2004:0080 - ASKEA, Carlow

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Carlow Site name: ASKEA

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E1436

Author: Ros î Maoldœin, Valerie J. Keeley Ltd, Brehon House, Kilkenny Road, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny.

Site type: Burnt mound

ITM: E 672882m, N 675797m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.828197, -6.918509

This excavation was undertaken as part of the archaeological programme for the proposed inner relief road for Carlow town. The excavation was conducted from October to November 2004. The project is being funded by the government of Ireland under the National Development Plan 2000-2006.

The site was initially discovered during monitoring of topsoil-stripping prior to development and identified as a ‘large spread of dark soil with burnt and heat-shattered stone throughout’ and a ‘possible wood-lined trough’. After excavating the sections it became apparent that there was a layer of peat lying below the majority of the mound material and a second lying between two distinct deposits of mound material. Upon further excavation it was also noticeable that to the south and east of the site the lower mound material continued down directly onto the natural. Two models could explain this stratigraphic sequence.

Firstly, it is possible that more than one phase of activity is represented and that this area, because of either environmental or cultural determinants, was chosen to carry out a similar process on at least two occasions. A second possible scenario is that a standing mound after a lapse of time, represented by the initial accumulation of peat, was partially levelled.

After excavating all peat and mound material, a partially burnt tinder pile and associated hearth, sporadic patches of oxidisation and a number of large timbers were uncovered. These lay directly under the lower peaty layer and are probably the remains of a purpose-built fire, created to heat the shattered stones found throughout the mound material. No associated trough or pit was uncovered; however, the large timbers to the south-west of the tinder pile are placed at right angles to one another on a break of slope and formed a very effective dam during the excavation.