2003:1765 - Site 25(iv), Kilscobin, Tipperary

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Tipperary Site name: Site 25(iv), Kilscobin

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0807

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

Site type: Enclosure and corn-drying kilns

ITM: E 609260m, N 640410m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.514988, -7.863567

Site 25(iv) 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. The scheme involves a 6km bypass route of the town and a 2km link road of the N74. The excavation commenced in July 2003 for a period of six weeks. Due to an adjustment in the line of the bypass, 50% of the enclosure remained unexcavated. The site lay on the northern side of a low hill.

The excavation uncovered the remains of a previously unknown circular enclosure measuring c. 24m by 28m. It was defined by a ditch, 1.8-2.25m wide by up to 1.55m deep. The ditch was steep sided with a tapered profile and a flat base. It was filled with layers of silts, sands and clays. Animal bones, a stone spindle whirl and a single sherd of glazed medieval pottery were recovered from the fill. A large quantity of limestone was dumped into the upper fill along the north side of the enclosure. Fragments of clay pipe, corroded metal objects and post-medieval pottery were found within the dumped material. There was no evidence of a bank or of an entrance into the enclosure. A large circular pit, 8.52m in diameter and 1.25m deep, partially truncated the northern edge of the enclosure ditch. The pit was used as a stone dump and several sherds of post-medieval pottery were recovered from the base.

A possible circular structure, with a diameter of 4.05m, was located towards the centre of the enclosure (unexcavated). The structure was defined by a slot-trench, 0.51m wide, with a possible entrance on the south-east side. Three stake-holes were within the structure. Four additional post-holes and three pits were in close proximity to the structure (unexcavated).

Two corn-drying kilns were uncovered 20m to the south-west of the enclosure, one partially overlying the other. Several post-holes and stake-holes were around the edge of the kilns. The two kilns differed considerably in construction technique. The lower kiln was a simple elongated pit, but the upper kiln had two chambers linked by a flue and was lined with rough limestone. The earlier of the two kilns was aligned north-south and had a length of 4.12m, a width of 0.85m and a depth of 1.18m. The kiln was an oblong shape with steep sides and a rounded base which sloped from north to south giving the kiln a U-shaped profile. A thin lens of charcoal-rich silty clay was found at the base of the kiln at the northern end and there was 0.15m of oxidised orange clay at the southern end of the kiln. The kiln appeared to have been abandoned at this stage and silted up naturally.

The second corn-drying kiln was aligned east-west and consisted of two circular bowl-shaped chambers, one of which was stone-lined, connected by a narrow curving stone-lined flue. The western chamber of the kiln had a diameter of 1.92m and was linked by a 2.9m-long flue to the eastern chamber, which had a diameter of 1.35m. The total length of the kiln was 6.17m. It is interesting to note that the eastern stone-lined chamber was positioned directly over the north end of the first corn-drying kiln. The fire spot was identified within the western chamber and a thin lens of charcoal was found at the base of the eastern chamber.

The remains of disused field systems were uncovered throughout the site. To the south of the main enclosure were the remnants of an east-west-aligned drainage ditch that truncated the corn-drying kilns to the south. A second north-south-aligned drainage ditch terminated within the upper fill of the enclosure ditch and extended off the site to the north. The plough furrows were aligned north-east/south-west and cut across the upper fill of the enclosure ditch. Sherds of post-medieval pottery were recovered from within the ditches and furrows. A single boundary ditch aligned north-east/south-west was cut by the enclosure ditch. An unpolished mudstone axe was recovered from the base of the ditch.