Researchers discovered the remains of two castles in Glasgow during a £250 million (over $354 million) Scottish Water project that will upgrade the wastewater infrastructure of the city. The discoveries include a castle that was used by bishops in the 12th or 13th century and the Partick Castle.
The uncovered remnants include various stone walls and ditches. The discovery is considered as one of the most important archaeological finds in Glasgow "for a generation." Guard Archaeology conducted the onsite archaeological work on behalf of Scottish Water.
The 17th-century Partick Castle was once thought to have been lost. Past documentary evidence said it might have stood on the site of a previous castle that was used by bishops during Partick's rural years. Experts now say that the recent discovery is "the first hard, tangible evidence" that both the earlier castle and Partick Castle actually existed.
The discovery was made during the preparations for the installation of the city's combined sewer overflow (CSO). According to West of Scotland Archaeology Service's Hugh McBrien, people already knew about the existence of a 17th-century castle or a tower house. However, all they had before were documents and antiquarian drawings that depicted the existence of the Partick Castle.
"The survival of these medieval remains is especially remarkable given that the site, not unlike many industrial river banks across Britain, has witnessed such large-scale destructive development over the centuries," said Guard Archaeology project manager Warren Bailie, who stressed on the national significance of the findings made during Scottish Water's work.
The castles and artifacts have lain quietly underneath what was once an industrial laundry, an engine works facility, the old Partick Central Railway Station, a foundry and a metal scrapyard. The recovered artifacts included some metalwork, animal bones, glass, leather and pottery fragments.
"The history of the area in this part of Partick, where Scottish Water needs to replace our existing CSO, is documented on old maps but it is only when the ground is opened up that you can fully understand what has survived 19th-century industrialization," said Scottish Water's environmental advisor Simon Brassey.
Scottish Water said that the discoveries were much more thrilling than what they expected. With the help of the archaeologists, they are glad to be part of the discovery of something with a national significance.
The discoveries in Glasgow follow another recent discovery, this time in East Yorkshire in England, where builders came upon the remnants of a village dating back to the Iron Age while preparing a site for a housing project.