Peat depth variability at Machrie North, Arran, and its implications for archaeological survey and conservation in British uplands
Surface Survey, Walls, Field Monuments, peat
Machrie; Isle of Arran; Scotland; UK
The results of a series of surveys of an area of peat moorland on the Isle of Arran, Scotland, have been analysed to determine the relationship between surface indications and subsurface cultural features. The study reveals that variation in the depth of peat accounts for much of the apparent areal density of surf ace features. The paper further demonstrates how the conservation strategy enacted at the survey area, based as it was largely on surface indications, was effective in selecting for preservation those areas with shallow peat cover and not (as was believed at the time of implementation) those with a higher feature density. These findings together crystallize various doubts concerning current survey practices, and the survey and conservation policies which it has been advocated should be based upon them.