Lost medieval village could have been found off M74 near Glasgow, say archaeologists

By Ben Miller | 11 March 2016

Cadzow, the community which moved south to become Hamilton, has left its traces by a motorway near where the important Netherton Cross was found

A photo of archaeologists working at a motorway site near Glasgow
Archaeologists believe they could have found a lost village opposite the Hamilton Services on the M74 in South Lanarkshire© GUARD Archaeology
Stonework inches beneath the hard shoulder of the M74 could be the remains of a lost 15th century village inhabited by people living on the edge of the River Clyde, say archaeologists.

Sections of two medieval buildings, believed to have been built by the Cadzow community and linked to the 1,000-year-old religious monument known as the Netherton Cross, have been found on the edge of the road to the south of Glasgow during work to create a new lane.

A photo of a set of medieval coins discovered on the M74 to the south of Glasgow
Medieval coins discovered at the site© GUARD Archaeology
“We are not sure of the age of the structures yet,” says Warren Bailie, the manager of the project as part of a £500 million roadbuilding scheme in Scotland.

“But as the Netherton Cross was tenth or 11th century, the surrounding buildings could date from the same period.

A photo of a large stone cross on red pebbles in a church garden in Hamilton, Scotland
The cross is one of Hamilton's most important artefacts© GUARD Archaeology
“We could be looking at something that’s 1,000 years old. No-one thought anything like this could have survived right on the edge of the motorway.”

The former residents were forced to move a mile south in 1445, when King James II gave his permission for the settlement to be renamed Hamilton.

A photo of a set of pottery pieces discovered on the M74 to the south of Glasgow
Fragments of pottery© GUARD Archaeology
A memorial stone marking the previous position of the cross was found in the bushes next to the site. Councillors in the town moved the monument to the grounds of Hamilton Parish Church in 1925, where it is still considered the area’s most important Christian relic.

"We’ve discovered two gaming pieces, one carved of stone and the other a circle of green-glazed medieval pottery, which could have been used in a medieval game of some sort,' says Kevin Mooney.

“This provides us with an all too rare glimpse into the past, shedding light on the medieval beginnings of Hamilton.”

Nine medieval coins, fragments of animal bone and more than 200 sherds of glazed medieval pottery, possibly predating the 15th century, were among the other discoveries.

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