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In grateful memory of our founder member

Tam Ward

Clyde Valley Archaeological Research Framework

10th June 2024

The first CVARF(Clyde Valley Archaeological Research Framework) symposium was held on the 7th and 8th June 2024 in Glasgow. Two NCAS members attended this two-day event of short talks, workshops and walking tours to showcase some of the exciting archaeology of the Clyde Valley region. It was also a place for local groups and societies to have a say in the creation of the highly anticipated Clyde Valley Archaeological Research Framework.

Day 1 was a morning of talks from major bodies in the Scottish archaeological world, centred around the Clyde Valley area. very informative about those working on Antonine wall projects, Glasgow Museums as well as professional bodies such as Historic Environment Scotland, Archaeology Scotland and Guard Archaeology.

A break for lunch, bit of networking - Sandra must have made about 7 contacts for winter talks.
The afternoon us breaking into discussion groups, sharing experiences and looking for ways to move forward with achaeology.

Day 2 we moved from the university to Govan Old church for more talk, this time including one or two groups and their experiences and how they work. A bit of back and forth with questions. a break for lunch and the afternoon was for guided tours, arounf the Govan Church graveyard, including a current archaeology dig and there was also a waterfront walking tour




Spring 2024 Archaeology Scotland magazine

May 12th 2024

The North Clyde Archaeological  Society (NCAS) was formed in 2013  by Tam Ward and the author, formerly  of the Biggar Archaeology Group, and from that time we have run a continuous programme of winter lectures, inviting guest speakers to give talks on a wide variety of archaeological topics. 

Archaeology Scotland magazine



February 24th 2024

On the 24th  February, 2024, members of the North Clyde Archaeological Society were excavating below floor-level in the kitchen of Knockderry Castle. They discovered a small collection of pottery sherds in a void low down in the internal wall. The sherds were all plain white and glazed, and some had stamps on the base which showed them to be ‘Utility’ pottery of World War II. 

Click Here for full article

The following items were identified: 

  • two plates made by Barker Brothers Ltd of Stoke-on-Trent, stamped 1942, 
  • one unidentified plate, 
  • one bowl made by C. W. McNay & Sons (Bridgeness Pottery) of Bo’ness, stamped 1942, 
  • one bowl made by Swinnertons Ltd of Stoke-on-Trent, stamped 1942,  
  • one unidentified cup, stamped 1942. 

February 2024 Update

  • At Knockderry space restricts us to a small digging team under the floor of the kitchen. As we have to work around the renovation of the building how this work will develop is unpredictable. When the time is right survey work of the grounds around the building should be interesting.
  • Two lectures in our current programme are yet to come(See lectures programme).
  • Field recce walks in the near future will take us to Ardentinny and to a complex group of sites in the hills above Shandon.
  • As the weather improves Full day member excursions are planned for Largs and the new Kilmartin Museum.
  • In  the longer term our survey of previous habitation in Glen Fruin is likely to figure large.

Updating October 2021 

We’re back!

After the two bleak years of 2020 and 2021, with cancelled talks and events, hopefully we will get back to some normality in 2022. Our Society, like all others have endured a long setback in cancelled activities but our bond of friendship was not broken during that horrible time. The proof of that was the turnout for our AGM in September when twenty four members arrived at our new accommodation in the Helensburgh Community Hub in 116 East Princess Street. The venue is perfect for our requirements with more space for our lectures, and on the AGM we had numerous quality archaeological books for free issue, but which secured substantial donations to our funds.

Because the new season is already shortened the committee decided on a free year for members in the hope of encouraging some new people, which we have already done. So we are looking forward in confidence to getting a programme up and running in the New Year.

To kickstart that, Tam, re-elected as Chairman, will deliver a talk on 1st December on the work he has spent his ‘lockdown’ on, the survey and limited excavation of the USA Rosneath Base Two on the southern tip of the peninsula.

Forestry operations are expected to start this winter on Rosneath Greenisle Plantation, where the USA made their debut in WW II by building a submarine base, six months before they entered the war. To pre-empt the possibility that much of the extensive camp site would disappear by forestry operations, the work was begun in Jan of 2021 and continued until October that year.

