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Prehistoric

We know little about the way of life of the various prehistoric peoples who lived in this area, and what we do know derives mainly from burial sites.
Stone-Age Man.

There are a few remains of Stone Age people. On the Kilpatrick Hills, for example, there are two chambered cairns marking the spot of Stone Age burials. These were large tombs with plenty of room for the remains and the belongings of the deceased.

There are similar tombs in other parts of the country. Their height above sea level may indicate that those people preferred high ground away from swampy, marshy river valleys.

The Bronze Age people, by contrast, buried their dead in cists - coffins made from stone slabs. Discoveries of these have been made at Gavinburn, at a site near Balloch and at Dillichip, Bonhill. Later Bronze Age people introduced cremation, and cinerary urns containing ashes were found near Drumry Road, Clydebank, during the construction of the boulevard in the 1930s.

Cup and Ring Markings at Cochno.

The mysterious cup-and-ring markings on stones at Greenlands above Milton, Old Kilpatrick, and those to the north of the Faifley Housing estate, date from about the same period (ca 1,000 B.C.). The purpose and meaning of the carved symbols has never been satisfactorily explained.

With the Iron Age came the building of forts, possibly indicating more warlike peoples and more tempestuous times for the inhabitants of this area. Examples of these forts are: Sheep Hill near Bowling, and Dumbuie near Dumbarton. There was also a fortified enclosure on Carman Hill above Renton. Its period and function have still to be properly identified.

Some Iron Age people lived in crannogs. There is some evidence of such river pile-dwellings in the Clyde near Dumbuck. Remains of dug-out canoes from this period have been found in this area, preserved in the mud.

Another site of uncertain date and significance is The Hill of the Standing Stanes, near Pappert Hill in the Vale of Leven. As in the case of the much larger, famous Stonehenge, the site probably had religious purposes that varied with the passing centuries.