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The History Spot

Smeath Hill Homestead

Over the last year members of the Forum have been revisiting a number of archaeological sites in the area. One interesting site was Smeath Hill Homestead. The site (NS 3155 6609) lying to the south of Smeath Hill, was first surveyed by Frank Newall in the nineteen-sixties. 

The remains of a massive circular stone wall, 2.5 metres wide, surround an enclosure, measuring 15 metres in diameter. The stone built walling is intact with two entrance gaps, one on the east of the wall, and the other on the northwest. Since Newall’s survey, the enclosure has become very overgrown. Evidence of interior structures is obliterated by vegetation and only the tops of a few stones remain apparent on the surface. 

However, Newall’s survey gives a detailed interpretation of the structural evidence he found in the interior of the enclosure in the nineteen-sixties. Newall states that the enclosing wall surrounded an internal circular corridor or passageway, which in turn surrounded a large single roundhouse. The corridor was bounded by the enclosing stone wall and the wall of the roundhouse. 

The East entrance gap in the enclosing wall led across the corridor to the entrance to the roundhouse. The wall’s North-West entrance led to the northern section of the corridor which was subdivided into three separate cells. The southern section, also subdivided into three separate cells, was entered from the East gateway.

The remains of numerous Bronze Age roundhouses are to be found in the surrounding landscape, but those enclosed by defensive stone walling are considered to be Iron Age. The site can be accessed from the track leading over the moor from Muirshiel Country Park to Hardridge Farm. The homestead lies some distance to the east of the track. The moorland terrain is boggy underfoot and the site is best visited in dry weather.

© 2017, Helen Calcluth, Renfrewshire Local History Forum

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