1972:0001 - BALLYHENRY, Antrim

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Antrim Site name: BALLYHENRY

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

Author: Mr. C.J. Lynn, Historic Monuments Branch, Ministry of Finance

Site type: Ringfort No. 1

ITM: E 730818m, N 883399m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.681709, -5.971292

This inconspicuous rath, approximately 30m in internal diameter, is to be destroyed in the construction of an industrial estate. Three—quarters of the interior area was excavated. The natural boulder—clay was covered by a thin accumulation of peaty soil and the interior showed little sign of occup-ation, there being no scatters of charcoal, paving or pottery. Near the centre however a shallow elliptical gully, 'open' to the N.W. had been excavated into the surface of the natural. At its ‘focus’ was a stone—packed pit presumably for a post and just to one side a shallow scoop contained burnt stones and charcoal. The gully-fill produced two small sherds of cordoned urn type pottery. Only one other similar sherd was found – that at the base of the topsoil nearby. Stronger evidence for occupation during the Early Christian period was afforded by quantities of ‘souterrain waret found in a paved pathway leading from the entrance causeway into the fort and by a vague rectangular stone—footed structure with postholes immediately within and to one side of the entrance. Two glass beads and a heavily-clipped medieval coin were found in the topsoil near the centre of the rath. A green bead with applied yellow spirals and some fragments of lignite bracelets were found in the patchy occupation layer at the entrance. No trace of a surrounding fence was recovered but that such may once have existed is strongly suggested by the absence of a real bank and the presence of two matched pairs of substantial postholes on either side of the entrance way. It would seem illogical to have a gate if it did not span the sole line of easy access to the interior.