1975:21 - REASK, Kerry

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kerry Site name: REASK

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

Author: T. Fanning, National Parks and Monuments Branch, Office of Public Works.

Site type: Monastic Site

ITM: E 436485m, N 604356m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.166774, -10.390379

The final season of excavation in the spring and early summer of 1975 was concentrated on the area formerly covered by the roadway. The full extent of the primary cemetery (containing nearly forty lintel graves) was revealed. They lay in rows following the curve of the enclosure wall from the pillar stone in situ in the N. to the small clochan in the S. Excavation of these graves failed to produce any skeletal remains but samples were taken from each for phosphorous tests.

About midway in this cemetery but marginally to the west of the main group of graves was a small paved area (measuring 90cm. by 75cm.) enclosed by a number of erect slabs. This feature, which apparently predates the lintel graves, can best be described as a type of slab-shrine. It probably formed part of the primary focus of the cemetery.

The clochan which underlay the roadway was fully excavated. Only the very basal foundation stones had survived but these were tied in with the foundations of the enclosure wall suggesting that both were, more or less, contemporary. Within this clochan lay the remains of a furnace and associated drains. Substantial portions of the clay lining and charcoal fuel had also survived along with numerous crucible fragments and a few possible tuyère pieces. Further evidence of industrial activity was uncovered inside the smaller pair of conjoined clochan. Here a number of small furnace pits contained clear traces of iron smelting — furnace bottoms and vitreous slag left over from the smelting process. Samples were collected from both of these areas of industrial activity and will be submitted for radiocarbon and other tests.

Among the small finds discovered in this final season were some further sherds of B-ware and a number of glass beads. A rather unusual and intriguing find in the shape of a small, crudely fashioned stone figurine came to light during the removal of one of the ceallunach burials which overlay the primary cemetery.

Conservation of the various structures revealed during the course of the excavations has already commenced and it is hoped to have this work completed within the near future.