1976:040 - CORK: South Main Street, Cork

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Cork Site name: CORK: South Main Street

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

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

Site type: Historic town

Period/Dating: Multi-period

ITM: E 566957m, N 571662m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 51.896134, -8.480107

Excavations were continued on the site of the College of Holy Trinity- Christchurch, (built 1482). Some further work was undertaken on the foundations of the college and this demonstrated that the walls of the college were carried on a series of vertically driven wooden piles. Few finds were made in the vicinity of the college and no window or door fragments were recovered.
Much of the seasonā€™s work was concentrated in an area of ā€œsub-developmentā€ behind the medieval street frontage (South Main Street). The excavated horizons in that area had the range of date c.1170 to c.1400. The major structural remains in the area of ā€œsub-developmentā€ were rectangular post and wattle structures which measured on average 6m by 4m. A series of such structures were found throughout the 13th and early 14th centuries. There was little direct evidence to suggest that these structures had ever been roofed and it could be that they functioned primarily as windbreaks. However, it is possible that a lightweight roof may have beenĀ of leather scraps). It seemed probable therefore that the ā€œsub-developmentā€ area, behind the houses of the street frontage, was one in which such trades as metallurgy and leathercraft were practised. As yet it has not been possible to attempt a link-up between the ā€œsub-developmentā€ area and the houses of the street frontage. The pits excavated in the ā€œsub-developmentā€ area were of two types; (1) unlined, (2) lined with either wooden staves or wickerwork. The excavated fill of the pits suggested that they functioned as cess-pits. Their primary function however may have been as storage pits. One pit contained the fragmented remains of a complete Saintonge green-glazed jug; there were few finds from other pits.


Large quantities of pottery continue to be found on the site and the volume of imports is in the order of 80% for the 13th and early 14th centuries. The bulk of the imported ware is from the Saintonge and the Bristol area. Bronze pins, iron nails, knives, fish-hooks, arrowheads and spearheads continue to be found as well as stone spindle-whorls, whetstones and net-sinkers. Bone and antler combs and gaming pieces are also found. To date, no coins have been found on any of the Cork city sites, and there is nowhere with evidence for occupation which can be dated earlier than the late 12th century. It now seems likely that the Viking settlement was not within that area which subsequently became the walled city of Cork.