2004:0033 - RECTORY FIELDS, RACEVIEW ROAD, BROUGHSHANE, Armagh

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Armagh Site name: RECTORY FIELDS, RACEVIEW ROAD, BROUGHSHANE

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: AE/03/48

Author: Cia McConway, Archaeological Development Services Ltd, Unit 48, Westlink Enterprise Centre, 30-50 Distillery Street, Belfast BT12 5BJ.

Site type: Neolithic landscape

ITM: E 714407m, N 906229m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.890731, -6.216648

Archaeological excavation continued into 2004 (see Excavations 2003, No. 13, for a report of the previous season) and uncovered further evidence of an extensive prehistoric landscape with evidence of occupation – a rectangular house 7.2m northwest/south-east by 2.6m with a possible 3m-long annex along the south-east, post-holes, hearths, rubbish pits and evidence of industrial activity associated with fresh lithics and food processing as evidenced by the recovery of charred hazelnut shells. Polished stone axes, lithics and pottery recovered from these features would suggest a Neolithic date.

Two shallow north-south linear gullies were uncovered 10m and 13m to the west of the house. A truncated causeway was recorded along the inner gully directly in line with the western side of the house and, along with the recovery of Neolithic pottery and a broken polished stone axe, appears to be contemporary and probably associated with the house. The inner gully can be traced for a further c. 70m to the south before turning east and disappearing beyond the limits of the site. It is postulated that these gullies had originally held palisades and had formally enclosed the house.

Also uncovered were a number of large irregular pits, which on excavation were seen to be the result of a number of substantial intercutting pits. In general these pits cut through a thick band of concreted subsoil and into the underlying friable fine gravels. Crudely struck flint and charcoal were recovered from these features, suggesting a prehistoric date for them. The function of these pits remains unclear, but it would seem that in the first instance they may have been dug to facilitate gravel extraction and then the softer infill was re-excavated during later, possibly Bronze Age, occupation of the site.

Excavations at this site continued under the direction of Moira O’Rourke, licence no AE/04/68 (report not received).