2003:1612 - Ballinode, Sligo

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Sligo Site name: Ballinode

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1207

Author: Mary Henry, Mary Henry Archaeological Services Ltd, 17 Staunton Row, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

Site type: Testing

ITM: E 662769m, N 835774m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.266922, -7.036442

Pre-construction testing was undertaken at the site of a proposed housing scheme at Ballinode, near Sligo town. Twenty-three trenches were opened on the site. Apart from 33 furrows, testing revealed fourteen linear features, a substantial burnt mound and three small patches of burning.

Furrows were discovered in eight of the trenches. The vast majority of the furrows were aligned north-south. Study of the furrows, including analysis of the pottery, suggested they were of post-medieval date and may have been cut by a steam plough. The site is on Hazelwood Demesne and, bearing in mind the size and wealth of the demesne in the 19th century, the employment of a steam plough would have been well within the resources of the owners and would have ensured maximum utility of the better ground. A stone dump uncovered in one of the trenches is a direct result of field clearance, with both red and stock bricks intermingled with the stones, suggesting a 19th-century date for its deposition. Isolated burnt patches in two trenches pointed to vegetation clearance. Extensive agricultural activity is further endorsed by the large number of linear features uncovered during testing, in association with the land boundaries still visible upon the landscape. A drainage system appeared to have been introduced in two phases, although it was not possible to ascertain the time span between them.

On the southern extremity of the proposed development, on a south-facing slope which terminates in wetland, a large burnt spread was uncovered. It showed all the attributes of a fulacht fiadh. Consisting of abundant amounts of burnt sandstone enveloped with a burnt sandy soil matrix, its dimensions (20m long and at least 7.2m wide) suggest it was a major feature on the landscape.