2004:0256 - CURRAGHPREVIN/FERMOY/MONDANIEL/ BALLYBROWNEY, Cork

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Cork Site name: CURRAGHPREVIN/FERMOY/MONDANIEL/ BALLYBROWNEY

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E0948

Author: Laurence Dunne, Eachtra Archaeological Projects, Ballycurreen Industrial Estate, Kinsale Road, Cork.

Site type: Monitoring

ITM: E 578215m, N 591812m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.077810, -8.317820

Monitoring of works took place, within previously untested or unresolved locations along the route of the new N8 Rathcormac/Fermoy bypass, between June 2004 and January 2005. These works occurred both within and outside of the extents of the CPO. Monitoring of external works took place in the townlands of Curraghprevin, Fermoy, Mondaniel and Ballybrowney between September and December 2004.

Grounds adjacent to the road-take at Curraghprevin and Mondaniel were utilised as permanent topsoil tip sites. The existing topsoil at these locations was first stripped and mounded under supervision. Archaeological remains were encountered at both sites, but, as no further excavation or construction works were to take place at either location, the in situ preservation of these remains was facilitated.

The tip site at Curraghprevin is located on a hill slope to the south of the existing N8 and north of the River Flesk. Two disturbed fulachta fiadh were exposed within the flood-plain, at the base of the hill, at a distance of 30-40m from the northern riverbank (179365 088816 and 179317 088760). A third, truncated, fulacht fiadh was encountered on the hill slope at a distance of 114m from the river (179366 088930).

The tip site in the townland of Mondaniel is situated to the immediate west of the road-take in an undulating area. A shallow stream extends across the centre of the tip site in a north-south orientation. A spread of fulacht fiadh material was encountered 4.5m to the west of the stream (180203 093785). The exposed feature measured 11.5m north-south by 8m. Three potential pits were also recorded on a rise, approximately 130m to the south-east of the fulacht fiadh. The easternmost of these features was sub-oval in form and aligned in a north-east/south-west orientation (180322 093734). It measured 1.15m in maximum length and 0.9m in width. Two potential fills were recorded on the feature's surface. The uppermost deposit comprised scorched, sandy clay and this overlay a dark, blackish-brown sandy clay containing moderate amounts of charcoal flecks. This pit was 3.5m to the east-north-east of a second, smaller pit, subcircular in shape, measuring 0.6m north-south by 0.4m (180316 093733). Incised sherds of prehistoric pottery of potentially Bronze Age date were detected on the surface. This feature contained two fills: a mid-brown sandy clay containing occasional charcoal flecks and small sub-angular stones and a basal fill of a dark-brown sandy clay with moderate amounts of charcoal flecks. The third feature was located 4.5m to the west-north-west of the latter pit (180310 093737). It comprised an irregularly shaped spread of charcoal-rich material measuring 1.75m east-west by 1.6m.

External works in the townland of Ballybrowney Lower, Rathcormac, involved topsoil-stripping in advance of the temporary realignment of the existing Ballybrowney road, the R614. A number of features of archaeological significance were investigated. The sites are near to where a significant settlement, dating to the Middle Bronze Age, had been excavated by Eamonn Cotter in 2003 (Excavations 2003, No. 149, 03E1058). The primary feature recorded is a small, circular enclosure, potentially a house structure, with an internal diameter of 4m. It is located immediately to the west of the motorway mainline (179129 090559). The enclosing element is a circular ditch measuring 0.8m wide, with a sandy clay fill. A narrow band of charcoal-rich material was apparent within this ditch. Its date is uncertain but it may well be contemporary with the nearby settlement excavated in 2003 (i.e. c. 1600 BC). The enclosure was truncated by a linear ditch of uncertain date. The second feature exposed during this phase of works is a 6m-long section of a larger, circular enclosure, part of which was uncovered during the 2003 programme of excavations. It was estimated that the entire enclosure measured c. 22m in diameter, approximately half of which lay within the road-take. Its enclosing element was a slot-trench, which was c. 0.2m wide and c. 0.4m deep. The recently exposed segment of this enclosure is located c. 65m to the north-west of the potential round house, on the eastern side of the motorway mainline (179197 090583). These features will be excavated early in 2005.

External works were also monitored at two locations in Fermoy townland, immediately east of Fermoy town, at the site of a borrow pit and a bridge crossing. Topsoil-stripping prior to the quarrying of material at the borrow pit revealed at least six individual spreads of burnt-mound material at the top of a steep, north-sloping hill, to the south of the Courthouse Road. These features are to be excavated in January 2005.

In preparation for the construction of the Blackwater River viaduct, topsoil was mechanically stripped, within the flood-plain to the south of the river and north of the Courthouse Road, in September 2004. These works occurred to the east of, and perpendicular to, the road-take to facilitate the foundations of the bridge structure. No features of an archaeological nature were encountered at this location.