2004:0169 - SITE AR104, KILLOW, Clare

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Clare Site name: SITE AR104, KILLOW

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E0191

Author: Kate Taylor, TVAS Ireland Ltd, Ahish, Ballinruan, Crusheen, Co. Clare.

Site type: Enclosed hilltop and burnt-stone spread

ITM: E 536786m, N 675155m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.823647, -8.937925

This excavation on the N18 Ennis bypass revealed evidence of a partially enclosed small hill, a number of pits, some representing cremation burials, and burnt-stone-producing activity. None of this activity is at present dated, although the prehistoric period is indicated by the presence of a number of pieces of worked chert in the topsoil. It is not clear whether the different features were contemporary. The hillock is a gravel ‘island’ in a very boggy landscape located to the south of the Doora to Clarecastle road and is a glacially formed drumlin.

The hilltop was enclosed on three sides by a pair of concentric ditches. These were shallow and do not appear to have been defensive, although with a fence or hedge they may have served to contain stock. The loose nature of the gravel lends itself to disturbance by agriculture and tree roots and the ditches may originally have formed a complete circuit around the hill.

The majority of the pits were located outside the circuit of the ditches. Several may represent cremation burials, suggesting a funerary site; however, animal bone was recovered from a larger number of features and the site may therefore be domestic in character.

A spread of burnt stone and charcoal-rich soil was excavated at the base of the hill on the edge of the bog. No directly related cut features such as troughs or hearths were revealed in the excavated area, although the burnt-stone material extended slightly beyond the road CPO.

The most significant artefact found at this site was a well-preserved wooden bowl. The bowl was found beneath 1.25m of peat and at the same level as the burnt-stone spread. It is quite possible therefore that it is prehistoric. The bowl was made from a piece of turned ash, has a diameter of 225mm and is 10mm thick. The vessel is currently being conserved. If radiocarbon dating provides an early date, then the bowl will be one of only a handful of similar objects found in Ireland.