NMI Burial Excavation Records


Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 25:16(01) Licence number: 04E0981

Author: Ellinor Larsson, c/o Arch-Tech Ltd, 32 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2.

Site type: Early historic settlement/fulacht fiadh

ITM: E 718925m, N 724248m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.255252, -6.217696

An excavation of nine areas of archaeological interest was undertaken as a result of a testing (No. 644 above, 04E0501) and monitoring programme (No. 645 above, 04E0777) at the site of a residential development at Kilgobbin Lane/Enniskerry Road, Kilgobbin, Stepaside, Co. Dublin, in the summer of 2004. The sites were in two fields directly to the west and south of the Early Christian church of Kilgobbin and a repositioned high cross. During monitoring, fourteen areas of archaeological significance were identified dispersed throughout the development, with a high concentration in the immediate vicinity of the church.

Field 1 was to the west of the church and contained two large (Areas D1 and E) and four smaller (Areas D2, D3, D4 and F) areas of archaeological interest. Of these, Area D4 was excavated under licence 04E0981. Areas D1, D2, D3, E and F have been described under licence 04E0777 and were subsequently excavated by Teresa Bolger (No. 647 below, 04E1373).

Area D4 consisted of one small pit, through excavation revealed to be of post-medieval/modern date.

Field 2 contained eight areas of archaeological interest (Areas A, B1-B6 and C) that were of late prehistoric to medieval date, including a portion of a fulacht fiadh, an area of ironworking, a possible kiln, pits, post-holes and ditches. The majority of the features were located in the northern part of the field and may indicate a secular element of the adjacent Kilgobbin Church.

Area A consisted of a single pit with two fills and was cut by a shallow drain. The pit contained no finds and the environmental analysis of the content is ongoing.

Area B1 measured c. 30m by c. 20m and contained a large number of features, comprising two large linear ditches, pits, post- and stake-holes and areas of burning. The density of smaller features suggests this to be the location of more than one structure, but no pattern was discernible. Two corroded iron knives were found in the upper fill of one of the large ditches and an unidentified lump of corroded iron was found in a small pit. Pottery from topsoil comprised a number of sherds of unglazed medieval cooking ware of local type and occasional sherds with a translucent greenish/yellow glaze on the dorsal side.

Area B2 comprised one possible kiln and two pits and can be interpreted as peripheral features associated with the larger Area B1. One of the pits consisted of a large subrectangular cut that truncated the figure-of-eight-shaped cut, possibly a kiln. The possible kiln cut contained six fills, of which the basal fill yielded a small piece of struck flint.

Area B3 was situated 6m south-east of Area B1 and may also be associated with it. The recorded features comprised four post-holes, ten stake-holes and two pits. There was no identifiable pattern to the features but they may indicate a possible structure.

Area B4 was located 9m to the north of Area B1 and consisted of one subcircular pit containing three fills. At the base of the cut was an assemblage of stones, of which two showed signs of working.

Area B5 consisted of two pits, one post-hole and one shallow linear feature and can be interpreted as a peripheral addition to Area B1 to the south. The area is likely to extend to the north beyond the limit of the topsoil-stripping, an area which revealed several features of archaeological significance during the testing programme (No. 644 above, 04E0501). Sherds of unglazed medieval pottery were found within the features.

Area B6 consisted of an irregular spread of charcoal-rich soil containing a large number of iron-slag fragments. This area was identified during an earlier testing programme (No. 644 above, 04E0501) and can be interpreted as a possible metalworking area containing eight post-holes, one stake-hole, two linear features and five pits. The full extent of the site was obscured by the limit of the monitoring programme. One undiagnostic iron object was found in this area.

Area C consisted of a portion of a fulacht fiadh, of which the main part is located under the Enniskerry road. The excavated area was located in the higher part of Field 2 in association with a natural spring. The spread consisted of black, charcoal-stained grit/sand made up of decayed/fire-affected granite mixed with black soil. No cut features or finds associated with the fulacht fiadh were identified. It is envisaged that further construction work to be undertaken in order to consolidate the present boundary wall along the Enniskerry road will impact on the remainder of the monument and will necessitate further archaeological mitigation.

The post-excavation analysis of the sites is ongoing.