Lost medieval village discovered next to motorway in north Lanarkshire
A lost medieval village is discovered next to the motorway in North Lanarkshire with a treasure trove of ‘remarkable’ possessions, including an ancient iron DAGGER left behind to protect buildings from ‘magical’ damage
- The settlement was discovered near the Bothwell Bridge, the scene of a 1679 battle
- Archaeologists have found traces of four buildings from the 14th to the 17th century
- A whorl for weaving, a whetstone for sharpening tools, two 17th century coins and an ancient iron dagger were also found at the site.
Remains of a lost medieval village have been discovered next to a highway, with an ancient dagger found buried under one of the abandoned buildings.
One report found traces of four buildings, which date from the 14th to the 17th century, at Netherton Cross near Bothwell, North Lanarkshire, next to the hard shoulder of the M74.
A series of ‘remarkable’ finds were made at the site, including a spindle for weaving, a whetstone for sharpening tools, two 17th century coins and an ancient iron dagger.
The dagger could date back to the Iron Age and was reportedly left as part of a ritual to protect the building and its inhabitants from “ magical ” damage.
Remains of a lost medieval village have been discovered next to a highway with an ancient dagger found buried under one of the abandoned buildings
What happened to the village of Netherton?
The village of Netherton was washed away in the 18th century by improvements to the estate by the Dukes of Hamilton, transforming the site into a tidy, symmetrical park with wide avenues and enclosures.
And then later came the highway, which encompassed most of the village; the four stone structures encountered during the excavations represent the last vestiges of this lost village.
The practice of leaving special items in medieval and post-medieval buildings is well documented and it was believed that such a ritual would protect the building and its inhabitants.
Dr Natasha Ferguson, GUARD Archeology, one of the report’s co-authors, said: ‘The special or talismanic qualities of this dagger as a protective object may have enhanced the ritual act to protect the house from material and magical damage.
“The deposit of these objects below the foundation level of one of the houses may have been intended to assert this space as a place of safety for them and for generations to come.
“The potential antiquity of the dagger as a prehistoric object may have lent it a quality of otherness.
“ The reuse of prehistoric objects as depositions in medieval settings has been recorded during excavations of medieval churches in England, and flint arrowheads were traditionally identified as ‘elf bolts’ and long recognized for their malicious magical properties. ”
Dr Gemma Cruickshanks, of the National Museums of Scotland, said it appeared the dagger was covered in a sheath at the time of her burial.
A report found traces of four buildings, which date from the 14th to the 17th century, at Netherton Cross near Bothwell, North Lanarkshire, next to the hard shoulder of the M74 (artist’s impression)
A site map shows how the four buildings, dating from the 14th to the 17th century, were discovered just off the M74 motorway
She added: ‘It was probably intact and still usable at the time.
“The shape of this dagger is indistinguishable from the Iron Age examples, indicating that this simple dagger shape has a very long history.
Archaeological work, which was funded by Transport Scotland, found evidence of iron smelting, flower refining and probable forging, as well as a selection of nails.
Dr Gemma Cruickshanks, National Museums of Scotland, said the dagger appeared to be covered with a sheath at the time of its burial (artist’s print in the photo)
Netherton disappeared in the 18th century thanks to improvements made to the estate by the Duke of Hamilton, with a tidy and symmetrical park built in its place. The highway then swallowed up most of the village with the four stone structures, the last traces of the settlement.
The settlement was near the 10th century Netherton Cross, which is approximately 1 km from Bothwell Bridge, the scene of the 1679 battle that ended the Covenanter Rebellion in Scotland.
Netherton disappeared in the 18th century thanks to improvements made to the estate by the Duke of Hamilton, with a tidy and symmetrical park built in its place.
The motorway then swallowed up most of the village with the four stone structures, the last traces of the settlement.
The report said: “It is very possible that the community was affected by the conflict, either by suffering property damage or by witnessing the route of the Covenanter forces.”
The ‘remarkable’ medieval village and its treasury of goods were discovered at Netherton Cross near Bothwell, North Lanarkshire
The Battle of Bothwell Bridge
After the success against the military in the recent Battle of Drumclog, support for the Conventiclers had grown to six thousand when they met in Hamilton in June 1679.
The differences between the Covenanters, which had weakened them during the 1650s, again created factions among them.
While some argued that their direction should be decided by a General Assembly recognizing established powers, others denounced governing bodies and their “indulgences”.
Meanwhile, with ten thousand men and discipline, the Duke of Monmouth, Earl of Linlithgow and Avenger Graham of Claverhouse assembled by the Clyde Bridge at Bothwell.
On June 22, they attacked the disorganized Covenanters and won easily.
Although deaths on the ground were rare, two hundred were later killed.
Of the fourteen hundred that were captured or returned, two hundred and fifty-eight were wrecked while being transported to the Crown of London.