2003:1944 - Williamstown, Waterford

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Waterford Site name: Williamstown

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1755

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

Site type: Prehistoric

ITM: E 663057m, N 609610m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.234612, -7.076832

A possible circular enclosure was excavated in advance of the construction of the Waterford Outer Ring Road. This was identified during testing of the proposed route and was originally believed to span two fields. Therefore it was proposed that a section of the road corridor be stripped and investigated in both Fields 3 and 4. An area of 50m by 40m and 40m by 30m was stripped in each field.

Excavation in Field 3 revealed a deep circular ditch, c. 30m in diameter and 2m in depth. The ditch was broadly V-shaped and measured c. 2m in width at the top and c. 0.4m at the base. The fill appeared to slope in from outside the ditch and therefore implied the presence of an external bank. The depth of topsoil in this field was c. 0.4m and the enclosure was heavily plough truncated. A field boundary and relatively modern roadway cut the enclosure at the west, which resulted in the destruction of c. 30% of the ditch. An entrance comprised of a causeway of natural subsoil left intact during the original construction phase of the enclosure was identified in the south-east of the ditch. Internal features included the truncated remains of post-holes, stake-holes and pits. No coherent relationship was identified between these features during excavation, but a better understanding of their significance may be gleaned during the post-excavation process.

A number of artefacts were recovered from the enclosure. These included a possible grinding stone, a possible iron shovel blade, possible prehistoric pottery, iron slag and a small quantity of animal bone.

The site has been tentatively identified as a ring-ditch with a Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age date.

Field 4 contained a ditch, originally thought to have comprised part of the enclosure (above) during the testing phase of the project. During excavation, this ditch was interpreted as a possible 18th/19th-century field boundary; however, a number of potentially prehistoric features were revealed. These included a potential cremation pit, some larger pits, a number of post-holes and stake-holes and a small pit that contained prehistoric pottery. Evidence of burning was also uncovered. Many of the features in Field 4 were truncated by cultivation furrows.