Project Update – 18/04/21

The First Hampden Project is gearing up for an important week of archaeological activity to coincide with the return of the Scotland men’s football team to their first major tournament this century. Permission has now been now secured to carry out the archaeological work around Hampden Bowling Club, Kingsley Rose Gardens and the Queens Park Recreation Ground, and is now important to share with you some more details about the work that we will be carrying out.

There are three overall aims of the project:

  1. Discover and evaluate the extent to which any archaeological features and artefacts relating to the football ground survive;
  2. Increase health, wellbeing, confidence and skills of participants as well as to increase cross-generational and cross-community learning; and,
  3. Promote, share and celebrate the history and heritage of the First Hampden to the wider public.

Importantly these aims are aligned to the aims of Scotland’s national archaeological and historic environment strategies and frameworks. In particular, those of Our Place in Time: the historic environment strategy for Scotland; Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy; and, research aims laid out in Scotland’s Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF).

The specific archaeological research questions for the First Hampden Project are:

  • Can we identify any evidence for the First Hampden pavilion?
  • Can we identify any evidence of the pitch enclosure?
  • Can we identify any evidence of the ground enclosure?
  • Is there any evidence of the playing surface?
  • Are there any artefacts relating to playing football or spectating?

To answer these questions, we will be carrying out geophysics survey and some small-scale excavation.

Geophysical survey will take place w/c 7th June and will take 2-3 days. The survey of the site of the former stadium and the area immediately surrounding it will be conducted using two different techniques; resistivity and ground penetrating radar. This will be undertaken to define the extent to which the remains of any structural features survive, buried bellow the ground, and if possible, define the outline of the First Hampden Park.

After the geophysics is complete we will be able to accurately position our trenches. We will be opening two trenches from the 7th to the 13th of June. Our first target will be to investigate the remains of the former pavilion, which we think are located in Kingsley Rose Gardens, hopefully finding foundations and building work as well as artefacts relating to playing or watching football.

The second trench will be in the Queens Park Recreation Ground in order to investigate the remains of the ground and pitch enclosures.

A key element to the project, which allows us to deliver the wider aims and objectives of Archaeology Scotland, is participation by volunteers and community groups. We hope to get as many people as possible involved in the project, and in particular we are looking for New Scots, asylum seekers and refuges, to get involved. We will put a call for volunteers out at the beginning of May – watch this space – and you will have a chance to sign up to take part in the project.

There will be lots of ways to take part – not just digging – so don’t worry if you are not able to get into a trench and shift tons of dirt and bricks – there will be opportunities for all those interested to get involved. For example, we will need volunteers to help with artefacts, volunteers to help record the trenches, volunteers to create digital models, amongst other opportunities. We are also planning on running tours of the dig, Covid restrictions allowing, with places that will be able to be booked in advance. Full details of all the different opportunities and ways to get involved will be outlined soon.

Here is an outline of the trenches, which will be dug during the project, as well as an overview of the footprint of the ground itself.

The 1st Hampden Project – Site Drawing

The project forms part of our New Audience Project, funded by Historic Environment Scotland, and delivered by the Adopt-a-Monument team, as part of Archaeology Scotland. Archaeology Scotland is Scotland’s archaeology charity; working to inspire people to discover, explore, care for and enjoy Scotland’s archaeological heritage. Our Adopt-a-Monument (AaM) programme is a Community Archaeology scheme that provides volunteer groups and communities with the practical advice and training they need to care and conserve their local heritage. The project encourages groups to get involved in hands-on activities to improve the condition, accessibility and interpretation of their chosen site.