Following on from fieldwork conducted in June of this year, a second phase of evaluation has been conducted at Greenan, Ayr, by AOC Archaeology Group. As was reported on this website on the 21st of July,the original evaluation revealed two pits of probable Neolithic date, in association with a linear feature. A further two isolated pit features were also recorded, one of which was a probable fire pit, while a total of 280 lithics were retrieved from the evaluation trench spoil. A second phase of evaluation took place in September of this year with the aim of providing further information on the location and extent of archaeological deposits within the site. This secondary phase comprised additional linear evaluation trenching with the removal of topsoil from five areas of the site where archaeology had been identified during the initial work. This secondary evaluation revealed isolated pits and linear/curvilinear features of probable prehistoric date, while a further quantity of lithics was also recovered.
As with the material identified during the initial evaluation, the features identified in the most recent fieldwork were both poorly preserved and widely dispersed. As previously suggested, these features may represent the ephemeral remains of former campsites or less formal structures. The artefacts recovered from pit features during the initial evaluation suggested a Neolithic date, reinforced by the recovery of the Neolithic polished stone axe during the field-walking programme previously undertaken over the site in 2001. However, the lithic material recovered from the walking of the trenches appears on initial observations to be Mesolithic in date with many of the artefacts suggestive of a typical narrow blade industry. There appears to be little concordance with between the density of unstratified lithics recovered from individual trench and the presence of underlying parent features. The explanations for this phenomenon may be because many features which may once have existed have now been ploughed out, or because the flints have shifted during soil movement. It is also possible that the nature of the prehistoric activity from which the flint scatters derive were of a particularly transient nature which failed to leave an impact on the subsoil surface (perhaps only the intermittent and very short-term flint knapping episodes over a period of probably millennia)
The features and associated artefactual assemblage found by these supplementary evaluation works confirm prehistoric activity within the development area, and as a result, further fieldwork will be required in advance of development on the site.