Castles and 3D Modelling

This 3D model of Buckton Castle represents the site today, but could form the basis of a full reconstruction.

This 3D model of Buckton Castle represents the site today, but could form the basis of a full reconstruction.

This recent blog post by Richard the Castellan looks at a variety of recent attempts to model in 3D a number of English and Welsh castles. Not only does it show the power of modern computer programming (with fly-throughs and close-ups) but it also demonstrates the value of these reconstructions. They remind us that the romantic ruins we visit are just a fraction of the original structure, and that these buildings will have had a complex development. In attempting to recreate these site we are challenging and testing our own ideas about how they functioned and how they fitted into the past landscape. At the three castle sites I have been involved with over the last decade (Buckton, Radcliffe and Halton) we have yet to take this 21st century approach, but its a research tool that needs to be taken seriously.

Richard the Castellan

Recently the charity I’m a trustee of has been publicising one of its projects to produce a 3D model of Holt Castle in the county of Wrexham (or Denbighshire if you go by historic counties). I first visited Holt in 2010 with my dad when I was researching my BA dissertation. It didn’t feature in what I was doing, but we were tracking along Cheshire’s border with Wales and it would have been a wasted opportunity not to visit.

Not much remains today thanks to the work of Parliament in the 17th century. Slighting, but not the right time period for my PhD. That’s why this reconstruction – based on a range of sources including historic plans and inventories – is so important in understanding the site. It really does transform it.

This got me thinking. What other 3D models are available online? A quick search of YouTube produced a…

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