2003:1618 - CALTRAGH (Site 1D/E), Sligo

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Sligo Site name: CALTRAGH (Site 1D/E)

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0542

Author: Stephen J. Linnane, Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd.

Site type: Fulacht fia, Cremation pit and Enclosure

Period/Dating: Prehistoric (12700 BC-AD 400)

ITM: E 568758m, N 834335m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.256896, -8.479468

Testing was carried out in advance of construction along the route of the proposed N4 Sligo Inner Relief Road and County Extension on behalf of Sligo County Council. In 2001, during this phase of centre-line testing, a number of features of archaeological potential were exposed at Caltragh. The site was subsequently designated Caltragh Site 1D/E and was excavated in April/May 2003.

Site 1D was located at the base of sloping ground with a marsh to the west and was previously known through excavations undertaken by Sebastien Joubert (Excavations 2001, No. 1136, 01E0395). The remains of a fulacht fiadh overlay a solitary trough which was filled with black fulacht material. The trough was circular and bowl-shaped with a diameter of c. 1.15m and a maximum depth of c. 0.38m. Running to the north was a narrow winding drainage channel. The fulacht material also overlay two small cremation pits and associated stake-holes. One of the cremation pits contained five stone beads and a small polished stone axehead was found close by. The cremation pits and associated finds appear to date to the Neolithic period. Running from the north-east to the south-west and extending beyond the road-take into the marsh were the remains of a drystone wall, the majority of which (situated in the adjacent field to the north) had previously been exposed during excavations by Joubert (op. cit.) The whole monument formed a large drystone enclosure. The remains of another drystone wall ran from east to west, again extending into the marsh. Radiocarbon dates have not been received for these features, but it seems probable that the fulacht is of Bronze Age date, whilst the cremation pits and walls date to the Neolithic period.

Site 1E was situated to the north of the enclosure excavated by Joubert, at the top of the slope which ran down to the marshy area to the west. The site contained a circular pit, c. 1m deep and c. 5m in diameter, with steep sides. The principal fill within the pit was a mound of large boulders, and occasional flecks of burnt bone were found between them. The identification of this feature as one of archaeological significance is as yet uncertain.

Unit 21, Boyne Business Park, Greenhills, Drogheda, Co. Louth