2003:1860 - Ballyhoo, Waterford

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Waterford Site name: Ballyhoo

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1756

Author: Caitríona Gleeson, Headland Archaeology Ltd, Unit 4b, Europa Enterprise Park, Midleton, Co. Cork.

Site type: Possible field boundary and trackway

ITM: E 659335m, N 608112m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.221560, -7.131580

Excavation was carried out at Ballyhoo, Co. Waterford, in response to earlier testing on the site of the proposed Waterford Outer Ring Road. The proposed development involves the construction of a ring road around the south side of Waterford city. The area of excavation was located between Chainages c. 4140 and c. 4260. During testing by Linda Hegarty (No. 1921 below, 03E1174) a number of features of potential were identified in the north-east corner of Field 27 and the south-east of Field 28. These comprised two post-holes, two pits, four stake-holes and a ditch, found in three of the trenches in Field 28.

On fully stripping the 120m by 40m area, it became apparent that, with the exception of the ditch, all of the features noted during testing were of natural origin.

The excavations uncovered two landscape features of indeterminate date, a ditch and a possible trackway, both of which traversed the width of the proposed route. The ditch was the earlier of the two features and probably represented a field boundary. It was exposed for a distance of c. 50m and was 1.4m wide at the top, 0.7m in maximum depth and the sides sloped steeply to a flat base (0.45m wide). It was orientated north-south in alignment with two of the current field boundaries; however, in the absence of datable artefacts it is difficult to ascribe a date to it. The presence of a medieval church and graveyard in nearby Kill St Lawrence (SMR 17:5), along with the site's proximity to the medieval city of Waterford, may imply that this area was occupied and farmed during the medieval and post-medieval period and it is possible that the field boundary dates to this time.

The trackway was a later feature which cut the upper fill of the ditch and was represented by two parallel ditches, c. 1.5-2m apart, each measuring c. 0.8-0.9m wide and 0.12-0.15m deep. The track appeared to have run north-east/south-west along a slight break of slope in Field 28 and may have been used for moving livestock between fields and to and from a central farmstead. The fact that the trackway traversed and cut the upper fill of the ditch implies that there was not a contemporaneous relationship between the two features. It is possible that the trackway constituted a later field boundary which was broadly consistent with the location and alignment of the original division.