The first research activity, which was carried out throughout the whole recovery zone (the castle itself and open land around it), was botanical. Its purpose was to identify the various species of plants present at the site. The effort yielded a catalog of worthy species to be protected, and of invasive species to be eliminated through systematic selective weeding carried out with specific products not harmful to man or animals.
It also yielded an understanding of the effects of the various botanical species on the walls, and an evaluation of the type of activity necessary to uproot them, inasmuch as the roots exert a disintegrating effect on the walls over the long term, but an aggregative and strengthening effect in the short term. For this reason, the rapid death of certain plants, if not controlled, could provoke a crumbling of the walls. The uprooting took place in two phases, a general initial uprooting, followed after six months by a detailed one to finish up specific areas and drive back returning growth. The effort required the use of scrapers to eliminate plants that had invaded the tops of the highest walls.
removing the growth, the walls of the castle emerged clearly visible.
Graphic and photographic projections were made to document the factual
condition of the site, as requested by the Superintendency of Archaeology
of Calabria. The projections (of the whole castle, planimetric documentation,
profiles of the walls done to scale, analyses of samplings from the walls,
stone-by-stone studies of the main tower, and a depiction of existing
fissures) were carried out by a technician in charge of topographic and
photographic equipment. The projections were later also used to calculate
the work necessary to consolidate and strengthen the structure, particularly
the main tower. Surveys and studies were made of the walls to evaluate
their strength, both on-site through the insertion of power tools, and
in the laboratory by subjecting to compression and traction tests various
samples of the walls taken from the ruins. The results obtained were encouraging
because they yielded values indicating very high levels of strength.
various samplings of mortar were analyzed to determine their components,
to allow later study as to how to join and consolidate the structure.
The ingredients of new mortar to be used in the restoration work was also
analyzed to determine its compatibility with existing material. Archaeological
excavations were and will continue to be of fundamental importance; in
addition to being indispensable for an understanding of the monument,
they allow a large number of citizens to involve themselves in the work.
In fact, the excavations, directed my medieval archaeological specialists,
took place with the help of numerous volunteers from the high schools
(Scientific and Classical Lyceums) and of other groups that operate in
the historical center of the town (scouting groups and parishioners from
the churches of S. Teodoro and S. Lucia). Participation in the excavations
brings citizens closer to the monument, and ensures that its recovery
is not merely a technical operation but also a cultural and social activity
for the city.)