09/08/2017
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Treasured Remains - exploring historic graveyards

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Four of the most historically significant burial grounds of the Clyde & Avon Valley are to be the focus of a new project which aims to update existing records and tell the stories of each graveyard's place in the history of the area.

Treasured Remains will explore the history of:

  • New Lanark Burial Ground
  • St Patrick’s Churchyard within Dalzell Estate
  • St Michael’s Churchyard at Cambusnethan
  • St Ninian’s Churchyard in Stonehouse

Participants will work with conservation experts from Archaeology Scotland and Kirkyard Consulting to carry out vital research and recording, in order to understand the extent and current condition of the graveyards, update existing records and raise awareness of this rich part of the area’s history and heritage.

Through a programme of workshops, volunteers will assist in creating plans containing the position of the main graveyard features, full records for each gravestone and lichen surveys for each site. In doing so, they will have the opportunity to learn how to use specialist techniques such as geophysics and light techniques.

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The four graveyards

Ewan Bachell, CAVLP Development Officer for Treasured Remains, said: “St Michael’s Churchyard, Cambusnethan, contains 129 gravestones and is notable for its collection of medieval gravestones and five mausolea. St Patrick’s Churchyard, Dalzell Estate, is comprised of over 193 memorials and three elements - St Patrick’s Churchyard, the Hamilton of Dalzell Mausoleum (dated 1798, built using stone from the demolished St Patrick’s Kirk) and a 20th century pet cemetery.

“St Ninian’s Churchyard, Stonehouse, is one of the best collections of the 18th century gravestone carvings in the region, including emblems of mortality, immorality and trade symbols. Made up of 424 gravestones, it contains a ruined gable and bellcote of the former church believed to be of 9th century foundation.”

“Perhaps most unusual is New Lanark Burial Ground, which was established in the late 18th century by the utopian socialists David Dale and Robert Owen, as a non-denominational burial ground for the industrial village. Within this wooded Clyde Valley site, there are 120 headstones and one single ledger stone, all of which are predominantly small, un-inscribed and irregular in form. They are dated up until 1900 and are unusual in the absence of carvings, and, in some cases, inscriptions – only 23 out of 120 are inscribed.”

Treasured Remains workshops

Graveyard Detectives – Join the launch to discover why these burial sites are anything but the usual suspects. Enjoy an illustrated talk, discover death customs from around the world and make your own graveyard inspired artwork, from sugar skulls to strange symbols. Saturday 9 September, New Lanark, 1-4pm 

Uncovering Buried Tombstones – Discover the buried grave stones in St Patrick’s Churchyard by probing for and uncovering the stones. Friday 22 and Saturday 23 September, St Patrick’s Churchyard, Dalzell Estate, 10am-4pm

Tomb Readers: Throwing New Light on Worn Inscriptions with Digital Photography – Learn how to use Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) to take photos capturing a surface’s shape and colour in three dimensions and see the carvings in more detail than has been seen for many years. Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 October, St Michael’s Churchyard, Cambusnethan, 10am-4pm and Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 October, St Patrick’s Churchyard, Dalzell Estate, 10am-4pm

What Lies Beneath? Discovering Graveyard Geophysics – Learn how to use geophysics to identify the hidden heritage that lies below the ground, including tunnels and unmarked graves. Dates TBC November – check the website for details, St Ninian’s Graveyard, Stonehouse, 10am-4pm

Telling Tales: An Introduction to Graveyard Research and Interpretation – Ever wondered where to find out more information about a graveyard? Come on a journey to find out more, to presenting your findings in an engaging waySaturday 9 December, St Ninian’s Graveyard, Stonehouse, 10am-4pm and Saturday 13 January, New Lanark Burial Ground, 10am-4pm

Treasured Remains is managed by Archaeology Scotland in association with Kirkyard Consulting and Spectrum Heritage, and is part of the Heritage Lottery Fund and LEADER supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP).

Images: Using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) in order to see stone carvings in greater detail. Copyright Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership; Join historic graveyard experts on site at New Lanark Burial Ground, St Patrick’s Churchyard within Dalzell Estate, St Michael’s Churchyard at Cambusnethan and St Ninian’s Churchyard in Stonehouse. Copyright Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership.

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