1974:0010 - CORK CITY, Cork

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Cork Site name: CORK CITY

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

Author: Mr. D. Twohig, Department of Archaeology, University College, Cork.

Site type: Historic town

Period/Dating: Multi-period

ITM: E 566530m, N 571749m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 51.896892, -8.486316

In March 1974 the first archaeological excavations to be undertaken within the medieval city of Cork began. This initial work on the site therefore, was very much sondage to establish the depth and nature of deposits, Future work both here and elsewhere will be hindered by tidal flooding. Excavation has shown that the average thickness of stratified soil was about 10 to 12 feet, with artefacts ranging in date from the early 13th century to the present day. These artifacts include both native and imported wares, metal objects, worked leather and wood. Large quantities of botanical and zoological material have also been recovered. These include bones, shells, seeds, plant and insect remains etc.

The medieval and post-medieval trade of the city is evidenced by imported pottery from England, France, Spain, Holland, Germany and with the early colonial settlements of the eastern seaboard of North America. The range of pottery includes Saintonge green-glazed and polychrome ware, Ham Green ware, Chafing dishes from LaChapelle des Pots, Beauvais sgraffito ware, Dutch cockerel dishes, German stone wares, North Devon sgraffito and gravel tempered wares, Staffordshire comb wares, transfer printed wares, etc.

The main structural features on the site were the fragmentary remains of Skiddy’s Castle. This was a tower house type of building which had been erected in 1445. Excavation showed that the tower had been built on a floating foundation. This was in the form of a timber raft which was held in position by vertically driven timber piles. There was sufficient evidence to show that some amount of settlement in the foundations had taken place and that this was due, in the main, to compaction of the underlying peat. However, the timber raft which carried the foundations of the building had maintained a uniform rate of settlement everywhere, thus preventing the occurrence of structural failure et any point in the foundations. The tower house was levelled about 1785 and the subsequent backfilling of the site included a range of artifacts and debris probably derived from a nearby glassworks.

Excavation showed a continuity in the location of laneways and property boundaries from the early 13th century to the present day.