Cutting edge technology reveals secrets of Gleaston Castle
THE latest high-tech aerial technology has been used to capture photographic data of a Furness castle ruin, helping local historians understand and record this important site for future generations.
Cumbria charity, the Morecambe Bay Partnership, hosted a contingent of trustees and supporters of the Castle Studies Trust for a visit to Gleaston Castle - where they experienced a demonstration of the vital recording work their charity has been funding at the site.
Earlier this year, Morecambe Bay Partnership was awarded a grant by the Castle Studies Trust to obtain a permanent photographic record of the picturesque and unique, but sadly overlooked site of Gleaston Castle.
Since June, experts from Ulverston firm Greenlane Archaeology and Aerial-Cam have been gathering data, recording every aspect of the site - including a detailed record of the architecture and construction of the castle.
An unmanned aerial vehicle – a quadracopter – was used, alongside more traditional archaeological recording techniques, to take thousands of digital images of the castle ruins, which will be transformed into a detailed 3D model of the site.
Surprisingly, and until now, there was no accurate record of the castle other than plans drawn up in the early 20th century.
This survey work is therefore creating a vital addition to the archaeological record for the region.
It will not only serve as a permanent record of the site, but will also allow experts to inspect the castle, in particular the hard to reach towers.
The first images obtained from the survey are revealing intriguing results, indicating that the castle may have been constructed in a number of stages and modified over a period of time.
The aerial images are also highlighting possible internal building platforms and external features.
Jeremy Cunnington, trustee of the Castle Studies Trust, said: “It was absolutely fascinating to see the recording work in action and explore this unique site.
"The team from the trust were all surprised by the site, thinking it was a typical courtyard castle - but it turned out to be far more interesting than that.
"We look forward to seeing the final results.”
The survey results are expected to be delivered later this year, with the 3D model and a report on the work available online, through the Castle Studies Trust and Morecambe Bay Partnership’s websites.