Clydesdale Project

This major project evolved from a study of bastle houses into a wide-ranging investigation of the archaeology of Upper Clydesdale. It is subdivided into various topics of which the main ones are The Daer Valley Project, the on-going Bastle Houses Project and the Upland Survey Project.

Bastle Houses and Sheep Buchts

Bastle Houses and Sheep Buchts Coming from zero in terms of knowledge of these sites, we have now recorded bastles or possible bastles, countless sheep milking buchts and numerous shieling...
Clydesdale Surveying

Clydesdale Upland Survey

Clydesdale Survey The upland surveys undertaken by the Group and by the writer in a commercial capacity for pre-aforestation surveys, principally in The Clyde and Tweed Valleys but also in...
Daer Reservoir

Daer Reservoir

Daer Reservoir The Daer Reservoir supplies water to the central belt of Scotland and it was inaugurated by Her Majesty The Queen in 1956. It has never been empty since...

Daer Valley

The Daer Valley was initially visited in the search for bastle house sites, three were discovered; Wintercleuch, Smithwood and Kirkhope. The valley was re-visited for the M74 Project in 1990...

Wildshaw Burn

Wildshaw Burn Stone Circle The monument consists of 23 stones arranged in an almost perfect ellipse. Its long axis, 52m in length, is aligned NNE-SSW; the short axis is 42m...

How it all started

During the course of searching for bastle house sites, the Group were surprised to be discovering un-recorded sites of all periods but most especially for the pre-historic era and in particular for the Bronze Age.

A plan was devised to search and survey the whole of the Upper Clydesdale landscape and this was underway when in 1989 the announcement that the remaining part of A74 road was to be upgraded to a six lane motorway. The most northerly part of this work stretched from Douglas in the north through Crawford Parish and into Dumfriesshire.

We waited for some archaeological response to this development which for the most part traversed completely undeveloped land. When none appeared, we undertook the survey work ourselves and found the expected range of un-recorded sites. However, one new site in particular focused attention on both us and the landscape; that was the Wildshaw Burn Stone Circle (Ward, 1992).

Since most of the survey was already done by us on a voluntary basis, it was decided to extend the survey area away from the direct line of the road corridor and their ancillary works, to allow a better perspective of the landscape. This was a golden opportunity not to be missed by the Biggar archaeologists who continued with renewed vigour and the outcome was that nearly all of the Upper Clydesdale landscape was eventually surveyed. This was published by Biggar Museums as The Upper Clydesdale through the Ages – M74 Project (1992).

GUARD were also commissioned to carry out several excavations on the new route and these produced significant results, nearly all relevant to the Bronze Age, one aspect being to show that Unenclosed Platform Settlements extended in date range for the entire Bronze Age period (Terry, 1995).

There are still a few small peripheral packages of land awaiting inspection and when this has been done we believe that practically all of the visible monuments for this part of Lanarkshire will be finally recorded. Nevertheless we know that there will still be many sites, monuments and finds which will only ever be brought to light by some disturbance of the ground.

Clydesdale project related news

Latest News

Millhill of Wandel Trench 24, looking South. Trench 25 in background

Survey and excavation reports – Millhill of Wandel

From 2019 until 2022 excavations were undertaken at Millhill of Wandel. This came about as a follow-up to observations taken from Wandel Mill and...