2003:1794 - Tipperary NR Civic Offices, Limerick Road, Nenagh, Tipperary

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Tipperary Site name: Tipperary NR Civic Offices, Limerick Road, Nenagh

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1295

Author: Robert O'Hara

Site type: Bronze Age cremation pits

ITM: E 585991m, N 679101m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.862640, -8.208044

Monitoring (No. 1793 above, 03E0416) carried out in advance of construction of the new Tipperary NR Civic Offices revealed four Later Bronze Age cremation pits. There was no surface indication of the burials, which remained as either cuts into subsoil or deposits within natural voids. Topsoil deposits were, on average, 0.5m thick and contained a number of modern ceramics as well as general urban rubbish. The subsoil was yellow/brown clay with frequent small to large pebbles and boulders. Prior to development, the greenfield site was traversed by a number of shallow drains, one of which had truncated Burial I. The remainder of the features survived in a relatively poor state of preservation and were very shallow. The bone is undergoing post-excavation analysis at present.

Burial I was contained within an irregularly shaped cut containing a deposit of stony mid-brown clay with moderate amounts of cremated human bone and charcoal. The cut was tear-shaped and measured 0.33m north-south by 0.2m. It was found at the base of a shallow ditch and survived to a depth of just 0.05m (56.9m OD). The cremated bone was spread rather evenly throughout the pit.

Burial II was located c. 5m to the north-east of Burial I and consisted of a deposit of dark-brown to black sandy clay with moderate amounts of evenly distributed charcoal and cremated bone in a shallow void. The roughly circular void was 0.2m in diameter and survived to a depth of 0.1m (56.72m OD).

Burial III was located c. 3m to the north-west of Burial II. The pit survived as an oval-shaped cut, with steep sides to the west becoming more gradual on the eastern side. The pit was 0.38m north-south by 0.22m and survived to a depth of 0.2m (56.81m OD). It contained dark-brown clay with occasional charcoal flecks and very occasional flecks of cremated bone. The pit contained the least amount of cremated bone of the burials and what did survive was rather small and nondescript.

Burial IV was probably the best preserved of the pits, despite surviving to a depth of just 0.15m (56.76m OD). The circular pit, 0.32m in diameter, had gradually sloping sides to the west becoming slightly steeper on the eastern side. It contained frequent amounts of charcoal and cremated bone in a black clay matrix. The bone was evenly distributed throughout the pit.

These are not the only prehistoric remains from the town. Eight ring-barrows also occur at Knockanpierce townland (identified in aerial photograph OSAP 3585) within the urban limits of the town. The occurrence of prehistoric burial sites at the site of a medieval óenach may be significant in understanding the role prehistoric territories played in the development of local later medieval kingdoms. Two developments previously investigated in this townland (Nenagh North) by Ken Hanley and Marcus Casey failed to identify archaeological deposits (Excavations 2000, Nos 953-4, 00E0567 and 00E0572, respectively).

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