2003:994 - DUNKITT (Site 8), Kilkenny

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kilkenny Site name: DUNKITT (Site 8)

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0911

Author: Niall Gregory, ADS Ltd.

Site type: Metalworking site, Pit, Fulacht fia, Hearth, Cultivation ridges and Field boundary

Period/Dating: Multi-period

ITM: E 657907m, N 616395m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.296169, -7.151048

In April–May 2003, testing was undertaken at Site 8 in the townland of Dunkitt, Co. Kilkenny (No. 993, Excavations 2003, 03E0618). This 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. The monitoring portion of the works commenced on 15 July 2003, with excavation commencing on 11 August in tandem with ongoing monitoring activities. The site was excavated in four portions, Fields 1–4.

Field 1 contained one feature of note, the remains of an east–west field boundary recorded on both the 1839 and 1903 OS maps. A corroded iron nail and 19th-century pottery were retrieved from its fill.

The northern end of Field 2 had the remains of an east–west field boundary. No datable materials were retrieved from it nor did it conform to any map data. Archaeological features consisted of ten small pits, one stake-hole, three hearths, one kiln, one shallow spread, two furrows and two post-holes. One small granite stone disc was recovered from one of the hearths, while a quantity of iron slag, along with a piece of lead slag, was recovered from the kiln. Initial results indicate a multi-period site, in which the majority of the features appear to be prehistoric, while the area of the kiln would have been medieval or post-medieval.

Three groups of features were found in Field 3. These included an area of charcoal-rich soil and burnt stone (fulacht fiadh); a small granite stone disc was recovered from it. Other features consisted of two pits, one trough and 34 stake-holes. This site was prehistoric in date. The second group was initially identified as an area of several anomalous features. Upon investigation, it was established that almost all of them comprised modern activities that ranged from an engineering test hole to burnt soil from field clearance. One possible post-hole was recorded. The last group of features consisted of five small pits, two post-holes and two field boundaries. While no artefacts were retrieved, the features appear to be consistent with prehistoric features.

Field 4 features consisted of a pit, twelve plough furrows, three field boundaries and four field drains. Two of the boundaries appear to be consistent with the location of boundaries recorded on the 1903 OS map, while the third is consistent with the 1839 OS map. Glass, pottery and some iron dating to the 19th century were recovered from them. The plough furrows are aligned with both the 19th- and 20th-century field boundaries. Apart from the pit, all other features are 19th–20th-century in date.

Preliminary results identify extensive agricultural land use dating from the medieval period to the 19th and early 20th centuries. Further medieval activity is evidenced from a possible industrial iron- and leadworking site, the unexcavated portion of which extends westwards beyond the bounds of the road-take and therefore outside the specifications of this project.

Definitive evidence of a prehistoric landscape is ascertained by the presence of a fulacht fiadh and at least one hearth. While the remaining excavated features can undoubtedly be attributed with cultural heritage status, their period(s) of use remain somewhat unclear, due to the lack of datable evidence. It is anticipated that the results of environmental analysis will be more conclusive.

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