2003:1104 - CHURCHFIELD, DROMAHAIR, Leitrim

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Leitrim Site name: CHURCHFIELD, DROMAHAIR

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 14:7 Licence number: 03E0148

Author: Martin A. Timoney, Bóthar an Chorainn, Keash, Co. Sligo.

Site type: Ringfort

ITM: E 580625m, N 831232m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.229596, -8.297151

Dromahair ringfort and the Church of Ireland church and graveyard are both east of the village of Dromahair. Monitoring of a development of 29 houses took place in the southern part of a twelve-acre field here.

A 21m-wide fallow area was set outside the extent of the ringfort. Monitoring of 4300m2 of the western area took place on two days in April 2003. The brown to red-brown soil contained many small sandstone and limestone stones, up to 0.1m across, and occasionally boulders, up to 0.6m. There were several modern ‘finds’: glass, china, bits of a cream-separating dish, beer and brandy bottles, slate, brick and plastic. These reduced as one went further in from the modern gateway midway along the frontage. Also found were what appears to be a post-medieval or modern red ware plate and a single sherd of possible Beaker pottery of 2400–1800 BC (Helen Roche, pers. comm.).

The second stage, 7000m2, was monitored over six days in late July and early August 2003, using two-track machines working in parallel, with the soil being ‘windrowed’ into ridges, which gave 15- to 20m-wide areas cleared. East of the ringfort, a 0.15m-wide variation of soil colour was noted running roughly north–south across the crest of the ridge. This covered a stone-filled rectangular section drain, 0.15m wide by 0.2–0.25m deep. Modern glass and brick date this feature, of uncertain use, to modern times.

Local information indicated that, over a period of thirty years, there had been two cleaning-out jobs at nearby Villiers Castle and that the cleanings had been spread in this field. It may be that the ‘finds’ of all periods from Churchfield were part of a clean-out of Villiers Castle in the 1970s.