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Glasgow, Pollok

Earthwork (Period Unassigned), Fort (Iron Age)

Site Name Glasgow, Pollok

Classification Earthwork (Period Unassigned), Fort (Iron Age)

Canmore ID 44294

Site Number NS56SE 33

NGR NS 5566 6263

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/44294

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2017.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Glasgow, City Of
  • Parish Eastwood (City Of Glasgow)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District City Of Glasgow
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NS56SE 33 5566 6263.

(NS 5566 6263) Earthwork (NR)

OS 6" map, (1967)

This earthwork comprises a roughly circular enclosure some 30.0m in diameter, surrounded by a deep moat 9.0m wide, interrupted on the E side by a causeway, 8.0m in width. But for a modern drainage cut, this moat would fill with water. There are traces of inner and outer banks formed by upcast from the ditch. The whole earthwork is densely covered by trees and shrubs.

H Fairhurst and J G Scott 1953; Visited by OS (J L D) 1 April 1954.

Excavations carried out by Glasgow Archaeol Soc in 1959-60 showed that a rougly circular house, 16' in internal diameter, with a well-made, central post socket had stood just S of the centre of the enclosure. Its site had been levelled by removing earth and placing cobbles. An inner foundation kerb of stone was found under the inner bank of the enclosure, and the entrance causeway was paved and kerbed. Finds include three stones with incomplete perforation, two perforated shale discs, and the upper stone of a rotary quern.

Talbot (1973) suggests that this feature, comparable with others in the vicinity (NS46SE 3, NS56SW 4, and NS56SE 32) was a Norman ring-work. (In 1960 it was regarded provisionally as a Dark Age homestead.)

A Johnson 1959; 1960; E J Talbot 1973.

Activities

Field Visit (7 July 1954)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Marginal Land Survey (1950-1962), an unpublished rescue project. Site descriptions, organised by county, are available to view online - see the searchable PDF in 'Digital Items'. These vary from short notes, to lengthy and full descriptions. Contemporary plane-table surveys and inked drawings, where available, can be viewed online in most cases - see 'Digital Images'. The original typecripts, notebooks and drawings can also be viewed in the RCAHMS search room.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 19 July 2013.

Reference (1957)

This site is noted in the ‘List of monuments discovered during the survey of marginal land (1951-5)’ (RCAHMS 1957, xiv-xviii). The 286 monuments were listed by county, parish, classification and name, and the list included an indication of whether they had been planned (P), whether they were visible only as a cropmark (C), and whether they were worthy of preservation (*).

Drawings are catalogued to individual site records. Investigator's notebooks are availiable in the MS collection. Site descriptions are availiable in contemporary RCAHMS inventories, or in three typescript volumes availiable in the library.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 24 October 2012

Excavation (1959 - 1960)

Excavations carried out by Glasgow Archaeol Soc in 1959-60 showed that a rougly circular house, 16' in internal diameter, with a well-made, central post socket had stood just S of the centre of the enclosure. Its site had been levelled by removing earth and placing cobbles. An inner foundation kerb of stone was found under the inner bank of the enclosure, and the entrance causeway was paved and kerbed. Finds include three stones with incomplete perforation, two perforated shale discs, and the upper stone of a rotary quern.

Talbot (1973) suggests that this feature, comparable with others in the vicinity (NS46SE 3, NS56SW 4, and NS56SE 32) was a Norman ring-work. (In 1960 it was regarded provisionally as a Dark Age homestead.)

A Johnson 1959; 1960; E J Talbot 1973.

Excavation (July 2007)

NS 557 627 The site occupies the crest of the elongated hill (a drumlin) occupied by the North Woods and is positioned to have a western prospect looking over the valley of the White Cart. The July 2007 excavations reopened 11 trenches of various sizes from excavations originally undertaken in 1959 and 1960. Several were extended to expose fresh sections and to obtain better profiles of the defences.

The site has been described as a ring-work and tentatively identified as a medieval structure. On the basis of the evidence uncovered and reported here, it is better to consider it as an Iron Age fort, the original interpretation of the 1959/60 excavators.

Trench A (approx 5 x 7m) was central in the hillfort. This trench revealed areas of cobble paving and fragmentary stretches of stone ‘walling’ and a substantial posthole, all of which suggests the presence of one or a sequence of buildings. In addition, a massive pillar of roughly worked sandstone, previously discovered in 1959, was examined. The original excavators posited that this formed a lintel for the entrance of a putative building. The scale of this stone (six people were required to drag it out of the trench) makes this most unlikely. Although the new excavations exposed to a greater extent the structural elements, insufficient was

revealed to allow these structures to be reconstructed. An in situ hearth was discovered, which provided a charcoal sample suitable for dating. Finds included half a cobble with a pecked hollow, possibly a lamp, and another cobble with hollows pecked on both sides.

Trench B (2 x 2m) was adjacent to the rampart on the N side. It exposed the rear of the rampart and a stony, curving linear feature (c0.4m wide) which was also seen in trenches C and D, and which may represent the footing of a roundhouse.

Trench C (1 x 3m) was adjacent to the rampart on the N side about 2m to the E of trench B. It also exposed the rear of the rampart and the curving linear feature seen in trenches B and D, which came within 0.5m of the rear of the rampart.

Trench D (1 x 11m) was adjacent to the rampart on the N side, about 1m to the E of trench C. Here the 1959/60

excavations had dug through the back edge of the rampart and some of the stony feature in trenches B and C. To the S of the linear feature there were no deposits until the S end of the trench (towards the centre of the hillfort) which was extended 1m beyond the 1959 extent. Here there was a posthole and a stony bank.

Trench E (5 x 2m) was also on the N side about 8m to the W of trench D. Within this trench were numerous deposits of tumbled rubble, some of which presumably relate to structures, but no coherent plans were recovered. The back of the rampart was partially excavated.

Trench F examined the rampart bank and external ditch in a trench (1 x 15m) on the NE side of the fort where the preservation was best. The rampart proved to be a simple dump rampart with little sign of structural components such as revetting or timber elements. The ditch showed no sign of ancient recuts or modifications. A modern drain had been excavated in the centre of the ditch but this did not penetrate the primary silts. There was over 1.5m of clayey silts in the base of the ditch, which was waterlogged. Sealed below the rampart were small fragments of charcoal which may provide material for C14 dating.

Trench G (1 x 2m) was towards the entrance on the N side behind the rampart. This revealed a boulder which

apparently served as a curb for the rampart and a well paved surface of large cobbles.

Trench H (2 x 8 m) was excavated across the entrance causeway. Here we extended the 1959 trench to expose the body part of the S rampart and to cut through the N rampart. Both ramparts used boulders as curbs to retain simple earthen dumps. The causeway itself was a finely paved surface made of split boulders and large cobbles approximately 5m wide.

Trenches J and K (1 x 4m and 1 x 1m) were on the line of the road. Both revealed the same well made surface extending off to the E for an indeterminate distance.

Trench K (1 x 1m) exposed the exterior of the bank on the NE exterior. Boulders had also been used here to retain the earthen rampart core.

In summary, the excavations revealed the presence of an impressive paved road starting some 15m or more beyond the hillfort and passing through the ramparts on a well-defined causeway. The interior contains the remains of several buildings with stone foundations set around a cobbled courtyard. Despite the large quantities of stone exposed within the interior it is believed that the buildings were timber, and several postholes were found. Not enough of the interior has been exposed to allow plans of the buildings to be recovered; it is not even possible to say whether the houses were round or rectangular.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Glasgow Archaeology Society

Stephen Discoll and Mark Mitchell (Glasgow Archaeology Society), 2008

References

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