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Earthwork (Period Unassigned), Coin (Roman)

Site Name Cadzow

Classification Earthwork (Period Unassigned), Coin (Roman)

Alternative Name(s) Hamilton High Parks; High Parks Farm

Canmore ID 45727

Site Number NS75SW 10

NGR NS 7343 5347

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council South Lanarkshire
  • Parish Hamilton (South Lanarkshire)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Hamilton
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Archaeology Notes

NS75SW 10 7343 5347.

(NS 7343 5347) Fort (NR)

OS 1:10000 map (1978)

This small fort, mutilated by a modern boundary bank and track which cuts through it in two places, is situated on a promtonory overlooking steep natural slopes that fall as much as 23m to the Avon Water on the E and to an unnamed tributary on the N. It is heart-shaped on plan with maximum internal measurements of 32.0m N-S by 50.0m E-W. The defences comprise a ditch with outer bank and very faint traces of a rampart. They are best preserved on the SW, across the neck of the promontory; because of steep natural slopes they were evidently considered unnecessary to the N. There is no trace of an entrance (OS 6" map annotated by O G S Crawford, 19 May 1939).

Surveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 11 May 1959

This earthwork is roughly D-shaped on plan, measuring about 48m internally along the chord by a maximum of 40m transversely. It appears to have consisted of two banks and a medial ditch, but a field boundary and track of comparatively recent date have severely damaged the earlier structures, and any bank that may originally have existed on the inner edge of the ditch has been completely levelled. The ditch and outer bank are best preserved on the SW where they run across the neck of the promontory, the ditch measuring 2.4m in depth and up to 9m in width and the bank standing up to 2.1m in height. Elsewhere, however, the ditch is virtually the only feature that survives, and there is no indication that either the banks or the ditch ever continued along the N side. The entrance probably lay somewhere within the wide gap on the WNW.

RCAHMS 1978, visited 1975

'A single trial trench in the SW corner disclosed a U-shaped ditch 1m deep. To the N was a low bank approximately 4.5m wide composed of a mixture of compact sand and clay. The northern edge of this was marked by a line of small stones set on edge. To the S was a 5m wide bank composed of soil and clay and covered by a scatter ing of stones. There was no evidence of any postholes nor any small finds.'

M Wallace and E Talbot 1983.

In 1986 a trench 5m by 5m was opened on top of the earthwork parallel to that opened by Wallace. Only a modern horseshoe and a piece of iron have been found. A number of features have been recorded. The larger holes are probably for a palisade and the smaller holes stake holes either for a pen or temporary shelter. Work is still in progress on this site.

E Archer 1986.

Work has continued on the earthwork. Most of the putative stakeholes disappeared after scraping except for one near the edge of the western edge of the trench. It is possible that this could be a post hole and could be part of a palisade. The orange brown subsoil was stripped away in this part of the trench to reveal a pink hard packed clay. This clay could have been imported to build the earth work.

In the NE part of the trench some walling was revealed. This was not cemented but earth bonded. The exact nature of the purpose of the wall is as yet unknown. Also nothing is known about the date of the earth work as no datable artifacts have been found.

E Archer 1987.

Further excavation work took place in 1989. During the work a silver denarius of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius was found. It is difficult to come to any firm conclusions about the use of the earthwork as the only other find was an iron object as yet unidentified. Some stone foundations were discovered, but no firm conclusion has been reached about there purpose apart from those near the lip of the earthwork, which seem to be the foundations of a rampart. There also appears to be a post-hole located near the NW corner of the trench, likely to be part of a palisade.

Sponsors: Lanark and District Archaeological Society.

E Archer and B Henderson 1989.

Scheduled as 'Hamilton High Parks, earthwork... the reamins of a small enclosure, possibly a promontory fort...'

[Name also cited as High Parks Farm].

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 26 February 2003.


Field Visit (7 June 1955)

Notebook, p16-17.

Note (9 July 2014 - 23 May 2016)

This small fortification stands on a promontory formed between Avon Water gorge on the E and the gully of a minor tributary on the N. Roughly triangular on plan, it measures a maximum of 48m from E to W by 40m transversely (0.09ha) within a heavily reduced earthwork that comprised twin banks with a medial ditch up to 9m in breadth where it cuts across the neck of the promontory on the SW. Unusually for a promontory enclosure, the defences also turn back on the E along the escarpment above the Avon Water. The entrance was probably on the N margin of the promontory, where a modern track and a field-bank ride up into the interior, traversing round the lip of the promontory and departing on the S. The interior is otherwise featureless. A section cut in 1983 across the defences at the southern angle revealed a bank some 4.5m in thickness on the inner lip of the ditch, with probable packing for timberwork marking its rear edge; the ditch was about 1m deep, and the outer bank 5m in thickness (Wallace and Talbot 1983). Other cut features were noted in subsequent excavations in the interior in 1986-7 and 1989 (Archer 1986; 1987; Archer and Henderson 1989). A silver denarius of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180) was found in 1989.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 23 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC1158

Field Visit

The Cadzow Earthwork is as described by the RCHAMS in 1978, however there is a severe risk of erosion from vandalism and human activity (tyre marks visible in mud), especially on its western side and along the path which cuts across the site on its eastern side.

Information from the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (Northlight Heritage), 2017


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