'Seeing beneath the soil’ at Gleaston Castle

Fri, 2016-04-29 11:45

Morecambe Bay Partnership volunteers, in collaboration with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), have uncovered intriguing survey results which could help us to understand further the story of  Furness Peninsula's Gleaston Castle.

After a week of training in archaeological geophysical surveying, the volunteers, along with students from UCLAN have been delving deeper into the story of Gleaston Castle near Ulverston, using a range of scientific technologies to ‘see beneath the soil’. This follows on from a successful project at the castle last year, funded by the Castle Studies Trust, when a detailed photographic survey was used to record the crumbling remains of this enigmatic and important historic site on the Furness Peninsula.

A geophysical survey was undertaken at Gleaston Castle from 25 - 29 April as part of a UCLAN student field school, and members of the local community were invited to get involved. Participants learnt out how geophysical survey works and helped survey the area inside the castle curtain wall, recording results which could potentially shed light on the castle’s intriguing past.

Geophysical survey is a long-established archaeological technique, which records and maps differences in the soil and underlying geology. This non-intrusive method of archaeological survey allows a picture to be established of what may be buried beneath the ground, without putting a trowel in the soil or causing any disturbance to the site.

The results of the survey will be fully analysed by specialists in UCLAN's archaeology department before being published on this website.


Gleaston Castle is a nationally protected Scheduled Monument and Listed Building and due to its ruinous condition is not accessible to members of the public. Special permission to access the site and undertake this survey was been provided by the landowner and Historic England.

The geophysical training was one of a series of archaeological training sessions and workshops lined up for 2016, where members of the local community will have the opportunity to learn archaeological surveying and recording techniques with Morecambe Bay Partnership, and then put them into practice, with the aim of creating a better record, and therefore a better understanding and appreciation, of Morecambe Bay's historical and archaeological sites. 

Further information about archaeological training and volunteer opportunities can be found here.

The training is delivered as part of Morecambe Bay Partnership's Headlands to Headspace Landscape Partnership Scheme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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