GUARD Archaeology Limited were commissioned to undertake a strip, map and sample excavation of an area proposed for construction of an attenuation pond associated with the development of warehouse construction at the Curragh, by Girvan, for William Grant & Sons Distillers. Archaeological work conducted in relation to previous phases of work at the distillery site has indicated that the area has a high potential to produce significant material associated with prehistoric settlement, and this was confirmed by the latest stage of fieldwork, which revealed around 60 post and pit features, with at least two possible structures and what appeared to be a curvilinear enclosure feature.
Subsequent stripping revealed further features including a roundhouse structure situated internally within the enclosure, and what appeared to be three distinct linear stone features which postdate the enclosure, along with further pit and posthole features. Altogether around 85 individual features were investigated across the site.
Several phases of activity could be identified within the material recovered from the Curragh. The recovery of sherds of what appears to be early Neolithic pottery and lithics, together with a complete ovoid macehead, would seem to support the view that this landscape was occupied during early prehistory. The presence of the palisaded enclosure represents what is probably the main phase of occupation. The exact date of this occupation is unclear given that relatively little material culture was recovered, but a single sherd of pottery from within the enclosure fill suggests a later prehistoric dating for the enclosure and possibly the remains of the roundhouse within it. In morphological terms, the grouping of palisade and roundhouse suggests a relatively domestic use to the settlement, but it is worth noting that the palisaded nature of the site would have been quite visible in the landscape, and the large and unusual framing to the entranceway at the south-west corner of the roundhouse created a chanelled sight line from within this structure through the entranceway of the enclosure towards the distinctive form of Ailsa Craig to the south-west (though this is no longer visible from the site due to a disused railway embankment). Post-excavation analysis of the samples recovered from the palisade and structure, combined with the artefacts recovered should cast light on the precise dating of this putative late prehistoric farmstead