2003:1704 - Site 19, Boscabell, Tipperary

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Tipperary Site name: Site 19, Boscabell

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0426

Author: John Kavanagh, Sweep Road, Rathmore, Portarlington, Co. Laois, for Judith Carroll Network Archaeology Ltd.

Site type: Multi-period

ITM: E 609606m, N 641380m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.523699, -7.858442

Site 19 was excavated in advance of construction of the N8 Cashel Bypass and N74 Link Road. South Tipperary County Council proposes to construct a new bypass of Cashel town, a scheme involving a 6km bypass route of the town and a 2km link road of the N74. The excavation commenced in May 2003 for a period of six weeks. The site lay on the southern side of a low hill near a moated site (SMR 61:27).

A possible structure(s) occupied the high ground to the north-west of the site. The structure(s) consisted of twelve post-holes, three isolated stake-holes and a shallow pit. The pit contained traces of oxidised clay and two small fragments of coarse pottery, possibly domestic Bronze Age. The irregular distribution and spacing of the post-holes frustrated any attempt to identify the structure(s).

An area of prehistoric wetland was uncovered to the south-east of the structure(s) at the base of the hill within a bowl-shaped depression 40m in diameter. A possible structure, pits and stake-holes were identified along the northern edge of the wetland area. The structure consisted of five evenly spaced post-holes forming a semicircular arc 4.1m in diameter. A post-medieval field boundary ditch to the south may have destroyed any additional structural remains. A total of 25 stake-holes were uncovered to the west of the semicircular structure concentrated around seven pits. The pits ranged in size from 0.31 to 1.36m. Four of the pits were filled with silts, sands and charcoal flecks and the remaining three with fragments of heat-cracked stones. No artefacts were recovered from any of these pits.

Three test-trenches were excavated through the sands, silts and clays within the wetland area. They revealed that large quantities of heat-cracked stones had been dumped along the northern edge of the wetland area. There were two additional pits along the western edge of the wetland area, and these also contained heat-cracked stones. Two isolated features were uncovered further to the west of the wetland area in the centre of the site. The first was an area of in situ burning that measured 1.52m by 3.3m. The second was a spread of ash and charcoal. A possible cremation pit was located in the south-west corner of the site. The pit had a diameter of 0.48m and a depth of 0.04m. It was filled with sands, silts and a minimal amount of charcoal mixed with several small fragments of burnt bone. Similar pits containing burnt bone and Beaker pottery were found on the adjacent Site 20 (No. 1705 below).

A keyhole-shaped corn-drying kiln was uncovered 25m to the west of the moated site. It was 4.8m in length and orientated east-west, with the chamber at the east end of the kiln and the fire-spot at the west end of the flue. The chamber was lined with limestone. The corn-drying kiln was filled with dark-brown charcoal-rich sandy silt with a particularly dense deposit of charcoal at the base of the chamber. Two shallow pits with charcoal-rich fills were located adjacent to the kiln. A possible sherd of medieval pottery was found within one of the pits close to the surface.

A heavily overgrown earth-and-stone wall extended along the eastern edge of the site and terminated close to the moated site. Two disused field boundary ditches were uncovered, one at the southern end and the other at the northern end of the site. Both were orientated east-west and extended off the site. Post-medieval pottery was recovered from the base of the more northerly ditch. Numerous plough furrows extended across the site in an east-west direction and within the disused field boundaries. A large post-medieval stone dump was found partially under the existing hedgerow along the southern edge of the site. The dump was filled with large limestone rocks and several fragments of clay pipe were found near the base of the pit. Two modern stone-filled drains extended across the site, but these were not excavated.