People and their monuments in the Upper Clyde Valley: a programme of survey, field walking and trial excavation in the environs of the Blackshouse Burn Neolithic enclosure, South Lanarkshire, 1989–99

Authors: Mike Donnelly, Chris Barrowman, Jerry Hamer, Olivia Lelong and Lorna Sharpe

Contributors: Torben Bjarke Ballin, Caitlin Evans and John Arthur

Summary: This report sets out the results of a programme of topographic survey, geophysical survey, field walking and trial excavation, carried out in 1998–99 and funded by Historic Scotland, in and around an extensive upland prehistoric landscape in the Upper Clyde Valley. It was designed to build on the results of limited excavation of a large, late Neolithic enclosure at Blackshouse Burn, South Lanarkshire (NGR: NS 9528 4046) and preliminary survey of nearby monuments undertaken in the 1980s, and to identify and characterize prehistoric settlement in the adjacent valleys through field walking. Topographic survey of the enclosures at Blackshouse Burn, Meadowflatts and Chester Hill, and of hut circles, clearance cairns and a possible ring cairn on Cairngryffe and Swaites Hills, recorded a complex ritual and domestic landscape: evidence of the longstanding prehistoric occupation of the Pettinain Uplands. The geophysical survey of Chester Hill enclosure found traces of internal structures and quarry scoop, while geophysical survey of part of the large Blackshouse Burn monument and smaller adjacent enclosure found evidence for a curvilinear feature in the large enclosure and a possible screen in its entrance. The systematic examination of ploughed fields in the valleys to the west and south-west of the upland monument complex discovered several concentrations of lithics, most notably evidence of late Mesolithic tool production and late Neolithic to early Bronze Age tool production and domestic activity. Trial trenches excavated over a late Mesolithic cluster at Carmichael found a knapping floor and several structural features.

Keywords: Floor, Enclosures, Geophysical Survey, Cairns, Enclosure, Ritual, Settlement, Topographic Survey , Geophysical Survey

Periods: Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Prehistoric

Location: South Lanarkshire, Scotland, UK

Published: 01-01-2005