2003:1535 - Clonmacnoise, Offaly

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Offaly Site name: Clonmacnoise

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 5:3 Licence number: 02E1407

Author: Heather A. King, Skidoo, Ballyboughal, Co. Dublin.

Site type: Monastic site

ITM: E 600913m, N 730669m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.326277, -7.986294

Excavation of a trench for an outflow pipe to the Shannon in connection with a new wastewater treatment system for the Visitor Centre at Clonmacnoise, suspended last year due to flooding, was completed in March (Excavations 2002, No. 1565).

The trench for the outflow pipe was 1m wide and c. 40m in length. The northern third of the trench was in the flood-plain of the Shannon and had no archaeological material. The river end of the middle section of the trench had been built up to raise the level of the ground above the high flood levels of the Shannon and it was in this middle section that extensive evidence for early medieval deposits, similar to those found in the New Graveyard excavations (see various reports on Clonmacnoise in Excavations 1990-2000), were located. Early medieval settlement evidence in the form of stone-revetted structures, hearths and pits was recorded. As noted in 2002, the southern third of the trench consisted entirely of evidence for ironworking on a massive scale. Over 13m had no feature other than ironworking debris. The average depth of the deposit was 0.8m and contained large furnace bottoms, slag, furnace material and charcoal.

Over 150 objects were recovered, with iron objects such as knives and nails predominating; bone and antler artefacts included a decorated dress pin; lignite bracelet and disc fragments, hones, a quern stone, a bronze needle and stick pin, crucible and mould fragments were also among the objects recovered.