1992:032 - Rinnaraw, Donegal

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Donegal Site name: Rinnaraw

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 16:16 Licence number:

Author: Thomas Fanning, Dept of Archaeology, University College, Galway

Site type: Cashel with house site

ITM: E 603751m, N 936783m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 55.178314, -7.941110

A short season of excavation at this site was undertaken during August 1992 in conjunction with the programme of conservation and presentation work funded by the National Heritage Council. The archaeological investigations were funded by the Dept of Archaeology, UCG, and the owners of the site, the Portnablagh Hotel. The work consisted essentially of an examination of the soil and stony infill removed in the process of cleaning and conserving the wall foundations of the byte-house. During this operation a number of artefacts were recovered including an unfinished serpentinite loom weight, portion of a serpentinite ring and a quantity of iron slag and furnace bottoms. One of the stones utilised in the wall makeup along the western side proved, on examination, to be a lozenge-shaped stone lamp. Another stone object, a large perforated sandstone disc, probably a whetstone, was uncovered in the open area to the south of the house foundations. This object can be paralleled amongst the Viking-Age finds from the Dublin excavations. The northern wall-footings yielded a number of bone points and iron knife blades associated with the shell midden deposits.

The enclosure which forms the cashel-type feature of the site consists largely of metadolerite outcrop. Cleaning along the line of this feature revealed the remains of a stony build-up which, in places, would have strengthened and completed the enclosing element.

Soil samples for archaeo-botanical sampling were taken from a number of crucial features within the byte-house including the hearth, byte drain and sump and the midden locations along the northern and western sectors of the cashel wall. Samples of wood charcoal for C14 dating were obtained from the hearth area and the wall-footings to augment the dating evidence provided from previous seasons.