2004:0316 - MITCHELSTOWN, Cork

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Cork Site name: MITCHELSTOWN

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E1072

Author: Eamonn Cotter, for Eachtra Archaeological Projects, Ballycurreen Industrial Estate, Kinsale Road, Cork.

Site type: Bronze Age settlement

ITM: E 581573m, N 612694m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.265636, -8.269958

The site was discovered during test-trenching along the route of the Mitchelstown inner relief road and comprised a cluster of stake-holes and two areas of burnt clay. Excavation was carried out from 3 August to 24 September 2004.

An area measuring 31m north-south by 26m was stripped of topsoil, revealing a dense cluster of features. The principal features were three houses, constructed in at least two phases. All three houses were of similar morphology, being subcircular in plan with entrances c. 1m wide, facing east.

House A comprised a shallow slot-trench (c. 0.3m wide and c. 0.15m deep) enclosing an area 9.7m north-south by 8.5m, with an internal ring of nine post-holes. An internal slot-trench running north-south, with post-holes at each end, seemed to represent an internal dividing wall creating a space 8.5m north-south and 2m wide inside the entrance. A small patch of burnt clay in the larger, western compartment probably marked the location of the hearth.

House B was located c. 1m south of House A. It measured 10.7m north-south by 10m and it too comprised a slot-trench and an internal ring of postholes, nine in this case, but one had almost certainly been destroyed by a post-medieval boundary ditch which ran east-west across the southern end of the site. There was no evidence of a hearth in this structure.

Both of these houses had cut through House C. The latter was 10.8m north-south by 9.6m and comprised a ring of eleven post-holes. There was no evidence of a slot-trench, though this could have been destroyed during the construction of Houses A and B. A hearth survived near the centre of structure C, in the form of a large pit filled with ashes.

A dense cluster of stake-holes occurred in the area where the three houses overlapped. These stake-holes did not seem to form any coherent pattern and appeared to pre-date the houses. They may represent earlier, transitory activity.

No datable artefacts were recovered from the site, and radiocarbon dates are awaited. By comparison with similar structures excavated elsewhere, it is assumed that the houses date to the Bronze Age.