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Islay, Bolsay

Pit (Period Unassigned), Unidentified Flint(S) (Flint)

Site Name Islay, Bolsay

Classification Pit (Period Unassigned), Unidentified Flint(S) (Flint)

Canmore ID 70280

Site Number NR25NW 44

NGR NR 2239 5711

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

C14 Radiocarbon Dating


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Kilchoman
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR25NW 44 2239 5711

30,000 pieces of worked flint were recovered from this trench, opened following test-pitting in 1989. Layers below the ploughsoil appeared to be redeposited.

Several stake holes were located in the in situ deposits and are demonstrably Mesolithic.

A pit was located, containing preserved organic remains, but the dating of this is at present uncertain. Charcoal from this is being radio-carbon dated.

S Mithen 1990.

Location cited as NR 2239 5711. Farmers and amateur archaeologists have collected flint from the fields at Bolsay farm on Islay for many years. This flint has been eroding out of a Mesolithic site and in 1989 a series of test pits were dug across the fields to locate it. Excavations of the settlement began in 1990, proving rich in finds, over 80,000 pieces of flint being recovered from a relatively small area. Evidence of a structure possibly a wooden hut, in the form of stake holes and a pit have been found. There appeared to be a much wider range of tools than at the nearby site of Gleann Mor (NR25NW 10). Thermoluminescence and radiocrabon dates were found for burnt flint and charcoal of 7.93 +- 0.59 thousand years BP and 7.25 += 0.14 thousand years bp respectively

S Mithen 1991.

NR 225 573 The 1992 excavations at Bolsay Farm completed the excavations at this site undertaken by the Southern Hebrides Mesolithic Project. Following on from the small area excavated in 1990, a trench 20m by 15m was exposed. The upper layers, consisting of topsoil and redeposited sediments, were removed by machine and then detailed excavation of the underlying deposits were conducted. All recovered material was recorded to a 25cm quadrat and all soil was washed through a 3mm wet sieve. An extremely large quantity of finds were recovered, estimated to include c400,000 pieces of worked stone. Many of these still remain within sieve residue waiting extraction during the planned 1993 post-excavation season. In the lithic material that has already been catalogued (c30,000 pieces) there has been no artefacts diagnostic of post-mesolithic occupation. However, approximately 200 sherds of pottery were recovered from the site appearing to be of late Neolithic or early Bronze Age date. In addition, part of a siltstone polished axe was recovered. This had been reused as a flake core. A series of rather ephemeral features were discovered including stake holes and truncated pits. A report of the excavation has appeared in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal.

Sponsors: British Academy, Historic Scotland, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Society of Antiquaries of London, Russell Trust, Robert Kiln Trust.

S Mithen 1992.


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