Diggers at trench 8
While on a chance visit to Weston Farm [NT 04 47] in 1997, the writer learned of a field that had been ploughed for the first time. A few minutes searching turned up a chert leaf arrowhead, a piece of pitchstone and a sherd of Early Neolithic pottery.
The following weekend, a full-scale fieldwalking exercise was carried out by the Group with the assistance of members of the Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society and the results reported in Discovery and Excavation in Scotland (DES)for 1998,p. 90. Further fieldwalking was carried out in 1999 (DES, p.83) and 2000 (DES, p.85). The outcome has been sensational, to say the least, with large numbers of finds, ranging in date from the Mesolithic period to the Bronze Age.
The field walking in 1997 identified several locations where early Neolithic pottery was concentrated. Two of these were excavated, producing many more sherds but unfortunately no features were found. This area is fairly typical in that Early Neolithic pottery occurs in association with pitchstone and flakes from Type VI Langdale Pike axes.
Trench 1 looking north, showing features appearing.
The abundant finds included rather attractive arrowheads, a fine stone axe and an unusual rock crystal, with opposing partial perforations and a much abraded end, suspected of being made into a pendant. A saddle quern and its rubbing stone were found in an inverted position alongside a Mesolithic chert scatter.
A range of the Microliths found at Weston
Further excavations were carried out in 2003 and 2004 where concentrations of finds suggested the possible presence of habitation sites.
In the course of the project as a whole, many thousands of lithic fragments were recovered, including more than 400 microliths. The bulk of the material consists of the local Radiolarian Chert but there are significant numbers of flint items. Pottery sherds of various dates, charcoal and carbonised hazelnut shells were also found.
As is the case with many of BAG’s pre-historic projects, the work cannot be brought to completion because professional analysis of the finds has not yet been carried out. In the meantime, the vast collection of lithic meterials collected in the lands of Weston Farm is catalogued and safely stored at Biggar Museums.
Note: The archaeological potential of Weston Farm has been known for some time. A stone axehead in the collection of the late Mr Wilson was donated to the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS) in 1962 by W Wilson, Leven. [Ref. 'Donations to and purchases for the Museum and Library', Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot. (1964), vol.95, 311, no.8].
Also, fieldwalking by Mr R S Murray, in 1979, produced a ‘Leaf-shaped arrowhead found (NT 0293 4592)’ and ‘a collection of chert cores and numerous flakes and blades’ donated to the National Museum in 1981. [Ref. 'Donations to and purchases for the Museum and Library', Proc. Soc. Antiq. Scot. (1981), vol.110, 539, no.1].
However, in general these finds were poorly located and no significant concentrations were reported.
Weston Interim Report
- Weston Farm Excavations - Interim Report | Dec 2005 | 2.9MB - Information on further excavations at Weston Farm, revealing an extensive area of Mesolithic activity, involving the production of chert and flint microliths.