2004:0349 - BALLYMAGRORTY AND SHANTALLOW: Templemore Road/Buncrana Road, Derry

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Derry Site name: BALLYMAGRORTY AND SHANTALLOW: Templemore Road/Buncrana Road

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: AE/04/035

Author: Paul McCooey, c/o NAC

Site type: Pit-burial

Period/Dating: Bronze Age (2200 BC-801 BC)

ITM: E 642392m, N 919686m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 55.022922, -7.337050

The site was extremely disturbed, and the top of the hill was uneven with several hollows. The most pronounced of these was at the south-west end and extended south-east/north-west across the top of the hill. It was in this hollow that a small Bronze Age cremation burial was uncovered. No other archaeology or artefacts were encountered. The cremation was covered by a small piece of shale, but this may not represent an original capstone, as some scarping seems to have taken place (the pot is missing its base). The deposit was subcircular with a length of 0.3m and a width of 0.25m. A band of dark-brown/grey soil circled the outer edge of the cremation. Within this band lay the cremation proper. The pottery, probably an urn, lay in a very dark-brown/black soil and had been broken, the damage appearing to have taken place mainly in antiquity but also due to the action of the digger that revealed it.

The working assumption at this stage is of a Bronze Age date for the cremation, based on the shape of and the decoration on the pottery, in conjunction with method of burial. There are incised chevrons in a panel circling the vessel just below the rim. Just below the panel there is evidence of a slight 'collar', possibly making this vessel a collared urn. The everted rim and the shape of the urn and the curve of the pot from below the decorative panel suggest it could be a vase urn. Analysis is being undertaken at present. However, both of these types of urn date from the Early Bronze Age and at this stage a date between 2500 and 1200 BC can be presumed for the cremation. Radiocarbon dating of the burnt bone should provide an accurate date for the burial.

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