2004:0454 - SITE 5:2, GRANGE, BALDOYLE, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: SITE 5:2, GRANGE, BALDOYLE

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E0698

Author: Stuart D. Elder, The Archaeology Company, Birr Technology Centre, Mill Island, Birr, Co. Offaly.

Site type: Pit

ITM: E 724541m, N 740359m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.398671, -6.127252

Site 5:2 was found during topsoil-stripping and was situated on a gentle south-east-facing slope. The site comprised an oval pit featuring a metalled base and intense burning in situ and contained two charcoal-rich deposits. The pit was cut on its western side by a later field boundary ditch, running roughly north-south across the development, which was not visible on the field surface prior to topsoil-stripping.

The uppermost fill was mixed and mottled dark-brown clay silt containing occasional sub-angular and sub-rounded pebbles and small stones, occasional to moderate lumps and flecks of charcoal and occasional lumps of burnt clay. The middle fill was dark-reddishbrown silty clay containing occasional sub-angular and sub-rounded pebbles, occasional lumps and flecks of charcoal, dark-orangey lumps of burnt clay and occasional fragments of burnt sandstone. The lower fill was a circular deposit of dark-greyish-brown silty clay containing sub-angular and sub-rounded pebbles and small stones in varying proportions and frequent lumps and flecks of charcoal. Some of the stones comprising this deposit showed signs of heat-reddening.

The base of the feature was lined with a thin layer of burnt sub-rounded stones pressed into the clay at the base of the cut. The cut of the pit itself was oval in plan, with steep concave sides and a concave base. It was 1.44m in length, 1.04m in width and had a maximum depth of 0.2m. The base and lower edges of the pit also showed evidence of oxidisation through heat.

The evidence from the excavation of this site suggests that it was constructed as a deliberate hearth. The layer of small stones at the base of the feature appears to represent a bed on to which combustible material could be placed. It is presently unclear as to the original purpose of the fire, as there were no artefacts to suggest industrial or domestic processes, but it is hoped that analysis of environmental samples will yield some clues that may lead to a satisfactory interpretation of the site.

Three other sites were located in the general vicinity and all featured pits with charcoal-rich fills. This complex of features, therefore, may represent thus far unknown and undated industrial activity centred on the production of charcoal at Site 5:1 (No. 446 above, 03E1535). It is thought likely at this stage, however, that the site is dated to the Bronze Age period. Post-excavation is currently ongoing.