2004:0170 - SITE AR54, KNOCKANEAN, Clare

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Clare Site name: SITE AR54, KNOCKANEAN

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04e0192

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

Site type: Stone-built enclosure

ITM: E 536909m, N 678839m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.856770, -8.936812

A near circular stone-built enclosure was excavated on the N18 Ennis bypass. The monument had a diameter of 23m, stood 1.5m high in places and was built directly onto the outcropping limestone bedrock. The wall was constructed from large unworked limestone boulders typically 0.3-0.4m across.

A narrow break was recognised at the south-south-west of the walled circuit. This ‘entrance’ was little more than a narrow gap in the stonework and had a maximum width of 0.5m. No features were present either internally or externally and no artefacts were recovered from the site.

There are at least seven circular enclosures within 1.5km of AR54 and, of these, some are ringforts or cashels, probably dating to the second half of the first millennium AD. It would be simple then to suggest that AR54 was part of an early medieval landscape. The enclosure was the same size as the cashel at AR25, 4km to the north at Carrowdotia (Excavations 2003, No. 90, 03E1442). However, there were a number of significant differences between the two structures. The cashel at AR25 had thick walls of a complex design but AR54 was much less substantial and was constructed in the same crude fashion as the surrounding field walls.

On balance, it can be suggested that AR54 was probably not a classic early medieval cashel but was a circular field that may have served as a cattle pen and is shown by map evidence to pre-date 1840.