2004:0351 - BALLYNACALLY BEG, Derry

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Derry Site name: BALLYNACALLY BEG

Sites and Monuments Record No.: LDY011–053 Licence number: AE/04/88

Author: Norman Crothers, Archaeological Development Services Ltd.

Site type: Habitation site and Ring-ditch

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

ITM: E 681824m, N 922215m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 55.040720, -6.719815

A large oval feature filled with a charcoal-rich dark-brown silty clay was noted during the watching brief for the North-West Gas Pipeline approximately 10m from the southern limit of the working width. Hand clearance uncovered several further features and the general area around them was cleaned using a small mechanical excavator under supervision. When the area around the exposed pits was cleaned, many additional features were revealed.

The house remains comprised a wall slot, a porch, a gap on its south-west side and internal post-holes. The wall slot was subcircular in shape, measuring 9.6m north-south by 9m, and enclosed an area of some 78.5m2. A gap on its south-west side appears to be original. Each side of the gap had an in-turned terminal and post-hole, and a large pit in the centre of the gap may have held a large post. The original doorway on the south-east had a post-hole on either side, with a third post-hole at the end of a short out-turned extension on the east side. The porch was probably a later addition and comprised a slot and post-hole on the west side and a slot and post-hole on the east side. An arc of six internal post-holes would have held the posts of a ring-beam to support the roof. A metalled area of small stones set in a clay matrix lay immediately inside the south-east door.

Two elongated pits seem to respect the line of the wall slot and may be contemporary with the structure. Some of the other internal features may also be contemporary, but, in the absence of stratigraphical relationships, this is not certain. A shallow linear feature, a large oval pit and a post-hole certainly post-date the structure. A single sherd of late Bronze Age pottery was recovered from the surface fill of a large pit and a second sherd from another pit.

A single, large pit lay immediately outside the south-east door of the house and a group of thirteen large pits and a gully lay some 10m to the south of the house. A possible ring-ditch lay 4m to the east of the house. The northern half of the ditch was well preserved, but the southern half had been badly truncated by a series of three pits, making its overall dimensions uncertain. A curvilinear gully, 6m long, lay 1.5m south-east of the house. Sherds of Bronze Age pottery were recovered from two pits, a gully and a post-hole.

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