Case Study Gibraltar Caves

Gorham's Cave is a natural sea cave located on the southeast face of the rock of Gibraltar. It is of huge archaeological significance and is considered to be one of the last known habitations of the Neanderthals in the world.

The cave is named after Captain A. Gorham of the 2nd Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers who discovered it in 1907. It has been excavated to varying degrees over the years and is currently managed by Professor Clive Finlayson, Director of the Gibraltar Museum who has been responsible for its nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

To assist in the preservation and ongoing maintenance of the site, the Museum of Gibraltar along with the local Government have had the area 3D laser scanned and modelled. This data provides a detailed 3D record of the caves that will be vital for future conservation management.


The Brief

  • Brief

    The survey was required for a number of purposes. Firstly, it would be used to document the cliff face from the Monkeys Cave convalescent hospital all the way down to both Gorhams and Vanguards cave. This survey would be used for essential design works to improve the access to these areas.

  • Brief

    The survey would also be used to create a detailed 3D record of the internals of the caves, although surveyed conventionally in the past a 3D survey would provide an invaluable snap shot in time.

  • Brief

    Finally, the data would also be used to create a number of different interactive deliverables, these included a video fly through, a reconstruction of the cave, ortho rectified images and an online micro site and virtual tour.

Our Approach

Step 1

The site was captured using a faro focus 3D laser scanner, a Leica P20 and an iSTAR HDR camera. The full face of the cliff over 300m in height had to be capture as well as the inner caves which only had crawling access.

Step 2

Once capture and processed a detailed 3D point cloud was created. This was converted into a high poly mesh and also a Revit model of the convalescent hospital.

Step 3

The 3D mesh was UV’d and textured and reduced down to a low poly version suitable for web. This version was then animated to create the detailed 3D fly through video.

Step 4

The HDR images where processed and used to create a web based virtual tour. The images where sorted into order and navigation added to the sequence.

Who we work with

  • The Northumberland Estates
  • Dundee Heritage Trust
  • Time Team
  • English Heritage