2003:1759 - Site 25(ii), Hughes' Lot East and Kilscobin, Tipperary

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Tipperary Site name: Site 25(ii), Hughes' Lot East and Kilscobin

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0730

Author: Neil Fairburn, Cocyn Uchaf, Moelfre, Anglesey, Wales, for Judith Carroll Network Archaeology Ltd.

Site type: Ringfort

ITM: E 609446m, N 640861m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.519038, -7.860814

Excavation at Site 25(ii) 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.

Phase 2 testing in testing area 25 (No. 1719 above, 03E0295) identified six separate areas of archaeological activity. Each of these six areas, designated 25(i-vi), were excavated under separate licences. Testing work in the area of Site 25(ii) had initially identified a small collection of pits and post-holes on the junction of the Kilscobin and Hughes’ Lot townlands. Topsoil-stripping revealed a much larger multi-phase site spreading across an area 200m by 30m, comprising one half of a bivallate ringfort containing an inhumation burial at the base of the outer ditch and a possible structure inside the inner ditch, a series of ditches and field boundaries, corn-drying kilns and a collection of pits and post-holes.

The previously unknown and unsuspected ringfort, c. 60m in diameter, was neatly bisected by the edge of the road-take. It comprised inner and outer ditches, both c. 2m deep and c. 2m wide. In the interior of the inner ditch were a series of post- and stake-holes and a group of stake-holes forming a semicircle, suggesting the remains of a structure. Between the inner and outer ditch there was a stone-lined corn-drying kiln, the shallow remains of a possible cremation and two pits with burnt material. The lowest fill of the inner ditch, close to the corn-drying kiln, contained what appeared to be the charcoal residues from the kiln, including burnt grain.

An east-west-oriented inhumation was contained in the bottom of the outer ditch. There were no grave goods with the body and the head was slightly raised up and supported by a stone. The position of the arms and legs would also suggest that the body had been tightly wrapped in a shroud.

The outer ditch was flattened along one side rather than being truly circular. This flattened portion appears to have made use of an earlier ditch, which was then subsequently widened and deepened. It is possible that the ringfort may have been located over the remains of a much earlier field system, possibly Bronze Age, as the original ditch reused by the ringfort continued on beyond the ringfort on either side and a few flint flakes were found in its fill.

On the north side of the ringfort, the possible early phase of ditches formed a rectilinear arrangement. In between the rectilinear ditches was a corn-drying kiln and what can be considered to be a ritual burial of a saddle quern and a rubber in a shallow pit. The soil in the shallow pit was oxidised red, suggesting that there had been a fire in the pit which had then been cleaned out before the deposition of the quern and rubber.

Overlying and cutting through some of the ditches were the later townland boundary and a large pit of c. 3m diameter and 2m deep, both containing post-medieval pottery.

On the south side of the ringfort were two sides of a possible rectilinear enclosure that was attached to the ringfort. Inside this enclosure were a number of pairs of post-holes, possibly part of a structure. Outside of this small enclosure was another group of post-holes and shallow gulleys, again possibly part of a structure. Positioned close to these post-holes was another corn-drying kiln.