1974:0011 - MOUNT SANDEL, Derry

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Derry Site name: MOUNT SANDEL

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

Author: Mr. P. C. Woodman, Department of Antiquities, Ulster Museum.

Site type: Settlement cluster

Period/Dating: Mesolithic (8000 BC-4001 BC)

ITM: E 685234m, N 930684m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 55.116207, -6.663951

Excavations during the 1st season had been mainly limited to work on an area of intense settlement. This had consisted mostly of a series of huts with associated hearths and pits sealed partially under a layer of occupation soil. The date of this settlement would appear to be, according to C14 dating, mid 7th millennium BC (uncorrected C14 dating).

The purpose of the 2nd season was to delimit the size of the settlement area and to attempt to recover more complete hut plans.

The area of settlement would seem to be about 30m x 20m and is more or less confined to a patch of sand at the edge of some Glacio-fluvial deposits. Although the occupation soil and the top of the old ground surface had been destroyed by ploughing traces of settlement in the form of pits and the bottoms of postholes could be found. At one point the nearly complete plan of a hut was recovered. This was of a similar type to those found during the first season i.e. circular with a central hearth and about 6m across. This hut was not set in a slight hollow like the previous examples. Some faunal remains were recovered but the pits were by no means as rich as those found during 1973. The industry was also similar to that recovered during 1973 large numbers of geometric microliths, occasional core and flake axes etc.

Occasional sherds of neolithic pottery were recovered from some features to the north, beyond which scattered neolithic features are known to exist. A few sherds of souterrain ware were also found. A 1m deep trench which apparently defines an area of flat land beside Mount Sandel fort contained fragments of glazed post-medieval pottery, tygs, everted-rim cooking pots, and early clay pipes. This implies that the fort (depicted on several late 16th century maps) possibly represents a late 16th century refortification of a ringfort.