1997:484 - BALLINTOTTY, Tipperary

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Tipperary Site name: BALLINTOTTY

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 97E0328

Author: Cia Mc Conway, Archaeological Development Services Ltd, Windsor House, 11 Fairview Strand, Fairview, Dublin 3.

Site type: Medieval strong house

ITM: E 590953m, N 678539m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.857691, -8.134343

A substantial stone structure was first investigated during assessment in 1996 (Excavations 1996, 98–9,96E0318) as part of the archaeological requirements prior to the construction of the (N7) Nenagh bypass. As a result of this and its proximity to Ballintotty tower-house, further assessment was carried out to determine the stratigraphic relationship between the enclosing ditch and the stone structure. A cropmark in an adjacent field was investigated and the area immediately north of the structure across the Ballintotty stream was also assessed.

A curvilinear cropmark (AR30) had been recorded in the south-east corner of the field to the immediate west of the stone structure. The cropmark ran into the eastern and southern field boundaries and appeared to enclose an area to its south-east, though it could not be traced in either of the fields to the east and south. Investigations showed the cropmark to have been an infilled ditch, 2.76m wide x 0.62m deep. It is most probable that this ditch was part of a former water/drainage course, linking the open ditch south of the stone structure to that along the southern field boundary.

Excavation through the enclosing ditch and along the stone structure AR30a showed that the stone walls and foundations cut into the inner face of a large clay bank located on the interior of the enclosing ditch. The open ditch visible to the south of the structure was actually an old water/drainage channel, the continuation of which was recorded in AR30. The enclosing ditch measured 3m wide x 1.4m deep with a steep inner edge and a fairly narrow flat base. An old ground surface of unknown date was discovered below the bank and apparently running in under the walls.

No datable finds were recovered from the ditch. Given the local archaeological landscape it is possible that the bank and ditch was a rath site, later reused for the location of the stone structure. However, it is equally feasible to suggest that the enclosure is an early medieval Anglo-Norman military ringwork.

Three trenches, AR30b, were opened up in the field north of the structure, across the stream within the original flood-plain and within the catchment area of the road. This field had been used as a sand and gravel quarry for years and it was unlikely that any in situ archaeological deposits would have survived. A depth of dark brown peat-like soil was uncovered from which some worked wood and animal bone were recovered. Although this suggests some form of archaeological activity, it is likely to have been deposited here from further upstream.