Lanark and District Archaeological Society (LADAS) is a very active amateur society operating in the Clydesdale area of Scotland. This is an area rich in history. The Society has been involved in excavations on several Prehistoric, Roman and Mediaeval sites throughout the area. The towns in the area, Lanark and Biggar, are both long established market towns which trace their histories to the Middle Ages. The Royal Burgh of Lanark is popularly believed to have been established in 1140 by David I, whilst Biggar became a royal burgh in 1451. Lanark’s most notable role in Scottish history is that it was in Lanark that William Wallace killed the English Sheriff, the catalyst for the Scottish Wars of Independence. Since that time Lanark has been the site of several local industries, most famously the mills at New Lanark, where the social policies of Robert Owen gained international recognition. In 1910 Lanark was the first town in Scotland to play host to an International Air Show, with participants coming from both Europe and the Americas.
For over 30 years LADAS has endeavoured to uncover and record the rich history of the area, through numerous digs and other pursuits. We also have a very active lecture and visit programme, which allows us to appreciate the archaeology and history from throughout the world.
History of the Society
Lanark and District Archaeological Society was founded in 1975. The first dig done by the Society was in the Castlegate carpark in Lanark. The main discoveries included the walls of a seventeenth century building and a Mediaeval bowl furnace. In 1979 the Society was involved in a dig at Lanark Castle with Historic Scotland. In the early eighties there was a dig at Jerviswood which revealed something of the plan of the old tower house built in 1513.
In the eighties the Society did a number of digs in Lanark – most notably at Tescos, where we found a number of early Mediaeval rubbish pits. Other digs which revealed similar things include the site of new buildings opposite the Castlegate Bar and the site of an old knitwear factory at the bottom of Bloomgate. We also dug inside two properties along the Bloomgate, at Daisies Coffee shop we found some Mediaeval tiles and at the other site we found a Mediaeval lock. In the same time period we also dug at the Co-op site in the High Street where we also found a Mediaeval rubbish pit. In the mid nineties we dug inside the chapel of St Nicholas, Lanark where we found the foundations of a set of pillars built in about 1560 when the church was altered.
In 1996 the work of the Society on the excavation and restoration of the Glenochar Bastle House was awarded the Pitt-Rivers Awards at the British Archaeological Awards for the best project by a voluntary body. Members have also made important prehistoric discoveries at Biggar Common, Daer reservoir and along the Lang Whang. A stone circle was discovered near the Wildshaw Burn.
In 1999 the Society undertook its first for three years and revealed some of the foundations of a building thought to be connected to Lanark’s Franciscan Friary, which was founded in the early fourteenth century by King Robert the Bruce.
In early 2007, the Society excavated in the garden of 32 Broomgate, to the south of the Friary. Much of interest was found, especially 17th Century window glass and clay pipes, the most interesting discoveries came from the Mediaeval levels. A considerable amount of pottery was found, the majority was from Scotland, but there were imported wares from England and Europe. Evidence was also found for metalworking, both in iron and bronze; unusually several fragments of glass vessels were also found. The study of these finds is currently ongoing.