1972:0009 - LISDUGGAN NORTH, Cork

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Cork Site name: LISDUGGAN NORTH

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

Author: Mr. D.C. Twohig & Prof. M.J. O’Kelly, Dept of Archaeology, University College Cork

Site type: Two Ringforts

ITM: E 543262m, N 603955m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.184478, -8.829710

This excavation was necessitated by impending quarry development which would result in the total destruction of the site. These forts, designated ring-forts 1 and 2, had been levelled, for the most part, in the late nineteenth century, their banks having been backfilled into the ditches. Preliminary test trenching was therefore necessary to determine the outline of the forts and their spatial relationship. The ring—forts were univallate in type with average overall diameters of approximately 52m and 58m for forts 1 and 2 respectively. Four phases of activity could be determined.

Phase 1. A network of pre—fort trenches.

Phase 2. The period of ring-fort construction. Preliminary test trenching demonstrated that the ditches of ring-forts 1 and 2, where they came closest together, were separated by a natural baulk which was approximately l.5m in width; hence the ditches of the two forts did not intersect. Because of this natural baulk, the lines of collapse from the banks of the two forts did not overlap, therefore the chronological relationship of the forts could not be determined from the sectional profiles. The bank of ring-fort 1 had an outer palisade trench in which were found the stone packed sockets which would have held the palisade posts. Secondary test-trenching was carried out in the ring—fort enclosures to probe the distribution and density of possible habitation material. This showed that an area of maximum habitation debris was located inside the bank of the south-west quadrant of ring-fort 1. Excavation in this quadrant produced plans of three hut sites, two of which were circular in plan, the third rectangular. Three hearth sites were determined, one of which was located on an extensive gravel spread which extended around the hut sites. The presence of a gravel—lined water channel whose curvature followed the inner edge of the now levelled ring-fort bank provided the inner limit from which it was possible to reconstruct a segment of the bank as it may have been in its original form.

The range of finds from ring-fort 1 included flint blades and scrapers, spindle whorls, a rotary quern, crucible fragments, iron knives, a bronze object, a blue glass bead, amber, and some sherds of E—ware. Much charcoal was found, but very little bone.

A number of secondary test—trenches cut in ring—fort 2 succeeded in locating the original entrance to the fort. In order to gain a visual impression of what this entrance may have looked like in its original form, a segment of the ditch on either side of the causeway was recut and the excavated material was piled up to form a bank on either side of the entrance. Nothing in the form of post—holes or foundation trenches was found in the vicinity of the entrance.

Phase 3. This is evidenced by the building of a lime-kiln into the bank of ring-fort 2 during the early nineteenth century.

Phase 4. This final activity on the site dates from the period when the two ring-forts were levelled. During this operation a series of stone filled drains were constructed to assist drainage of the ring-fort ditches.

A large number of soil samples were systematically taken during the excavation and it is hoped that geophysical and geochemical analysis of this material may give additional useful data on the site.