2004:0151 - SITE AR131, CLAUREEN, Clare

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Clare Site name: SITE AR131, CLAUREEN

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E0026

Author: Graham Hull, TVAS Ireland Ltd, Ahish, Ballinruan, Crusheen, Co. Clare.

Site type: Ring-ditch

ITM: E 533477m, N 675924m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.830160, -8.987178

A near perfectly circular gully with a diameter of 6m was excavated on the N18 Ennis bypass. The gully was 0.5-1m wide and had a typical depth of 0.15-0.2m. The gully profile was V-shaped with a steeper edge at the inside. Charcoal-rich patches, in some cases with cremated bone, formed discrete deposits in the gully. It is very likely that the enclosure is prehistoric in date and the cremated bone indicates a funerary function. Similar small funerary enclosures have been excavated nearby (for example excavations by Thaddeus Breen and the writer at Ballygirreen on the N18 Newmarket-on-Fergus bypass, Excavations 2000, No. 45, 00E0284).

Three tiny glass beads (two yellow and one blue) were found in the sieved soil from the ring-gully. The beads did not seem to have been affected by heat and were probably placed in the ground with the dead person's (or persons') burnt remains. The low weight of the bone in each deposit indicated that they may not have been in situ pyre deposits but rather redeposited material or only representative memorial or cenotaph burials. It is noteworthy that ring-barrow and ring-gully funerary patterns in the later centuries BC and early centuries AD involved cremation with occasional small or token bone deposits and sometimes with small but significant items of glass or bronze. The Claureen burial site may thus be Later Iron Age in date.