1988:23 - Cornacully, Fermanagh

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Fermanagh Site name: Cornacully

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

Author: Brian B. Williams, Historic Monuments and Buildings Branch, DOE(NI)

Site type: Sweat house

ITM: E 602451m, N 843603m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.341119, -7.962308

The excavation of a sweathouse was undertaken to provide additional information on these structures as part of an archaeological survey of County Fermanagh. The work took place over two days in May and was funded by the Historic Monuments and Buildings Branch DOE(NI).

The site lies at the base of a steep south-west facing slope of a little wooded glen through which flows the Black River. This sweat house lies in a concealed position but is within 150m of two farms shown on the 1834 OS. 6 inch map. It was reported by Joseph Broyan who said it was used for the cure of rheumatism.

It is a polygonal dry stone corbelled structure which has recently collapsed on the south-west side with the pressure of a hazel tree growing on its roof. The entrance is at the south/west, 1m long and 0.7m wide and provides access to a polygonal chamber 1 .7m by 1 .5m. The chamber and entrance passage are paved with sandstone slabs and the floor slopes gently down to the entrance to facilitate drainage. The chamber is cut into the slope of the glen and the walls are built with small rectangular sandstones curving to a height of 1 .4m. Large flat sandstone slabs were laid in a corbelled manner to form the roof. Soil was added on the outside to the walls and roof, with a maximum thickness of l.3m in the wall at the north west and 0.3m on the roof.

Excavations revealed the paved floor and entrance and the remains of burning on the floor of the chamber. The evidence of burning was confined to a relatively small area, but scorch marks on the stones of the wall and roof indicate a substantial fire. A turf was found in the damp layers in the entrance indicating the fuel used. A radiocarbon sample of charred wood, UB 3057, provided a result of 1456 ± 40 B.P.