2004:0325 - DISPENSARY LANE, RATHCORMAC, Cork

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Cork Site name: DISPENSARY LANE, RATHCORMAC

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 44:49(01, 02) Licence number: 04E0221

Author: Colm Moloney, Headland Archaeology Ltd, Unit 4b, Europa Enterprise Park, Midleton, Co. Cork.

Site type: Post-medieval enclosure

ITM: E 580763m, N 591792m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.077732, -8.280635

A possible ringfort was identified by Eamonn Cotter within an area proposed for development during initial investigations in 2000 (Excavations 2000, No. 150, 00E0250). In 2003, further testing was undertaken by the writer, confirming the presence of a badly truncated ditch (Excavations 2003, No. 330, 03E1760). It was recommended that this archaeologically sensitive area be excavated in advance of any development at the site.

Excavation was conducted between 22 March and 9 April 2004. This confirmed the presence of a large arc-shaped ditch which joined up with the existing boundaries of the neighbouring Church of Ireland church. The ditch appears to define the extent of the church lands rather than representing a ringfort, as previously believed (Cotter op. cit.) A smaller internal ditch was also noted, together with a burnt spread. Sixteen sherds of post-medieval pottery were recovered during the removal of topsoil and two sherds were recovered from the primary fill of the large ditch.

The Church of Ireland church, known as Christ Church, is likely to have been built on the site of the medieval parish church of Rathcormack, no trace of which remains above ground. On the 1845 first-edition OS map (Sheet 44), an area enclosing the proposed development and the church and graveyard immediately north is dashed in. This may denote glebe land. Interestingly, the large arc of ditch forms a continuation of the line dashed in on the 1845 map, suggesting that the ditch may form part of an earlier subcircular boundary, probably post-medieval in date.