2003:990 - SITE 3, CLOONE, Kilkenny

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kilkenny Site name: SITE 3, CLOONE

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0591

Author: Cathy Sheehan, for ADS Ltd, 11 Fairview Strand, Fairview, Dublin 3.

Site type: Multi-period

ITM: E 660214m, N 615689m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.289568, -7.117365

In March 2002, testing was undertaken at the townland of Cloone, Co. Kilkenny (Excavations 2002, No. 1038, 02E0221). In total, 1298m of trenching took place, which confirmed the presence of in situ archaeological material. Work at this site was undertaken as part of the pre-construction archaeological mitigation of the N25 Waterford Bypass, funded by the National Roads Authority through Waterford City Council. Subsequently, excavations began in April of 2003 that lasted for a period of 23 weeks. The site was excavated in three portions (Trenches 1–3).
At Trench 1, an infilled ditch produced sherds of Leinster cooking ware, confirming a medieval date for what was determined to be a field boundary. A cluster of features excavated at the south-western extent of the trench, consisting of burnt material, was undatable at the time of excavation but may, upon radiocarbon determination, prove to be early in origin.
Trench 2 produced further evidence for dumped, heat-affected material.
Trench 3 contained the main area of interest, with remains indicating use of the area from prehistoric to early modern periods. Two cooking troughs and their associated burnt-mound deposits represent the initial activity on the site. These features were situated adjacent to a stream that had been culverted in the early modern period and the surrounding landscape had been raised and levelled by the deposition of substantial deposits of upcast boulder clay to either side of the drainage. The redeposited boulder clay sealed the underlying archaeological horizons. The majority of the remains within Trench 3 directly relate to the lie of this stream. The main burnt-mound deposit at the northern extent of the trench provided evidence for multiple reuse in the form of a series of troughs and fire pits.
Overlying and cutting into these earlier deposits was a subcircular stone corn-drying kiln, with a linear flue extending to the west. The kiln chamber measured 1.28m in diameter, while the linear section of the flue was 4.26m long. The abandonment of the feature is provisionally dated to the 13th century. The kiln was set into the boulder clay, truncating deposits of burnt-mound material associated with the large trough pit to the east. The kiln structure consisted of a subcircular stone feature with a linear flue extending from the western side of the chamber. The flue consisted of an arrangement of stones set onto a shelf. At the north-east extent of the flue, a narrow linear cut extended northwards from the kiln. This may originally have functioned as an extended flue. The walls of the kiln appeared to have been deliberately denuded, with stones being knocked over into the chamber and flue at the time of abandonment.
An extensive series of post- and stake-holes was recorded within the vicinity of the kiln. Some of these are likely to be associated with the working of the kiln itself; however, many may be related to the earlier trough to the east.
The recorded burnt mound, the isolated burnt-mound deposits and the trough activity represent a mere microcosm of the overall usage of the landscape. The alignment of the original stream towards the south is clearly visible in the modern field and numerous, small, isolated anomalies skirting the original course are likely to be representative of further burnt-mound deposits and potential trough pits.