2.3 Preservation

During the watching brief, the only features found to be preserved had been cut into the subsoil. It was therefore quite unexpected to find preserved sediments at the interface between the subsoil and the topsoil. This was obviously helped by the fact that the topsoil was removed by hand in the area of the site after the discovery of F41, but there was no indication of similar artefact concentrations in the topsoil elsewhere. The occupation layer F46 had been cut into by the plough, but it seemed largely intact as there was a clear colour distinction between it and the overlying topsoil. The reason why this occupation layer had survived may be due to its location. The site was situated in a slight hollow set back from the cliff-edge. It is likely that hill-wash from the gentle slopes to the west has deepened the topsoil in the hollow and thus protected the mesolithic deposits from the reach of the plough. The hollow was therefore responsible for the preservation of the site, but it was only shallow and so it is unlikely that similar cut features could have been missed elsewhere.

As the entire area to the north-east of the site was stripped of topsoil, it is clear that there were no remains of any further sites inland or along the cliff-edge to the north. No pits similar to F41 were found in this area of the golf course. The land to the south was not affected by the development and it was covered by turf, as was a narrow zone along the cliff edge. It was therefore not possible to assess the possibility of further sites by field-walking in this area. But since the density of artefacts tailed out rapidly so that no finds were made away from the discoloured area, F46, it seems that the site was revealed in its entirety.

Based on this evidence, the site would seem to be a small, isolated camp. There was only a small number of pits and post-holes, and, whatever their interpretation, all could be ascribed to a single phase of activity.


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Last updated: Wed Sep 30 1998