Recent excavation, undertaken by Dr Clare Ellis of Argyll Archaeology in advance of the construction of Dunstaffnage Marine Science Park, has revealed and interesting and varied suite of features. This work was required as a condition of planning consent by Argyll and Bute Council on the advice of the West of Scotland Archaeology Service.
All the features are located on a slightly elevated fluvio-glacial terrace that over looks the two bays that fringe Dunstaffnage. These include an infant crouched inhumation, a probable adult inhumation of which only the metallic artefacts survive, a possible cremation burial and numerous other large but severely truncated pits, many of which are packed with fire cracked cobbles, pebbles and charcoal.
A line of pits rich in charcoal neatly follows a change in the unconsolidated sediment from hard gravel to soft gravel with an inwashed (eroded) silt loam matrix; it is probable that these pits were originally located along the boundary between dry and boggy ground. An infant crouched inhumation had been placed at the end of the linear alignment of pits. The infant had been placed in an oval pit which had been carefully lined with elongated glacial and beach cobbles; barnacles shells were still attached to the underside of one of the capping stones. Unfortunately the state of preservation of the bone is poor and fragmentary, although the teeth appear to have survived in fair condition.
A number of iron fragments, possible an iron bangle, dagger and other heavily corroded objects, as well as a delicate bronze clasp (?) were recovered from a large oval pit, a remarkable assemblage considering the pit survived to roughly 0.30 m depth. It is postulated that this pit contained an adult crouched inhumation, although no bone survives. An adjacent pit revealed a large flint scraper that had been deliberately thrust upright into the primary silty sand deposit prior to backfilling.
A linear alignment of postholes was also been excavated and the gully into which these occur produced a significant amount of daub fragments. A second suite of pits and postholes is currently being excavated. A small broken fragment of a flint blade was recovered during the cleaning of this area prior to excavation.