2003:1033 - KILMURRY (Site C), Kilkenny

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kilkenny Site name: KILMURRY (Site C)

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 43:60 Licence number: 03E0716

Author: Joanna Wren, for ADS Ltd.

Site type: Standing stone and Cist

Period/Dating: Bronze Age (2200 BC-801 BC)

ITM: E 663043m, N 615695m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.289305, -7.075895

In May 2002, Dave Pollock undertook testing at Site 8 in the townland of Dunkitt, Co. Kilkenny (Excavations 2002, No. 1033, 02E0269). This confirmed the presence of in situ archaeological material. Work at this site was undertaken as part of the pre-construction mitigation of the N25 Waterford Bypass, funded by the National Roads Authority through Waterford City Council.

Three standing stones are located at Airmount Cross to the north of Slieverue village. Testing near the stones confirmed that a fourth stone (D), lying prone on the ground, was deposited in modern times, and revealed the remains of a possible cist burial at the foot of another (B). Testing was inconclusive as to the date of the erection of the three standing stones, so full excavation was recommended in the area surrounding them.

All three stones had been set in sockets cut into the natural. The smallest, Stone (A), was roughly rectangular, measuring 1.45m high with maximum thickness of 0.35m. It was aligned north-west/south-east. A circle of twelve post-holes surrounded it.

The second, Stone (B), was 11m north-east of Stone (A). It was a squared block, aligned west-north-west/east-south-east, set in a square socket cut in the natural. Immediately north of Stone (B) there was a square cut in the boulder clay. This may have been the remains of a socket for a fourth stone.

To the north, an oval pit cut the socket. This had vertical sides and a flat base lined with limestone, forming a polygonal cist. A slab of red sandstone capped the feature. This had shattered into two pieces, perhaps when the cist was robbed. The cist was backfilled with grey-black sandy silt, with no surviving evidence of pottery or human bone.

The third stone (C) was a roughly squared block of conglomerate, 1.8m high and 0.6m thick, leaning to the south-west. It was located 50m south-east of the smaller Stone (A). This stone had been incorporated into a sequence of boundary ditches immediately west of it. At some stage, some of its packing stones had been disturbed and the stone began to lean to the south-west.

A series of other pits of various depths was uncovered at the site, mostly resulting from natural processes or ground clearance. One of these was similar to the other stone sockets but may have been the socket of a stone removed by ploughing.

The stones are to be resited out of the line of the road. Comprehensive dating, analysis and publication of the findings from the excavation will generate considerable local interest and will be extremely important for the study of Early Bronze Age megalithic sites both here and abroad. In particular, the deliberate setting of a post ring, comprising twelve posts, around the smaller Stone (A) is unique.

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