2003:1629 - Listoghil, Carrowmore, Sligo

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Sligo Site name: Listoghil, Carrowmore

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 14:209 Licence number: 03E1050

Author: Martin Fitzpatrick, Arch. Consultancy Ltd, Ballydavid South, Athenry, Co. Galway.

Site type: Cairn

ITM: E 565950m, N 833891m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.252719, -8.522516

This project concerned the monitoring of conservation works at Listoghil, Carrowmore. The works involved the installation of gabions to support the cairn material along both sides of the passage providing access to the chamber (the cairn has previously been excavated by Burenhult). To facilitate the southern access to the central area it was necessary to remove some of the cairn material on either side of the passage. The boulders at the southern end of the monument were covered with a protective membrane and sand to ensure their safety during the works in progress.

Work commenced with the laying of gabions along the eastern side of the central chamber, with the only disturbance being in the south-east corner, where the cairn material was disturbed for a width of c. 0.2-0.25m at the base of the existing section face. The material removed consisted of large and small angular stones intermixed with a brown silty clay. Some 20th-century pottery fragments were recovered. The removal of the wooden viewing platform and protective membrane exposed the west-facing section of a previously excavated trench through the cairn. To facilitate the laying of gabions, manual excavation of the section face took place. The existing ground level was covered with plywood and the cairn material was knocked to the ground. A small mechanical excavator with rubber tracks then pulled the excavated material away from the monument. The section face was found to consist of a thin clay layer, on top of which there was a recently laid iron mesh. At the north end a stone layer extended from the top to the boulder clay at the base. It consisted of larger irregular-shaped boulders at the base with smaller angular stones on top. Immediately south of this, the stratigraphy differed somewhat. Here sod overlay a loose stone layer, which in turn overlay a mixed layer of dark-brown clay with stones. Boulder clay was found beneath the mixed clay layer. Finds from this section face included 20th-century pottery and glass fragments. Once the section face was cleaned down, the ground level was cleaned back, exposing the orange/brown boulder clay. This layer extended for the length of the monument but revealed no artefacts of archaeological significance.

The procedure followed on the opposite (west) side of the proposed entranceway was similar, with the section face manually excavated and removed from the site by a mechanical excavator. The exposed section face on this side was considerably higher, with a height of c. 3.5m. The stratigraphy consisted of topsoil overlying an iron mesh, which in turn overlay the cairn material. Here the cairn material consisted of loose angular stones with modern field posts and wire visible in this section face. Underlying the loose stones there was a mixed clay and stone layer, but in general the stones were much smaller than those on the opposite side of the proposed entrance. Finds from this section face included modern pottery and glass, as well as occasional animal bone. Once work on the section face was completed, the ground surface was cleaned back, revealing the orange/brown boulder clay. Manual cleaning of this layer revealed one small unworked flint flake. No other finds or features were uncovered in the course of this work. It was not possible to determine the depth of the boulder clay, as the exposed section faces posed significant risk from collapse and it was necessary to immediately commence the laying of gabions.