A large report now given here on our web is not the end of the Project, as much research will now be pursued to add more details to this all but forgotten place, easily one of the most important in Scottish military history and one which must never be forgotten. We are now asking anyone who may have knowledge, photographs or maybe even objects from the area to contact us and let us tell even more of this fascinating story about the Americans in Scotland during that conflict.

Also coming soon:

Carole has nearly completed an extensive and comprehensive report on the Millbrae pottery, which will be produced with copious illustrations of the large assemblage from the site. We hope this will be received as a major contribution to 19th century Scottish pottery studies.

The new year will continue with three other lectures:

Feb 2nd. Derek Hamilton on the Loch Tay Crannog Project, (but sadly much destroyed by fire, so an update on progress with that will be looked forward to).

March 2nd. Alasdair and Carole will talk about The Kingdom of Rheged, (a subject which we are sure will be illuminating on the so called dark Ages).

April 6th. Iraia Arabaolaza on the Excavations at Sawmill Field Helensburgh, (a local subject on the recent pre-historic discoveries near Helensburgh Academy).

After that date we hope to announce a series of summer excursions to get fully back on track.

Further fieldwork is also in the pipeline for those who like to get out into the wilds of NCAS territory, in the meantime we hope you will find the Base Two Report of some interest and we look forward to hearing from anyone on any subject of relevance to our heritage.

History of NCAS  documents/history-of-ncas.pdf

The Beach - Tam Ward  documents/the-beach-copy.pdf

Mile Markers - Tam Ward   documents/milemarkers.pdf

Recent Outings  Images are compressed for web viewing. High resolution images available on request.





Helensburgh Library NCAS winter display 2016/17.


The impressive Pictish Stones at Meigle and then on to the Roman fort at Ardoch  with its array of defensive earth work ditches.


Thank you to everyone who came along to see us at Helensburgh and Cove. Lots of interest from plenty of people.




Military recording project underway  

Reports available:

  • Rosneath Cold War Gun Site
  • South Ailey Kilcreggan Anti Aircraft site

Auchendrain  Excursion Saturday 25th June

A great day out.

Come to the lectures or excursions before committing to society membership.

If you have friends that may be interested then bring them along as well.

It's time to start discovering the wide breadth of  archaeology in the Clyde Area.

NCAS was formed in the summer of 2013. Tam Ward and Sandra Kelly from the Biggar Archaeology Group held a series of public meetings in the Victoria Halls Helensburgh to guage public support to form an archaeological group in the area. From this meeting a steering group was formed to plan ideas for a further public meeting. At this public meeting the name was agreed and members of a committee were elected. A first year programme for excursions and lectures was developed and is now as published on this site.
First site visit
First site visit
Ben Bouie visit. Walking the ploughed forestry furrows looking for evidence of the past. This area shows evidence of ancient fire sites and cannel coal.
Kilmartin Excursion
Kilmartin Excursion
The group all congregate around a cairn site in Kilmartin Glen to discuss the wealth of sites. Further information available under excursions.
Lets help to develop Scotlands story from pre history, neolithic, iron age, bronze age and the roman occupations.
Antonine wall
Antonine wall
Group excursion to the remains of the impressive Roman wall defences.
Carman Hill Excursion
Carman Hill Excursion
Trip to Carman hill. Investigating Dark Age or Early Historic age hill fort and hut rings. We then looked at the area used as livestock fair and enclosures before heading back past some bomb craters. Another fabulous day.

Any objects secured will be dealt with under Scottish law of Bona Vacantia and reported to the Treasure Trove Panel.

Area of interest :

Alexandria,  Arrochar, Balloch,  Bowling,  Cardross,  Clynder, Coulport, Cove, Dumbarton,  Finnart, Garelochhead , Helensburgh, Inverbeg,  Kilcreggan  Luss, Mambeg  Old Portincaple, Kilpatrick,  Rahane, Rhu,  Rosneath,  Shandon, Tarbet, Whistlefield.

Archaeology  of the North Clyde Area

Newly formed friendly group

Enjoying learning about  local archaeology.

Understanding field work engaging in excavation and recording .

Programme of lectures from various guest speakers


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