Glastonbury Abbey launches ground-breaking app that lets you see into the past

By Laura Linham

23rd Mar 2023 | Local News

The app – designed with teens and families in mind – will take users on a quest around the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey.
The app – designed with teens and families in mind – will take users on a quest around the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey.

Today, Glastonbury Abbey has launched a new augmented reality (AR) app called "Glastonbury Stories" which delves into the world of the medieval monastery, its archaeology, myths and legends.

The app – designed with teens and families in mind – will take users on a quest around the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey. Using their mobile devices to uncover portals to the past, intrepid pilgrims will hear conversations from the abbey's medieval inhabitants, discover lost artefacts rendered in 3D, and at certain locations even glimpse some of the grand buildings that formerly existed onsite.

 The app, one of the first of its kind to be used at a UK heritage site, is a collaboration with the University of Reading and industry partners Arcade and Thread.

Fragment of a medicine jar discovered at Glastonbury Abbey

The creation of the app was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and builds upon previous AHRC-funded collaborations by the University of Reading and Glastonbury Abbey that have helped bring the archaeology of the abbey to new audiences. In 2015, Professor Roberta Gilchrist and Cheryl Green released new research on the previously unpublished findings of the abbey's 20th century archaeological digs, inspiring public resources in the form of guidebooks, digital reconstructions, and more.

A digital reconstruction of the jar, as seen through the app

 Professor Roberta Gilchrist of the University of Reading who led the project, said: "The AR app is an exciting way for families to explore the extensive grounds and archaeology of Glastonbury Abbey, experiencing the diverse voices and lifestyles of its medieval past…"

Abbey director, Janet Bell, said: "We are aiming to provide a variety of ways through which our visitors can explore the site and its intriguing past…we hope this app and the trail that has been developed to go alongside it will be particularly engaging for families and younger people." 

     

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