2004:0480 - CASTLEKNOCK, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: CASTLEKNOCK

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E0935

Author: Kieran Campbell, with Jonathan Monteith, for CRDS Ltd, Unit 4, Dundrum Business Park, Dundrum, Dublin 14.

Site type: Medieval kiln, structure and ditches

ITM: E 709233m, N 737197m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.373652, -6.358419

This site was excavated following geophysical survey and test-trenching (No. 479 above, 04E0796) in advance of a residential development. The archaeological features uncovered consisted of a series of post/stake-holes with associated refuse pits and a curvilinear gully. A series of spreads sealed the post/stake-holes and contained a large quantity of medieval pottery and other domestic artefacts. These features seem to post-date a north-west/south-east gully which may be contemporary with another similar one immediately to the west. At the east of the site, a small kiln appeared to have been truncated by a later pit. The only kiln structure surviving consisted of a drystone setting or lining along the sides of a cut with oxidisation along the base.

Structural features indicated a small shelter or work area, centred on a hearth, in association with a series of refuse pits and a curvilinear gully. These features may be associated with the possible pottery kiln to the east, from which the spreads of charcoal and pottery-rich material may derive. An additional hearth was associated with very shallow post-holes or pits, which were unlikely to have been structural.

It is possible that this area was used for domestic or small-scale industrial practices. A large quantity of medieval pottery, c. 2989 sherds, was recovered, provisionally dating to the late 13th and early 14th centuries, including pottery wasters, ladles or pipkins with hooked handles, cooking vessels, and jugs with slashed and plain strap handles, thumbed rims and bases. Applied body decoration included so-called raspberry 'prunts'. A two-colour floor tile of probable 13th-century date was also found within the scorched backfill of an additional hearth. This corresponds to the provisional date for the majority of the pottery recovered from the site.

Metal finds included a copper-alloy stick pin, a pointed, folded copper-alloy lace end or small ferrule, two copper-alloy strap end plates, an iron fragment possibly from a pair of scissors, and two copper-alloy rings, as well as many iron objects such as nails, bolts and unidentifiable objects. Other finds included a spindle whorl, a fragment of a rotary quernstone and a carved, slightly serrated, bone piece possibly used to decorate pottery.

An additional two ditches were excavated to the west of the site. The fact that all of the various ditch and boundary features are oriented in a northwest/south-east direction suggests a continuation in the alignment of boundaries throughout the medieval and early modern periods. There were no visible boundary features on this orientation immediately prior to on-site works, and no boundary features are depicted on this alignment on any of the early cartographic sources.

In summary, there was inconclusive evidence for the production of pottery during the medieval period, juxtaposed with small-scale domestic or semi-industrial activity consisting of small workshops and stores.