An amateur team of archaeological detectives believe they have made a major ‘scoop’ in the hills above Largs which they believe could date back to the Iron Age.

The Inverclyde Time Teamers, say they have found a previously unrecorded prehistoric hut circle, dating from between 1200BC and 500AD on the moors, just under a mile north east of Haylie viewpoint

Two of the detectives, Stephen McAllister and Allan Kinniburgh, were surveying the piece of land during Sunday afternoon after aerial photographs and computerised mapping and scanning equipment indicated it was a possible hotspot.

Stephen said: “Our target presented as circular structure with a very well defined raised outline, approximately 10 metres across.

"We thought it might have been a sheep ree, remnants of an Iron Age defensive dun or a prehistoric enclosure.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Stephen McAllister and Allan KinniburghStephen McAllister and Allan Kinniburgh (Image: Inverclyde Time Teamers)

“Having had a closer inspection, and comparing this with similar structures we have visited or discovered, we have a very high level of confidence in announcing this as something that looks like a previously unrecorded prehistoric dwelling or hut circle find.

“The most similar example we can compare it to would be the Martin Glen hut circle north west of the Roman forlet at Outerwards, to the north east of Largs.

“This structure has placed stone footings around the circulour outline with a possible entrance on the south east side.

"That, along with the fact that much of the local archaeology hails from the Iron Age, hints that this is probably more likely to be an Iron Age hut circle than something from the Bronze Age.

"There is evidence of internal brickwork that could be a possible hearth or kiln.

"The surrounding site and terrain have much to offer that would support the theory that this was once a dwelling. There are watercourses nearby and the site commands superb views from a natural vantage point whilst being well protected from the wind.

“Our plan is to record this and upload this, like the others we have found, to the Canmore archive, which is managed by Historic Environment Scotland.

“We are absolutely delighted with the find, particularly when much of the moorland has quite a volume of previously recorded archaeology already.

“For whatever reason, this has managed to slip under the radar and remain undetected for thousands of years, despite sitting fairly close to a well worn walking trail.

"We have already discussed the possibility of taking small groups of people to visit this in due course."

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

Stephen believes that there could be shards of pottery, flint or arrowheads, within the grounds.

Asked about the potential number of properties, Stephen said: "It's difficult to come up with a definitive answer, because stone was maybe robbed from other structures to build other things later on, but I can tell you that is quite rare to find a single prehistoric hut circle dwelling sitting on its own.

"The ones we have found have quite often had others not too far away, and we are talking upwards of 40. I would suspect there were others, and there would have been a community of sorts.

"Having dwelling hut circles in an elevated position was not only important from a defensive point of view, in that you could see people coming from up on high, but it would also have been considered sacred and for people of status."

The Inverclyde Time Teamers have made successful discoveries close to Loch Thom, near Inverkip, as well as a Roman fort at Outerwards.