Staff from AOC Archaeology Group were appointed to undertake a programme of archaeological evaluation at Mossend, West Calder, in advance of development on the site. This work was required as a condition of planning consent due to the presence of a number of recorded features within the development area and in close proximity to its boundaries. Several of these related to the shale industry, the most obvious being the remains of the former miners' village of Mossend, which lies on the eastern boundary of the site, and a section of the former Addiewell and Polbeth Mineral Railway, which ran across its northern end. These features were depicted on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map of the mid 19th century, as was a single building annotated as 'Clovenfordsdykes', which lay within the centre of the plot. Although this structure remained in place well into the 20th century, Roy's Military Survey of Scotland, conducted in the period 1747-55,showed the presence of a settlement called 'Cafarske' in approximately the same position as the later Clovenfordsdykes, suggesting that occupation of the farmstead may have extended back to at least the mid 18th century, and was therefore likely to pre-date the period of widespread agricultural improvement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Initial evaluation trenching confirmed the presence of significant archaeological features in the vicinity of the former farmstead, and as a result, a larger area surrounding these remains was stripped. This allowed a more comprehensive picture to emerge of the structural remains present on the site. Many of these were associated with the farmstead or farm building known as Clovensfordsdykes depicted on the 1st edition, and the truncated remains included a cobbled yard and associated well, drainage ditches or dykes which would have been open during the occupation of the steading and probably related to its name. The steading itself had been removed by the current farmer during the 1970's, but remains of an associated byre or ancillary farm building not shown on any of the available OS maps were also identified and recorded. In addition to numerous sherds of Victorian ceramics, several sherds of Medieval/Early post medieval Scottish reduced ware were also recovered from relatively secure contexts associated with this latter structure, suggesting the presence of an earlier phase of habitation. This is likely to relate to the 'Cafarske' settlement identified on the Roy map of 1747-1755. This may well push the occupation of the site back into the 17th century.