2003:1908 - Knockhouse Upper 3, Waterford

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Waterford Site name: Knockhouse Upper 3

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0340

Author: Aidan O'Connell, Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd, Unit 21, Boyne Business Park, Greenhills, Drogheda, Co. Louth.

Site type: Burnt mound; 19th-century brickyard

ITM: E 655655m, N 612336m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.259911, -7.184738

The site at Knockhouse Upper 3 was excavated in advance of construction of the N25 Waterford Bypass. It was initially located during centre-line testing of the proposed route by Deirdre Murphy (Excavations 2002, No. 1799, 02E0274).

The remains of a ploughed-out fulacht fiadh were located at the east of the site. The burnt spread was 7m east-west by 5m (maximum) by 0.15m deep. It consisted of black carbonised silty clay in a burnt stone matrix that was mixed with the topsoil, a mid-brown clay loam. A single sherd of modern pottery was excavated from this context. The inclusion of this modern artefact within this context, as well as the mixing of burnt mound material with topsoil, is the probable result of modern agricultural activity. The burnt spread was associated with an oval unlined trough, 2.16m north-east/south-west by 1.56m. It was 0.35m deep and had straight sides leading to a flat base. The fill consisted of black carbonised silty clay in a matrix of small, heat-shattered stone.

The site also contained the remains of an extensive 19th-century brickworks. This consisted of seven brick kilns, two drains, a linear brick trackway and two extensive spreads of brick rubble.

The seven brick kilns were of similar construction. They consisted of rows of unbonded brick with the basal one to two courses remaining in situ and lying directly on the grey mastic boulder clay. The main body of bricks in each row was laid flat, with the long axis of each brick aligned perpendicular to the row. These shall be referred to as horizontal bricks. Single bricks were then placed longitudinally and to one side. These shall be referred to as vertical bricks. In rows containing two courses of bricks, an overlap was created between the vertical and horizontal bricks of alternating courses. There was no bonding material used in the creation of the brick rows, with the overlap between courses providing the only structural solidity. The bricks had average dimensions of 0.22m long by 70mm wide by 60mm deep. Between each row of bricks was a deposit of grey clay, c. 0.4-0.5m wide, with frequent inclusions of brick rubble and coal/anthracite fragments. The kilns were overlain by an extensive spread of brick rubble that ranged in depth from 82mm at its outer edges to 0.39m towards its centre.