Monday, 28 January 2008

Exploration of Renfrewshire's Medieval history

Lectures and field trips explore Renfrewshire's history

19 January 2008
Paisley Daily Express

BUDDIES who really 'dig' heritage are invited to join Paisley's very own Time Team and make their own little piece of history. Top archaeologist Stephen Clancy is organising a series of lectures and field trips to explore the history of Renfrewshire.

And, just like the heritage hunters of the popular Time Team television series, the local historians will get their archaeological hats on to find out why a Celtic Iron Age community built an enclosure near the site of what is now Braehead Shopping Centre. They will also investigate why monks from Shropshire in the English Midlands were involved in the construction of historic Paisley Abbey.

And the outdoor trips will enable them to get a hands-on understanding of medieval agricultural communities who lived in the hills above Paisley and whose archaeological legacies can still be seen today in the form of drystone walls, ruined farm steadings and sheep enclosures.

"We shall be looking at the history and archaeology of Renfrewshire through the centuries-long development of its landscapes," said professional archaeologist Mr Clancy, who is a former pupil of Paisley's Castlehead High School and has worked at major archaeological projects across Scotland. "The course, which lasts 12 weeks and includes classroom teaching as well as three field trips, takes place at the main Paisley campus of the University of the West of Scotland, where I am a tutor. Renfrewshire is rich in archaeological sites dating from prehistoric times and the course will provide a fascinating opportunity for local people to find out more about the heritage of Paisley and the surrounding towns and villages. There is so much to learn and those who go along will be amazed - and delighted - to discover how much history and heritage there is all around them. Lectures start on Saturday, February 2, and last from 10am till noon, with the field trips also going ahead on Saturdays."

Mr Clancy, who works jointly for two firms based in Edinburgh and London, is at present exploring archaeological sites on the route of the M74 motorway on the outskirts of Glasgow. Previously, he helped to excavate 18th and 19th century skeletons in Kilbarchan West Church burial ground following the collapse of a boundary wall. He also dated architectural foundations at the former Craigends estate, near Linwood.

The cost of the course - A Practical Introduction to Renfrewshire Local History, Archaeology and Heritage - is £25, although some students may be entitled to concessions under the university's Winning Women and Motivated Men project. Ring the university's Centre for Lifelong Learning on 0141 848 3193, quoting reference number COMB 1008, for further information. Alternatively, visit the website at

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