2003:1632 - Carrownanty, Sligo

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Sligo Site name: Carrownanty

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 33:92 Licence number: 03E0493

Author: Dominic Delany, Unit 3, Howley Court, Oranmore, Co. Galway.

Site type: No archaeological significance

ITM: E 565533m, N 815382m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.086382, -8.526797

Testing was carried out on a proposed development site at Carrownanty, Co. Sligo, on 14-16 April 2003. The site is located 40m south of Ballymote Castle, which was probably built by Richard de Burgho in c. 1300.

The development site comprises a large field immediately south of the castle. A gravel ridge runs north-west/south-east across the north-east part of the site, while the southern part is low-lying, boggy ground. There are a number of deep land drains around the site perimeter and traversing the boggy ground in the southern part of the site. A tracked excavator fitted with a wide toothless digging bucket was retained to dig seven trenches (75-250m long) on the footprint of the proposed housing development and associated service roads. The tract of bog covers the areas encompassing the southern parts of Trenches 1 and 2 and the eastern part of Trench 3. Underlying the grey/brown silt topsoil, there was a deep deposit of very wet and soft boggy ground composed of mid-brown to reddish-brown to dark-brown/black silt with much organic matter. The ground becomes slightly peaty in texture towards the base of the bog deposit. The bog is deepest in the southern part of the site, where it is 1.5m thick. It rises gently to the north-west and north-east and is 1.2m deep at the edges of the bog. It overlay grey sandy silt and grey coarse sand and gravel with frequent stone. A layer of grey/brown silt topsoil, varying from 0.1 to 0.2m in thickness, covers the remainder of the site. On the lower ground, the topsoil generally overlay grey, light-yellow/brown and orange/brown clayey sand, while on the higher ground it overlay mixed dark-brown, yellow/brown and grey/brown silty/clayey sand and gravel. Deposits of grey coarse sand, gravel and cobbles were also occasionally encountered on the higher ground.

No archaeological features or finds were discovered during testing. The only features observed were the gravel base of an existing track running north-west/south-east through the site and two concrete base pads for an aerial ropeway, which also ran in a north-west/south-east direction. The track and ropeway provided a goods service between the mill complex to the south-east of the development site and a building on the railway line immediately north-west of the site. The boggy ground in the southern part of the site may indicate the site of an ancient lake and this area is likely to have been marshland in the medieval period. The gravel ridge and outlying marsh would have provided a natural defensive buffer for the castle and would almost certainly have influenced its siting.