1996:333 - KILTULLAGH HILL, Kiltullagh, Roscommon

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Roscommon Site name: KILTULLAGH HILL, Kiltullagh

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 32:1 Licence number: 96E0179

Author: D. G. Coombs and Keith Maude, Department of Art History and Archaeology, University of Manchester

Site type: Barrow - ring-barrow

Period/Dating: Iron Age (800 BC-AD 339)

ITM: E 552961m, N 774018m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.713725, -8.712574

Kiltullagh Hill is a small limestone hill rising to c. 460ft south-east of Ballyhaunis on the Mayo-Roscommon border.

The hill has been the subject of archaeological investigation by the University of Manchester and the Queen's University of Belfast over the past few years.

In 1991 human remains representing four people were found during quarrying at the site; these produced C14 dates between AD 269 and 480.

In 1993 an area around a small standing stone on the hill produced a shallow cremation and a male inhumation. Radiocarbon dates suggested the latter to be of a late Iron Age or Early Christian date.

In September 1996 a small ring-barrow was partially excavated. It had been extensively damaged on its north side by quarrying. On the surface the ring-bank, central depression and slight traces of the surrounding ditch were visible. The diameter of the barrow was 11m, consisting of a circular ditch, 0.5m deep, and an internal bank made up of randomly laid limestone blocks with occasional larger boulders and an outer skin of limestone-based pea-gravel covered with shallow topsoil and grass. The central grave had clearly been disturbed and consisted of a pit containing numerous disarticulated bones of a number of people. The only in situ bones located were those of a single human foot. The other bones had been tossed back into the grave at random. Analysis of the human bones and the C14 dates are awaited.

On the outer edge of the ditch a shallow pit with a cremation was located. The only artefact discovered was a small blue glass bead found within the ring-bank. On present evidence it appears that Kiltullagh Hill with its standing stone (on early photographs two more standing stones can clearly be seen, forming an alignment of three stones) formed a small necropolis dating to the Late Iron Age/Early Christian period.