2003:997 - GORTEENS CASTLE, Gorteens, Kilkenny

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kilkenny Site name: GORTEENS CASTLE, Gorteens

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 47:1 Licence number: 03E0255

Author: Fintan Walsh, Irish Archaeological Consultancy Ltd.

Site type: Excavation - miscellaneous

Period/Dating: Late Medieval (AD 1100-AD 1599)

ITM: E 665186m, N 613652m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.270697, -7.044889

Testing was undertaken in the vicinity of Gorteens Castle, Gorteens, Co. Kilkenny, in advance of a road realignment project.

Gorteens Castle is in ruins. All that remains is a three- to four-storey gatehouse with a possible section of bawn wall. Previous excavation by Heather A. King took place immediately to the north of the castle in 1993 (Excavations 1993, No. 136, 93E0013). The foundations of two houses with contemporary field systems were identified, as well as possible traces of the bawn wall and intensive areas of ironworking. The historical and archaeological evidence points to Gorteens Castle being occupied from the second half of the 16th century into the first half of the 18th.

Testing was confined to the road-take of the proposed road: two separate fields, Field 1 and Field 2. Field 1 is located to the south-west of the castle, Field 2 immediately north-west of it. Both fields consisted of relatively flat grazing farmland.

A total of 22 trenches were excavated. They revealed the presence of numerous medieval features and deposits, including, in Field 2, the remains of stone walls which may define the walls of out-buildings associated with the castle. These features were associated with deposits containing late medieval pottery and metallurgical waste. The deposits between the walls seemed to be quite deep, suggesting high-density, deep archaeological remains.

In Field 1, the remains of a north–south-oriented ditch and associated features were uncovered close to the castle remains. The ditch measured c. 4.4m wide and 0.9m deep. Finds from the ditch were consistent with the date of the castle.

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