NMI Burial Excavation Records


Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number:


Site type: No archaeological significance

ITM: E 589004m, N 635830m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.473791, -8.161856

These reports present the primary archaeological results of the second season of excavations undertaken by the four archaeological directors of the Lisheen Archaeological Project: John Ó Néill (Nos 500–504 below), Paul Stevens (Nos 505–515 and 526–533), Sarah Cross (Nos 516–525) and Cara Murray (Nos 538–546). The project has an integrated palaeoenvironmental research design and the full scope of the specialist studies will be presented, on completion, in a preliminary report in late spring 1998.

The study of the bog development and its morphology, coupled with two seasons of intensive geodetic survey, has provided the project with a high level of contextual definition which wetland excavations have not had on such a large scale in the past. The wood study has begun to provide very strong evidence for species selection and management. The palynology is suggesting a link between episodes of forest decline and regeneration and phases of archaeological activity, and the micro-environment of the sites and the wood used in them is also acquiring definition from the coleopteran studies.

The excavation season started in mid-May and ran until early August, at which time the project came to its completion on site. While the full scope of the excavation requirement was essentially fully met, deteriorating weather and the associated rising water-table with consequent flooding of the excavated areas put the final two weeks of the excavation project under a lot of pressure and resulted in the loss of some small, final areas of excavation.

The excavations during this second season focused on the completion of the preliminary programme of work based on the IAWU results (1995) and an extension of the overall scale of the project to include a large number of sites on the north-west of the study area which had not been revealed in the IAWU survey and had been discovered during the 1996 field season.

As with all previous archaeological work on this project (IAWU Report 1996; Stratigraphic Report 1996; Preliminary Report, July 1997) this second season has been funded in full by the developers, Minorco Lisheen Ltd, who have also supported the project with accommodation for the field teams, storage facilities for samples and finds, and offices and computers for the post-excavation phases. This has been coordinated and administered for the developers by Margaret Stokes, Environmental Manager, Minorco Lisheen Ltd, as part of the planning requirement for the project, which received its full planning permission in July 1997.

The project’s key personnel are Cara Murray, Paul Stevens, John Ó Néill, Sarah Cross (archaeological directors) and Malachy Conway (operations and dryland archaeological assessment 1997). Tim Coughlan directed operations and early excavation work in 1996. The specialists are Dr Chris Caseldine, Dr Ben Geary and Dr Jackie Hatton, Exeter University (palynology and related studies); Dr Wil A. Casparie (peat morphology and hydrology); Dr Inge Lise Stuijts (wood species and growth analysis); Eileen Reilly (Coleoptera); Bernie Owens (geodetic survey); Professor Barry Raftery (academic consultant); and Margaret Gowen (project design and management).


Prehistoric archaeological complex

22266 16613


The following sites (Nos 500–504) were excavated in Derryville Bog (Killoran townland) during 1997. They are located in the north-west of the proposed Tailings Management Facility to be built as part of a lead and zinc mine by Minorco Lisheen Ltd. The sites were part of the north-west cluster originally recorded in a field survey carried out during the Project’s 1996 season. The remaining sites in this cluster were excavated by Sarah Cross (see below, Nos 517–525). In all it was proposed to excavate nine sites: DER235 (No. 502 below), DER240 (No. 500 below), DER241 (No. 501 below), DER242, DER243 (No. 502 below), DER244, DER253 (No. 504 below), DER265 (No. 503 below) and DER266. Two of these were quickly identified as sightings of another site: DER242, which was part of DER241, and DER244, which was part of DER240. A third site, DER266, was found to be tree stumps of the bog marginal forest and was treated as non-archaeological. Two new sites, DER314 (No. 501 below) and DER316 (also No. 501), were discovered and excavated during the course of the season.

The known sites included two trackways (DER241 and DER243) running across a fulacht fiadh (DER240). Peat-stripping in the vicinity uncovered a third track (DER314) and a smaller burnt mound (DER316). The other sites included an isolated short trackway (DER235), a fulacht fiadh (DER253) and another fulacht fiadh (DER265) in an area beside trackways excavated by Sarah Cross (below, No. 519). Summaries of the excavations are given here, moving from the southernmost to the northernmost site excavated. A broad-based palaeoenvironmental study has been carried out on Derryville Bog and its environs and will be integrated with the excavated archaeological evidence for the final report.