2003:1626 - CARROWKEEL, Sligo

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Sligo Site name: CARROWKEEL

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SL038-052---- Licence number: 03E0669

Author: Martin A. Timoney

Site type: Structure

Period/Dating: Undetermined

ITM: E 556511m, N 811067m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.046932, -8.664058

Planning permission was granted for a house, associated works and a driveway on the site of a supposed enclosure at Carrowkeel, Chaffpool, Tobercurry, Co. Sligo.

The site was tested and site clearance subsequently monitored. The 1838 6-inch OS map is the only source for the suggested existence of an enclosure. A broad sinuous bank of stones and earth along the east and south sides of the site does not curve to form an enclosure. This may have been bounding an area of decorative trees on the Chaffpool demesne, as indicated on the 1838 OS map. While the south-east half of what is shown on the map may be equitable with part of the sinuous bank on-site, there is no indication of anything on the ground for the north-west half.

A thin soil covers the limestone bedrock and there is a massive limestone quarry some 500m to the north-north-east beyond Chaffpool House. There are several rock edges within the area for development. Testing on 14 and 15 May 2003 did not clarify the issue.

Trench 1 was 61.7m long. There was a yellow brick, some modern sheet metal and a piece of a milk crock in the dark clay and stone make-up of the bank. There was no sign of a fosse at the east end. In Trench 2, there were no finds. The central area had dark clay and lots of stone. In Trench 3, there was a lot of modern rubbish in the dark clay and stone make-up of the bank at the lower east end. There was no sign of a fosse.

This ground was difficult to assess, due to the stepped nature of the underlying bedrock. The sinuous bank was made up of loose dark clay with loose stones. There was no formal structure to it and there were no finds recovered from it.

In Trench 4, the thin sod lay directly on the natural glacial deposits. There were no finds.

There was no indication of the suggested ringfort or enclosure found in testing. The central and downhill area of the site had loose dark soil and lots of loose stones. The possibility of a central element, a cairn, in a black soil and stone area is, however, possible. This was a long concentration of stones, 0.5m high, dumped along a geological edge to the slope of the hill. There were a few slabs, apparently prised from the weathered surface layers of the underlying rock. Six animal bones were found close together, which may be of archaeological significance.

Monitoring did not reveal an explanation for the dark soil and stones.

Bóthar an Chorainn, Keash, Co. Sligo