Exploring Prehistory in North Ayrshire

AOC undertook archaeological works at Weirston Road, Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, on behalf of Mast Architects  and the Cunningham Housing Association in 2017. These uncovered a complex story of prehistoric settlement activity dating from the Neolithic and late Iron Age. The Iron Age settlement dominated the site, consisting of multiple palisades enclosing multiple ring-groove roundhouses.  While the features on site were primarily Iron Age, the finds assemblage included late Neolithic pottery and late Neolithic/early Bronze Age lithics, demonstrating new evidence for Neolithic activity in the area.

Evidence of Iron Age settlement consisted of two main phases of activity. The early Iron Age activity at Weirston Road (9th-6th centuries BC) was represented by a four-post structure and the remnants of a possible roundhouse. The late Iron Age features (4th-1st centuries BC) were much larger in scale, represented mainly by multiple ring-groove structures, with associated pits and post-holes, enclosed by timber palisades. At least four ring-groove structures were recorded on the site, with additional truncated structures possibly represented by ephemeral curvilinears.

Complex features at Kilwinning

Three of these structures were built with an outer ring-groove, with breaks to the south-east and north-west forming diametrically opposed entranceways. This construction technique has been identified at numerous sites in south-west Scotland and a small number in East Lothian, in addition to possible examples in the cropmark record. However, the increasing discovery density of these structure types across Dumfries and Galloway, many of which fall into the 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD, seems to suggest that there is a continually emerging local building tradition, demonstrating shared culture or at least contacts across the southwest of Scotland.

The post-excavation programme is ongoing, and we look forward to learning more through our analyses as work progresses.