3.4.5 Cultivation Remains

Evidence for farming and cultivation has been recovered in a range of forms; indeed there are more traces of Neolithic farming here than anywhere else in mainland Scotland (Brophy and Wright 2021). Possible ard marks of Early Neolithic date were found adjacent to a Mesolithic pit-alignment and Neolithic pit cluster at Wellhill, near Dunning (MPK7184). Possible field ditches were also found here as well as at nearby Cranberry (MPK2015; Brophy and Wright 2021). Traces of cultivated soils or ridges of probable Neolithic date were identified during the excavation of cairns or barrows at North Mains (MPK1358; Barclay 1983) and Pitnacree (MPK1714; Coles and Simpson 1965).

Excavations at the later prehistoric upland settlement site at Carn Dubh (MPK1752) on Moulin Moor near Pitlochry, in the 1980s, produced ard mark evidence. However, this could not be dated and although Neolithic lithics were found, no associated settlement evidence was recovered (Rideout 1996).

Archaeological excavation at Hallhole Farm (MPK19100) has provided macrobotanical evidence for crop types cultivated during the Neolithic. This multiphase site spanning the Neolithic to Early Bronze Age produced emmer wheat, barley, including naked barley, and flax seeds from bulk soil samples obtained predominantly from a pit which also contained Early Neolithic pottery (Fyles 2017). Evidence of emmer wheat, bread wheat and barley have also been recovered from Claish, and barley (including naked barley) from Carsie Mains (MPK6977; Bishop et al 2010); this list is not exhaustive. Bread wheat is a rare find from Neolithic sites in Scotland, since it is only found in Early Neolithic contexts (Bishop et al 2010). It is thought that its use declined as the farmers adapted their agricultural regime to the environments of Scotland.