2003:1754 - Site 1(i), Gortmakellis, Tipperary

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Tipperary Site name: Site 1(i), Gortmakellis

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0673

Author: Liam McKinstry, 9 Ballantyne Place, Steamboat Quay, Limerick, for Judith Carroll Network Archaeology Ltd.

Site type: Prehistoric roundhouse?

ITM: E 589004m, N 635830m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.473789, -8.161851

Excavation at Site 1(i) was carried out in Phase 3 investigations on behalf of South Tipperary County Council in advance of construction of the N8 Cashel Bypass and N74 Link Road. The scheme involves a 6km bypass route of the town and a 2km link road of the N74.

Site 1(i) was located between Chainages 8340 and 8480, south of the main Dublin road out of Cashel, and was 43m wide on average. A full topsoil-strip within this area took place, followed by the investigation of any archaeology found there.

Site 1(i) consisted of a circular structure with an inner circle of post-holes and a partial outer circle projecting from it to the north and north-west. Close to the structure were two pits to the immediate south and north; the southern pit showed evidence of burning. Several pieces of prehistoric pottery were identified in various contexts from within the circular structure and the features surrounding it. Other evidence within the site points to modern field clearance, such as a shallow curvilinear ditch running north-south in the eastern part of the site. There were also many clusters of what looked like stake-holes around pits to the north and west. On investigation, these stake-hole clusters proved to be tree boles or root activity and the curvilinear ditch proved to be a shallow boundary ditch. The ditch was c. 60m long, 1.52m wide and 0.22m deep.

It is probable that the circular structure was a prehistoric roundhouse; the pottery found within it and the associated features could give the site a possible Bronze Age date. The projecting lines and arcs of post- and stake-holes could be paddocks or wind breaks associated with the roundhouse. The pit to the south could possibly have been used as an oven or kiln. Other possible clusters and arcs of post- and stake-holes were found to the south and west of the roundhouse, but there was no discernible pattern to these features. The large shallow ditch, tree boles and roots seem to be very recent evidence of field clearance, according to local sources. These sources claimed that in recent years extensive field alteration and vegetation clearance had taken place around this area and this could explain the lack of occupation layers within the roundhouse.