The lost village of Cadzow, near Hamilton. Turns out we were driving on part of it all along!
This morning, journalists were invited along to the roadworks site near Raith at the edge of the M74, to witness the discovery of an ancient, medieval village. This follows the discovery of coins and artefacts possibly dating back 1,000 years, which were unearthed during motorway construction works.
Construction workers had no idea four buildings and a range of artefacts, dating from the 14th and 15th centuries, were buried next to the carriageway, on the Strathclyde Park side, directly opposite Hamilton Services.
Kevin Mooney and Warren Bailie are part of an archaeological team hired by Transport Scotland to examine the area earmarked for the motorway extension. They spent 18 months examining the area before discovering the remains of the village just past junction six.
The medieval village of Cadzow was renamed Hamilton in the 15th century in honour of the lord of the area and the settlement moved south to the current location of the town.
The remains of two ancient stone structures were also found during the excavation, which experts believe could have been a religious shrine more than 1,000 years ago.
While Cadzow was left behind and deteriorated over time, Netherton Cross – a major religious monument erected in the village in the 10th or 11th century – remained and was relocated in 1925 to the grounds of Hamilton Parish Church to preserve it.
Due to road construction, mining and other work over the centuries, the archaeologists expected the remains to be lost.
Kevin said: “It shouldn’t exist here.
“There was excavation previously when they built the services across the road and there were medieval remains found there. But we didn’t think remains would have survived this far from the castle.” They also found coins, smoking pipes, pottery and a lead pistol shot.
Kevin and Warren say there are likely to be further village buildings underneath the motorway and that it was potentially home to hundreds of people at its height.
Sadly, when the M74 was originally built in the 1960’s, there was no legislation requiring archaeological examinations of building sites and works would simply have “pressed on”.
Attached is an artists impression of the kind of houses that would have existed here.
There will certainly be more on this story on tonights Scottish news on TV.