2004:0457 - SITE 6:1, GRANGE, BALDOYLE, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: SITE 6:1, GRANGE, BALDOYLE

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E0701

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

Site type: Fulacht fiadh

ITM: E 724541m, N 740359m

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

Site 6:1 was situated on the 9m contour in the northwestern quadrant of the development site, on the south-east-facing slope of an area of high ground. There was low-lying, marshy ground to the south and east. It was found during topsoil-stripping of a new town development and comprised five subcircular and subrectangular pit features, a spread of burnt-mound material and a west-north-west/east-southeast-orientated linear feature. One pit had a stake-hole in each corner, whilst another had six stake-holes arranged around its base.

The linear feature, measuring 6m in length and 0.45m in width, had a maximum depth of 0.1m and cut through the northern corner of one pit and also the northern half of another. It was exclusively filled by dark-greyish-brown/black charcoal-rich silty clay containing occasional to moderate angular and sub-angular pebbles and small stones, the majority of which were heat-shattered.

The surviving spread of burnt-mound material was confined to the south-eastern corner of the site area. A small extension to the area was made after it became clear that the spread extended beyond the confines of the site boundary. It was eventually revealed as a subcircular spread of over 3m in diameter.

The pits were subcircular or subrectangular in shape and varied in size from 1.1m in diameter up to 1.78m in length, 1.66m in maximum width, with depths of 0.15-0.3m. One of the pits yielded a single piece of struck chert and a possible decorated hammer stone, but no other artefacts were recovered. They were all filled with material very similar in nature to the linear feature.

The two large subrectangular pits were interpreted as trough pits. They had stake-holes in each corner, which suggests one of two things: the use of a frame or suspension device for a cauldron or similar object, perhaps even the object being boiled, or the securing in place of a wooden trough, either a box constructed of planks or a woven structure.

The smaller pit features are unlikely to have functioned in quite the same way as the larger trough pits and almost certainly did not contain wooden inserts. It is not unfeasible, though, that they could have been used as smaller steaming or boiling pits. There was no evidence of oxidisation of the edges to suggest burning in situ, so they cannot be interpreted as roasting pits or hearths. The closest hearth-type feature is Site 6:3 (No. 459 below, 04E0703) located 70m to the north.

The linear feature is intriguing, as it cuts two pit features, one of them a trough pit. As it appears to have cut through the deposit within the pits, it is almost certainly quite a good deal later in date than the rest of the site.

Post-excavation analysis and research is ongoing.