ARCHAEOLOGISTS are putting together a comprehensive record of Clitheroe Castle and Museum while it is the subject of a £3.2million development scheme.

They have been on site recording some of its ancient features using special measuring and imaging equipment.

The artefacts will be stored at the Lancashire Records Office and pieces of medieval pottery discovered at the site will eventually go on display at the new-look Clitheroe Castle Museum.

Ian Miller, senior archaeologist at Oxford Archaeology, said: "This is the first time that this kind of work has been undertaken at Clitheroe Castle and it has given us crucial information about how the site has developed.

"We took detailed measurements and photographs using surveying equipment, and also found several items of medieval pottery, including drinking and cooking vessels, during test digs. The record will be lodged at the Lancas-hire Records Office and the pottery eventually displayed at the new museum."

Clitheroe Castle has dominated the Ribble Valley skyline since its construction in the 12th Century by Robert de Lacy to protect the administrative centre of his vast estates.

The original walled castle and keep occupied a prominent place in the Ribble Valley and, despite being the second smallest keep in England with rooms of around 20ft sq, had a strategic importance in the local area.

The castle suffered considerable damage when captured by Royalist troops in 1644 and fell into disrepair.

In 1920, it was purchased by public subscription as a memorial to those who had fallen and served in the First World War.

Ribble Valley Council is spearheading a £3.2million scheme to redevelop the site.

The scheme, one of the biggest heritage projects in the North West, will see a glass atrium linking the museum and nearby North West Sound Archives on two levels, with a lift, facilities for the disabled, café, exhibition space, inter-active display facilities and education suite.

Work on the cast started last summer and it is due to reopen in March 2009.