As was reported previously on the WoSAS news page, evaluation trenching conducted by Dr Clare Ellis of Argyll Archaeology at Glenshellach, Oban, revealed evidence for two phases of occupation. Following on from this initial evaluation, which took place in July 2010, a second phase of work was carried out in October. This comprised the removal of topsoil under archaeological supervision from the section of site where significant archaeological material had been found to be present, followed by the excavation of features revealed by this process.
During this second phase of fieldwork, a spread of dark grey silty sand with charcoal and around 75% angular burnt stone fragments was identified. This feature formed a semi-circle in plan adjacent to an existing burn. A fire, presumably the source of the dumped angular stone and ash deposits, was located at the top, on the western edge of this depression. Deposits excaavted from this feature suggested that it could represent the remains of a much-truncated burnt mound, though if this is the case, no trace of the mound survived. Despite the whole of the excavation area being covered by at least 0.75 m of colluvium, there were plough marks within the upper deposits, and it therefore appears that this whole area was subject to intensive cultivation at some period, a process that may have had the effect of flattening out any upstanding mound.
On the northern edge of the spread of material associated with the potential burnt mound was a large pit or posthole, some 0.80 m in diameter and 0.70 m deep with two large packing stones contained within the re-deposited colluvial fill. To the north of this was a much small possible posthole some 0.14 m deep and filled with a brown silt. Beyond this was a large oval pit, 2.10 m long and 1.40 m wide. The pit had been lined with stones and re-deposited silty colluvium prior to be backfilled with black silt/charcoal and many burnt, angular fragments of stone. No in situ burning was evident in the pit, but it seems likely that the content of the pit may have been derived from a fire located immediately on its western end, identified as a spread of charcoal, below which the natural colluvium had been scorched and turned pinkish red. Perhaps this represents the remains of a large cooking pit which prior to backfilling was lined with skins, filled with water and into which the heated stones were placed. No finds were recovered from this pit or from the associated spreads, though the masking and burial of the site by over 0.75 m of colluvium, the clear evidence for ploughing prior to this accumulation, and the complete absence of any ceramic sherds from the overburden indicates that the features are likely to be prehistoric in date.
Elsewhere on the site, away from the features described above, a shallow scoop was excavated. It measured 0.60 m x 0. 58 m and contained an ashy deposit located on top of a stone setting; there was no ash below the stones. This feature appears likely to represent a cooking pit or hearth. No associated features were observed, but the pit was covered by roughly 0.50 m of colluvium and is also therefore likely to prehistoric in date. To the east of this was an oval shallow feature, some 0.36 m x 0.26 m and 0.07 m deep. A shallow pit was also recorded in the southern portion of the stripped area. Its fill contained ash and a couple of 19th century ceramic sherds, and is interpreted as likely to be of relatively modern date, probably associated with the activities of the farmstead located to the east.