Dig It! 2015, the year-long celebration of Scottish archaeology.

In order to create the most authentic experience possible, archaeologists have been working alongside gaming experts since the beginning of the project.

Stephen Reid of ImmersiveMinds, who has been building the Crafting the Past worlds with a global team of Minecrafters, said: “It brings what children are learning to life. So the obvious choice for doing structural or topographical landscapes was Minecraft.

We intended it to be a celebration of Scottish architect and to create a digital archive for the people of Scotland.

Stephen Reid, ImmersiveMinds

“We have more projects coming – we’re working with the National Mining Museum of Scotland, we’ve got an ancient burial cairns in Inverness. The downloads have absolutely been popular – we’ve had requests from as far away as New Zealand.

“We intended it to be a celebration of Scottish architecture and to create a digital archive for the people of Scotland. But immediately it’s been picked up by people from Israel, lots of European countries, asking if they can have a look, because people genuinely are interested in the history of Scotland. And a digital representation allows them to explore it.

“So, for example, in Penicuik House, they can actually re-live the fire of 1899 by setting the building on fire, watch it burn down, and then be left with the ruin. It allows people who have maybe visited it once or just want to see it in the first place to explore the site.

“There’s a real emphasis in the classroom just now to teach local and national history. They’re now looking at Scottish language, culture and heritage and we’re introducing this to schools as a way for them to explore their own heritage, through a platform they enjoy.”