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 - rath

Period/Dating: Early Medieval (AD 400-AD 1099)

ITM: E 730818m, N 883398m

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 occupation, 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 ware' 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.