Discover M74 Archaeological Sites

M74 Dig Locations

Which sites have been excavated?
Between Summer 2007 and Spring 2008, seven archaeological sites were excavated on the south side of Glasgow in what was once Glasgow and South Lanarkshire’s industrial heartland. These sites include examples of 19th century domestic and industrial buildings, and evidence for early transportation and infrastructure. They typify early industrial Glasgow, and investigated as a group, have great potential to aid our understanding of the recent historic past of the city. This enables us to gain a more comprehensive view of the history of Glasgow in the 19th century, where industry shaped domestic life and led to the development of the city we know today.

The three largest sites investigated are:

  • Govan Iron Works (Dixons Blazes) off Cathcart Road, previously occupied the site known as Dixons Blazes Industrial Estate. William Dixon’s mid-19th century iron foundry and Lower English Buildings worker’s housing reveal evidence of casting pits, railways and washhouses. See it on the map
  • Pollokshaws Road Tenements a group of buried tenement buildings. Excavation has revealed a fascinating insight into a once thriving and crowded area of occupation off Pollokshaws Road, dating back to the early 19th century. The changing fortunes of the neighbourhood and its inhabitants are brought to life through the archaeological remains and oral history accounts. See it on the map
  • Caledonian Pottery, Rutherglen on Farmeloan Road in Rutherglen. Excavation unearthed industrialised pottery production on a massive scale. The Caledonian Pottery was in operation for approximately 55 years at its site in Rutherglen, and at its height was producing thousands of objects per day. Some extremely interesting finds have been recovered from this site. See it on the map

Smaller sites investigated around the Tradeston and Port Eglinton area include:
  • Kinning Street Engine Works and Kingston Biscuit Factory off Kinning Street. This site was one of the first in this part of rural Renfrewshire (now in Glasgow City) to be occupied by a small-scale foundry and engine works. The site was later re-developed as a biscuit factory in business for 50 years. See it on the map
  • Kingston Lime Works and Kinning Street Tenements. This area was open fields with cottages and the Kinning Burn, until taken over for industrial uses in the late 19th century. We have found the bases of two limekilns and evidence of brass founding.
  • Caledonia Foundry and Scotland Street Engine Works on the corner of Scotland Street and West Street. Caledonian Foundry operated on this site from 1835 to 1879, and examples of early iron founding have been recorded. The site was taken over by Scotland Street Engine Works from the 1880s, which produced machinery mainly used in sugar manufacture. See it on the map
  • Falfield Mill. This is an early example of a cotton mill which was constructed next to Port Eglinton in the 1820s. The mill owner’s house and a soap works have also been excavated. See it on the map
Why excavate?
The purpose of the M74 Dig was to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the construction of the road to unearth some of the history of Glasgow and its surrounding areas and to make sure that no archaeological remains are damaged or cleared without a proper record having been made.

Who excavates?
The unearthing and recording of the sites was carried out by HAPCA, a Joint Venture between Headland Archaeology and Pre-Construct Archaeology, before the construction of the road which is due to begin in 2008.