Lanarkshire gems in the running for Scottish archaeology title

Hamilton Mausoleum.
Hamilton Mausoleum.

Two Lanarkshire sites are among those vying for votes as part of Dig It! 2017’s year-long celebration of archaeology.

Dig It! 2017 is inviting the public to crown Scotland’s six most spectacular Hidden Gems.

Looking at the dome from the inside of Hamilton Mausoleum.

Looking at the dome from the inside of Hamilton Mausoleum.

Entries include a hill fort with rumoured links to Arthurian legend, Viking-age monuments tucked away in Govan and Hamilton Mausoleum with "Whispering Wa's" and a record-breaking echo.

And I have to admit to a bit of bias here.

Last month I took the tour of Hamilton Mausoleum, with its whispering galleries and its echo, as part of the Clyde and Avon Valleys Festival, and it was stunning.

It was built as a tomb and monument to Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton, nicknamed ‘El Magnifico’. Work began in 1842 - he died before it was completed, and the builders had to work around him while he lay there in state!!! A later Duke allowed coal mining underneath it, and the bodies were moved out as it began to sink!!

But its echo is said to be the longest in Europe.

Dalzell Estate in Motherwell is another of the short-listed gems looking for votes. Highlights there include the Japanese Garden, arboretum, mausoleum, Lord Gavin’s Temple, St Patrick’s Chapel and the Covenanters Oak – thought to the oldest living thing in North Lanarkshire.

From now until the end of July, members of the public can vote for their favourites on Dig It! 2017’s Facebook page through a Hidden Gems album, with one “like” on the site’s photo equalling one vote. The six sites with the most “likes” will be declared Scotland’s best Hidden Gem sites and celebrated with six unique events in September.

Dr Jeff Sanders, Dig It! 2017 Project Manager, said:

“We had such a great time coordinating the World Heritage Day events as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, and we wanted to do something similar for these lesser-known but equally spectacular sites. Since we have six of these iconic World Heritage Sites, we thought it would be fitting to invite the public to pick six Hidden Gem counterparts.”

Once the votes have been tallied, there will be six events to celebrate the six winning sites during Scottish Archaeology Month (SAM) in September.

Dr Doug Rocks-Macqueen, SAM Coordinator at Archaeology Scotland, said: “Scottish Archaeology Month is an annual celebration of history, heritage and archaeology around Scotland in September, and we’re excited to have the Hidden Gems as the marquee events for the 20th anniversary. I can think of no better way to celebrate Scotland's past than highlighting the heritage chosen by popular vote.”

To explore the sites and vote for your favourites, visit http://www.digit2017.com