1985:01 - Ballycraigy, Antrim

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Antrim Site name: Ballycraigy

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

Author: N.F. Brannon, Historic Monuments Branch, Department of the Environment, Northern Ireland (DOE)

Site type: Ring Ditch and Contiguous Stone Circle

ITM: E 738322m, N 903890m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.863684, -5.845258

The site was discovered following topsoil stripping for development. The site was initially visible as an arc of 14 flat boulders. Assuming a circle, trenches were laid out to excavate one quadrant and intersect the line of the circle. Excavations found that most of the stones had been removed at some time in the past (not in recent development) but that in places some sockets were visible. More importantly, it was found that the stone circle had been erected over the line of an infilled ring-ditch, 2.0m. wide at the top, of rounded U profile and c. 1.0m. deep. This ‘coincidence’ of features made excavation somewhat easier, since the ditch was easily traced, for the stones directly overlay the centre-line of the ditch.

Excavation of the interior quadrant failed to find archaeological remains. Excavation of ditch sections fortunately located prehistoric remains: fragments of three Bronze Age ‘flat-rimmed ware’ vessels, patches of charcoal and a small amount of cremated/burnt (?human) bone.

It is most unlikely that the ‘coincidence’ of stone and ditch is/was unintentional. The ditch fill everywhere proved to be of two phases, a primary silting while the ditch was open, and an upper layer into which the stones had been bedded (without evidence for a bedding trench or other intentional setting). It therefore appears likely that this layer of ditch fill was intentionally deposited to receive the stones, and that the c. 12.0m. diameter circle was intentionally translated from ring-ditch to stone circle. All of the finds came from this upper layer and it is presently assumed that they are all redeposited, not in situ, deriving from the material used in infilling the upper level of the ditch void. There is no evidence to say whence this material (soil and finds) derives, but it may have come from an internal mound. The ring-ditch phase may therefore be Bronze Age in date. The ‘stone circle’ is very difficult to interpret. None of the stones had an upright character, and might have been a cairn revetment rather than a simple circle. The site has been destroyed.