2003:1848 - Pubble Rath, Pubble, Newtownstewart, Tyrone

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Tyrone Site name: Pubble Rath, Pubble, Newtownstewart

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: AE/03/19

Author: Stephen Gilmore, Northern Archaeological Consultancy Ltd, Farset Enterprise Park, 638 Springfield Road, Belfast BT12 7DY.

Site type: Rath

ITM: E 640353m, N 886394m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.723986, -7.373601

The proposed development site, in the townland of Pubble, was north of and across the river from the town of Newtownstewart. The site was just off the Douglas Road, which ran north-west out of the town. It was 300m north of the River Strule.

A section of the rath was damaged by levelling for a new house and garden. This was mechanically excavated without supervision, exposing archaeological material.

The brief for the archaeological work included the cleaning and recording of the exposed section face and a restrip of the area between the new house location and the exposed section. The topsoil heap at the south end of the site was to be examined and metal-detected. Finally, the exposed section was to be stabilised and covered to prevent further damage and erosion.

In late March 2003 the exposed section face was cleaned. The spoil heap was moved to expose the end of the section. Since the area under the spoil had not been topsoil-stripped, it was not disturbed. The surface of the exposed subsoil was restripped using a flat bucket. The subsoil was extremely sandy, with concentrations of clay-rich material and stones. Nothing was found on the site, except for the area near the exposed section face and the southern piles of topsoil.

Upon re-scraping of the surface, a dark spread was exposed, composed of material similar in colour and nature to the topsoil. It was very dark grey and very organic. It appeared to be part of a curving linear feature, which appeared from under the position of the spoil heap and arced north-westwards for about 6m before curving back north-east towards the section face, where it petered out. A trench was excavated at the northern end, which established that it was the truncated remains of a ditch that had been excavated away. It appeared to be the surviving base of the ringfort’s ditch. It was about 12m in length and 1.5m in width at its southern end and less than 0.4m in width at the northern end.