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Artist’s impression of the lost village of Cadzow.

Forgotten Medieval Village Found During Construction Work in Scotland

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The village of Cadzow has been rediscovered during the upgrading of the M74 motorway (expressway) in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. Archaeologists discovered hundreds of objects which documented life there 1,000 years ago.

The Scotsman reports that the rare archaeological discovery includes medieval coins, pistol shot, pottery, and gaming pieces. The settlement was lost for decades. Some information about the location of the village was known, but archaeological excavations had not been performed before. The site was dated to the 10th to 11th century AD, and was made on the current verge of the M74 motorway near Junction 6 Hamilton, close to Strathclyde Park.

The oldest artifacts discovered at the site are more than 1,000 years old. The objects allowed the archaeologists to finally identify the location of the village of Cadzow.

Excavations at the site.

Excavations at the site. ( Transport Scotland )

Two of the unearthed structures are large buildings. The Daily Record says that because there are no other medieval settlements documented in this part of Lanarkshire, the archaeologists are confident that what they have found is Cadzow.

It is known that during the 14th century Cadzow Village became a part of the Parish of Hamilton. It was within the estate of the Duke of Hamilton, but was abandoned as the Duke decided to clear off his land.

The discovery stopped the construction work on the freeway. The excavations were led by Warren Bailie, Project Manager for Guard Archaeology Ltd. He spent 18 months on site and recorded the finds. He believes that the discovery is very unique in this area. Warren Bailie told Motherwell Times :

“Medieval remains rarely survive in industrial centers such as Glasgow due to widespread industrialization of the nineteenth century, including mining, road and housing construction. Very few medieval settlements have survived, so we’re delighted to recover and record such a rare and interesting piece of Scottish history.”

A memorial stone, which marks the former position of the Netherton Cross , provides a clue which parts of the area survived undisturbed through the centuries. The cross was moved to Hamilton Parish Church in 1925. Two medieval structures lie adjacent to a memorial stone. According to Kevin Mooney, the director of the excavations, it is believed that one of the structures was literally located in the position of the Netherton Cross. The buildings discovered nearby may have had some religious connections, but this theory still needs more analysis.

Stone that marked the former site of the Netherton Cross.

Stone that marked the former site of the Netherton Cross. ( Scottish Construction Now! )

Speaking to the BBC, Mooney said:

“Despite the area being heavily mined in the early 1900s, it’s possible the area around the Netherton Cross was not disturbed for religious reasons. We are not sure of the age of these structures just yet, however, the Netherton Cross dates from the 10th or 11th Century, therefore it is possible that the surrounding buildings could date from the same period - so we could be looking at a site and artefacts that are 1,000 years old.”

Netherton Cross was moved to its current location at Hamilton Parish Church in 1925.

Netherton Cross was moved to its current location at Hamilton Parish Church in 1925. ( Transport Scotland )

The discovery is also unusual because of nine coins that were discovered in one place. According to the researchers, it's possible that people thought it lucky to leave a coin at this place, which was probably a shrine. Apart from this, they found fragments of animal bone, clay smoking-pipe fragments, and more than 200 sherds of glazed medieval pottery dated to the 1400s or earlier at the site.

Some of the coins found at the site.

Some of the coins found at the site. (Transport Scotland )

The shot discovered on the site is believed to have come from an officer, who fought during the battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679 .

Lead Pistol shot believed to have been used at Battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679.

Lead Pistol shot believed to have been used at Battle of Bothwell Bridge in 1679. (Transport Scotland )

The archaeologists also discovered two gaming pieces. One of them is carved of stone and the second is a circle of green-glazed medieval pottery, which could have been used in a medieval game of some sort.

Keith Brown, the Minister of Infrastructure, Investments and Cities, told the press that the work on the motorway will improve journey time, but it is also important to save the heritage of this area.

“The discoveries on the M74 near Hamilton, which could have remained uncovered had works not started, are truly remarkable and underline the importance of the value we place on meeting our environmental obligations as we plan and construct essential new infrastructure” he said.

Archaeologists Kevin Mooney and Warren Bailie with some of the artifacts.

Archaeologists Kevin Mooney and Warren Bailie with some of the artifacts. ( Motherwell Times )

It is unknown what will happen with the artifacts from the village.

Until now, one of the most popular medieval villages in Scotland has been the Duncarron Fort . It is a completely reconstructed early medieval village, which became famous because of its role in a movie about Robin Hood, with Russell Crowe as the main character.

Featured Image: Artist’s impression of the lost village of Cadzow. Source: Transport Scotland

By Natalia Klimczak

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