2004:0244 - CORK: 35-39 Main Street South, Cork

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Cork Site name: CORK: 35-39 Main Street South

Sites and Monuments Record No.: CO074-034001 Licence number: 04E0371

Author: Hilary Kelleher, Archaeological Services Unit, University College Cork

Site type: House - medieval

Period/Dating: Medieval (AD 400-AD 1600)

ITM: E 567237m, N 571672m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 51.896242, -8.476038

Large-scale excavation in advance of a mixed development commenced in July 2004 and is ongoing. The site is located within the historic core of Cork city, situated to the east of South Main Street and within the area enclosed by the city walls. To date, the earliest structures recorded on the site consist of two parallel oak fences aligned east-west. The stratigraphy represents a complex development of the natural topography at this site by the reclamation of areas contained by these fences and surrounded by the tidal channels of the River Lee. The base of these simple revetments at approximately 3m below ground level was driven into the natural clay and the surrounding ground levels were then artificially raised by the introduction of locally derived mud. The fences retained over 1.5m of clay. No date for the timbers used in their construction is available at present, but a late 11th-/early 12th-century date is expected. The evidence indicates that at least one of these revetments marks a later plot division within the site.

The purpose of introducing the reclaimed clays is clearly not only to raise the ground level above that of the high tide but also to create a solid foundation of impermeable material upon which to build. Towards the street front several floor levels of a timber-framed house and a series of east-west Hiberno-Norse-type houses have been excavated. The structural features uncovered included post-andwattle walls with rounded corners extending to a doorway in the side wall. These houses are similar to those excavated in Waterford, Dublin and recently in Cork (i.e. Type 2 of Wallace 1992). Two Type 1 houses are currently being investigated towards the street front (i.e. South Main Street). A number of pathways, trackways and boundary fences associated with occupation levels have also been recorded.

Analysis and conservation of the artefacts is under way.

Wallace, P.F. 1992 The Viking Age buildings of Dublin. Medieval Dublin Excavations Series A, vo1. 1, part 1. Dublin.