2003:1040 - NEWRATH (Site 9), Kilkenny

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kilkenny Site name: NEWRATH (Site 9)

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0809

Author: Emer Dennehy, for ADS Ltd.

Site type: Settlement cluster and Field system

Period/Dating: Medieval (AD 400-AD 1600)

ITM: E 659994m, N 614094m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.275256, -7.120877

Monitoring of topsoil clearance for the Newrath East Link Road (N25 Waterford Bypass; Chainage 0–200, Fields B–E) took place between July and August 2003. A track machine utilising a 2m flat grading bucket removed the topsoil to an average depth of 0.2m, exposing an orange/brown clay subsoil. Five areas of archaeological potential were identified and excavated between August and October 2003. Three of these (Areas I, III and V) relate to post-medieval land divisions and are of no archaeological significance. The features identified in Area IV also relate to post-medieval land divisions, which were accompanied by a series of posts and stakes representing fencing at a field entrance.

The main area of archaeological significance was Area II, which covered a 700m2 portion of Field B. Area II was truncated in both east–west and north–south directions by post-medieval field drains and boundaries. A large post-medieval pit was also present in this area. It was oval in plan and measured 2.59m north–south by 1.99m by 0.84m in depth. The archaeological features of this area were subdivided into four ‘structures’. The main Structure A was only partially exposed within the road-take and was the remains of a house of post-and-stake construction, 8.6m in diameter. No discernible entrance or hearth site was identified during the course of the excavation. Limited evidence for repair/maintenance of the structure was identified. On cessation of use, the reusable elements of the structure were dismantled and the stubs of the posts were burnt in situ.

Structure B was the remains of a small windbreak located to the south of a complex of large intercut pits. The main pits were filled with extremely compact clay, inhibiting the penetration of surface water. Nothing to indicate the function of these pits was retrieved, though it is hoped soil analysis may produce macro-floral remains.

Structure C was the remains of an 8.5m-diameter subcircular house site, similar in plan to Structure A. It was primarily composed of large posts and heavily truncated on its western side. As with Structure A, no hearth site or entrance was identified. On cessation of use, the house was allowed to decay in situ.

Structure D refers to a small complex of posts surrounding a large trough-like feature. The posts may have formed a windbreak to accommodate the working of the trough. The trough was sub-oval in plan, measuring 1.2m north–south by 0.34m by 0.28m in depth

Although significant amounts of archaeological material were excavated at Site 9, no finds indicative of a time frame or function were retrieved. It is assumed, on the basis of Site 9’s proximity to a medieval earthwork, from which the townland name is derived, that the archaeology of Area II is medieval in date. Post-excavation analysis of soil/charcoal material and radiocarbon dates is pending.

Windsor House, 11 Fairview Strand, Dublin 3