Animated 3D models

Animated 3D models of the Saalburg

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In cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Graphical Data Processing IGD (CultLab3D), Darmstadt objects from the Saalburg collection are digitized in 3D.
The aim is to achieve a photorealistic representation in 3D of objects made of different materials. The project was launched in November 2019 and selected results of these scans are presented here.


  • Horse Head Waldgirmes
  • Dodecahedron Inv. FMb 2103
  • Finger ring inv. SM1
  • Helmet mask inv. E 67/20.1


More can be found in the Digital collection .

Material: lead bronze (gold plated)
Dimensions: 55 x 25 x 26 cm
Location: Waldgirmes, Lahn-Dill-Kreis
Dating: 4 BC to 16 AD

The head accurately depicts the delicate features of a horse. The head harness is richly decorated with a forehead plate and medallions. They depict Mars, the god of war, and Victoria, the goddess of victory. The head is hollow on the inside.

Originally, the horse's head belonged to an equestrian statue, which was probably erected on the forum of the Roman settlement of Waldgirmes. After the end of the settlement, the head was carefully deposited in a well at a depth of six metres between millstones.

Inventory number: FMb 2103
Material: bronze
Dimensions: Height 5.1 cm
Location: Kleiner Feldberg Castle, Taunus
Dating: 2nd to 4th century AD.

The dodecahedron, also known as the pentagonal dodecahedron, is a cube-like object with twelve pentagonal faces. Twelve round openings of different sizes break through the faces. The openings are framed by concentric grooves and notches. Thirty small spheres adorn the corners of the dodecahedron. It is hollow on the inside.

Different research opinions on its use are discussed, e.g. as a measuring or calibration device or as an astrological instrument in a cultic-religious context.

Inventory number: SM 1
Material: gold
Dimensions: diameter 1.9 cm
Location: Saalburg Castle, Taunus
Dating: 3rd century AD

The band of the finger ring consists of three wires laid side by side, the centre one is decorated with a row of pearls. The ends of the two outer wires are shaped like snake heads. The oval plate is embossed with a depiction of the Spartan queen Leda with the swan. The Greek father of the gods, Zeus, approached her in the form of a swan in order to impregnate her.

Leda with the swan was a widespread erotic motif in all genres of art in antiquity. Finger rings like this one were worn by both men and women in Roman times.

Inventory number: E 67/20.1
Material: Bronze (partly silver-plated)
Dimensions: 25.4 x 21.5 x 15 cm
Location: Echzell Castle, Wetteraukreis
Dating: mid-2nd century AD.

The parade equipment of Roman cavalry soldiers included richly decorated helmets with masks that covered the entire face. They were worn during the traditional cavalry games. There is evidence of exercises in complicated formations and mock battles between two parties.

The mask from Echzell has a thin coating of sheet silver on the face. Its striking hairstyle with curls rising above the forehead is characteristic of portraits of Alexander the Great. This is why these helmets are known as the Alexander type. It emerged at the time of Emperor Hadrian (117 - 138 AD), who was a great fan of equestrian games.

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