Clutha Archaeology Project, Northlight August 2018

Clutha Archaeology Project, Northlight August 2018

University of Glasgow

2018 - 2018


In August 2018, Archaeologists from Northlight Heritage and the University of Glasgow excavated a site at Draffan farm near Lanark as part of the Clutha Archaeology project.

Students from the University of Glasgow and Durham University joined the archaeologists on the site to learn the process of excavation and recording archaeological remains. Many of the students hope to become archaeologists once they graduate and gained valuable work experience alongside the professionals.   Volunteers from the local area also took part including participants from the Phoenix Futures drug and alcohol recovery service in Glasgow. Phoenix Futures runs a ‘Recovery through Nature’ program, which encourages people who use the service to try something new. Over two weeks we all worked together to excavate and understand the archaeological evidence we uncovered.

In 2017 students and volunteers excavated the site at Black Hill, an  impressive Iron Age Hill fort a few miles from Draffan which can be seen on the horizon from the farm. During that  excavation we investigated the stone walls and ditches of the Hillfort. This year, we were interested in the site at Draffan because we thought there might be Iron Age activity on the site related to the Hillfort at Black Hill. At the farm we found evidence of a roundhouse, which is 17m in diameter. We think people in the past were either living in this structure or using it for agriculture and it  probably dates from the Iron Age.

During the excavation we also found pottery evidence from the very first farmers from the much earlier Neolithic period, 6000 years ago. This is 4000 years earlier than we had anticipated finding. We discovered that people have farmed the land at Draffan for much longer than we first thought!

The evidence we have found at Draffan adds detail to the story of Lanarkshire’s prehistoric past. Our discoveries help us to understand how people spent their everyday lives in this landscape 6000 years ago.

Everybody on the excavation had a great time working together to investigate the fascinating archaeology we uncovered. In this audio story  Kenneth, who led the group from Phoenix Futures, describes the benefit that the social engagement of working on site has for those who use the  drug and alcohol recovery service. We also hear from those who took part and find out what was particularly interesting for them.

Staff supported the students to design and produced a pop-up exhibition to showcase their work to the local community. Around 80 people came to see artefacts from the excavation and other displays in a local community centre on Saturday 11th August. Residents were invited to get involved to name the dog skeleton discovered on the site as well as to have a go at making their own Neolithic pottery.

Find out more about Northlight’s work with Phoenix Futures here:


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