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Cist(S) (Period Unassigned), Cremation(S) (Period Unassigned), Inhumation (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Ferniegair

Classification Cist(S) (Period Unassigned), Cremation(S) (Period Unassigned), Inhumation (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 45739

Site Number NS75SW 7

NGR NS 7396 5401

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. 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 7 c.7396 5401 to c.7385 5381.

(NS 7396 5401) Bronze Age Cist found AD 1936 (NAT)

(NS 7389 5381) Bronze Age Cist & Cremation Burials found AD 1939 (NAT) OS 25" map (1964)

Burials and Cists, Ferniegair (Sites): In 1936 and 1939 a small cemetery was uncovered during sand-quarrying operations in undulating parkland about 500m S of Ferniegair, between Chatelherault and the Hamilton Golf Course at Riccarton. The following account is based upon a reinterpretation of the reported results of the excavation of the site (H G Welfare 1977).

Over a period of about three weeks in April 1936 two inhumation cists and four urned cremations came to light in the following order:

(1) An inhumation cist lay about 1m below the surface and was probably aligned E-W. It measured 0.94m by 0.37m and 0.48m in depth internally and was constructed of four sandstone slabs, with a fifth forming the cover. Within the cist lay the skeleton of a young adult woman and a small flake total of light grey flint. An unworked flake was found outside the SE corner.

(2) A Cordoned Urn, containing a cremation and an archer's bracer (unburnt), stood inverted and was surrounded by four small slabs.

(3) An Encrusted Urn, also inverted over a cremation, stood in a protective setting of four small slabs.

(4) A second inhumation cist lay at a depth of about 1m and approximately 10m away from burials 2 and 3. This cist, which was constructed of thin slabs and aligned roughly NE-SW, probably measured about 1.0m in length and 0.5m in width and depth internally. The contracted inhumation was partially covered by a length of moss fabric and was accompanied by a Food Vessel, which had apparently contained some cereal.

(5) Almost alongside cist 4 an Enlarged Food Vessel containing a cremation stood inverted upon a flat square stone and was protected by four small slabs.

(6) The last of the burials found in 1936, a cremation in a small rusticated Beaker, was apparently discovered some distance away from the previous finds. The excavator, Mr L M Mann, reported that he had found a quantity of stone and some layers of turf covering some, but certainly not all, of these burials. The precise nature of this feature is not known but it does not appear to have been the substructure of a cairn. Late in September 1939 two more cists and an unassociated inhumation or cremation were unearthed at a maximum depth of 1.5m below ground level, roughly 110m SE of the burials found in 1936.

(7) A small cist, which contained an inhumation, a Food Vessel,and possibly some fabric woven from vegetable fibres, is probably the smaller of the two now reconstructed in Hamilton District Museum. It measures internally 0.8m in length, 0.5m in width and 0.5m in depth.

(8) The larger cist consisted of two massive side-slabs, two thin stones forming the ends, and two closely set oblong capstones. Aligned N-S, it contained an adult skeleton. As reconstructed in Hamilton District Museum the cist measures about 1.3m by 0.4m internally and has a depth of 0.3m. An exceptional feature of this cist is the incomplete series of punched designs that decorate both the internal and external faces of one of the side-slabs. Possibly this was originally intended to serve as a free-standing monument before being re-used in the construction of the cist.

(9) The final burial known to have come from this site is recorded simply as 'a cavity containing bones'; although it seems likely that an inhumation is meant, this could possibly refer to a cremation.

A Food Vessel with no recorded associations, now in Hamilton District Museum, is known to have come from the quarry in April 1936, as may have another in Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum. A bronze blade is reported (J M Coles 1966) to have been found with an 'urn' at Chatelherault, and may be associated with this cemetery. The two areas in which the burials were found have been landscaped and returned to pasture. Th finds from cist 1 and burials 2, 3, 5 and 6, together with the moss fabric from cist 4, are in Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum; the remainder are in Hamilton District Museum.


The site of the 1936 discoveries was plotted at NS 7396 5401 on OS 6" by Mr J Barrowman, manager, Ferniegair Sand Quarries. The site of the 1939 discoveries was roughly indicated by Mr J Harrison Maxwell FSA Scot as at NS 7389 5381. The area between the two sites has been entirely excavated.

Visited by OS (JD) 2 September 1953


Archaeological Evaluation (24 July 2012 - 3 August 2012)

Due to the proximity of known Bronze Age burial cists, an archaeological evaluation was carried out by GUARD Archaeology Ltd of an area proposed for development at Allanton. The trial trench evaluation of over 8 % of the 8.7 ha development area encountered two isolated archaeological features comprising a small post-hole and a shallow pit, none of which are deemed archaeological significant. A possible prehistoric flint scraper and a rim sherd of a medieval white gritty jug were also found in topsoil from a separate location within the development area.

Information from Oasis (guardarc1-131959) 23 October 2012


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