1973:0025 - SLUGGARY, Limerick

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Limerick Site name: SLUGGARY

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

Author: Dr. E. Shee, Dept of Archaeology, University College, Cork.

Site type: Ringfort

ITM: E 555760m, N 653545m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.631318, -8.653518

In June-July 1973 part of a large ring fort at Sluggary, Co. Limerick, was excavated prior to its development as an amenity area. The 1973 excavations were designed principally to assess the archaeological potential of the site. The fort is polygonal in plan, measuring 40m internal diameter and 70m external diameter, north/south and 48m internal diameter and 8Om external diameter, north-east/south-west. It covers an area of .985 acres.
It is enclosed by 2 concentric sets of banks and ditches. A third, outer line of defence is composed mainly of stones and has no ditch outside it. It has a dry built face which survives up to a height of 1 m in places. The entrance was probably in the south-west quadrant where the two inner banks are very worn but its position has not yet been exactly determined.
A trench 2m wide was cut north/south across the fort and two further trenches were cut across the defences in the east and west quadrants. The sections across the NE and W defences all showed a primary slip of dark earth in the ditches. This was followed by a collapse of loose clean stones. The upper levels showed a mixture of earth and stones. It appears as if the banks were faced with a wall of stones most of which slipped suddenly and cleanly into the ditches. Along the north side of the site, what appears to be the basal layer of a revetment is visible on the inner face of the second bank. Horizontal excavation will be needed to determine finally if this is really a revetment wall or part of a central core of boulders in the bank.
In the centre of the fort, the 2m wide cutting revealed post holes, pits and burnt areas at a depth of 15—20 cm below the surface. Some of the post holes contained pieces of charred wood.
Finds in the central area included fragments of iron and a small strip of bronze. Animal bones were found especially in the fill of the ditches and on the old ground level under the bank in the western cutting. Here also was found a length of laminated wood, possibly bark. In the inner ditch in the south cutting was found an unusual bone comb. It is made in the usual manner of double-sided bone combs but on one side, instead of teeth, there are 3 cut-out rings, each decorated with a concentric line and a circle of dots. Also in this ditch was found a broken bone tube which had been perforated at one end and was polished smooth from use (as a handle?). Outside the bank/wall were found the bowl of a clay pipe and a gun flint.

It is hoped to continue the excavation in 1974.