2004:0678 - COROFIN, Galway

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Galway Site name: COROFIN

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E0122

Author: Richard Crumlish

Site type: Excavation - miscellaneous

Period/Dating: Undetermined

ITM: E 542840m, N 743397m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.437565, -8.860271

Pre-development testing was carried out between 29 January and 6 February 2004 at a site at Corofin, Co. Galway. The testing was necessary because an enclosure (SMR 57:90) extended into the proposed development area. In the next field to the east was Corofin Castle (SMR 57:89), while an old road (SMR 57:161) was clearly visible beyond the east site boundary.

The testing comprised the excavation (by machine) of four trenches, which measured 27.5m, 28m, 29.8m and 9.6m long respectively, 1.05–1.25m wide and 0.45–1.1m deep.

Below the topsoil in Trenches A, B and D was orange/grey/brown friable silt loam above grey compact clay loam. At 0.5–1.7m from the east-southeast end of Trench B was a cut/ditch filled with redeposited subsoil which contained animal bone fragments and charcoal flecks. The bone was both burnt and unburnt. This linear feature was orientated north-west/south-east and measured 1.7m long, 0.8m wide (top) and 0.4m deep (not fully excavated). It was cut into the clay loam.

Below the topsoil in Trench C was grey/orange/brown friable silt loam above grey plastic clay. At 13.5m from the southern end of the trench was a ditch filled with rocks (both angular and rounded and of small to medium size) and redeposited subsoil. It was orientated east-west and followed the line of a drystone wall that ran east-west across the site. The ditch was flat-bottomed and measured 0.7–1.1m deep and 0.8–1.2m wide. This ditch extended into Trench D for 3.8m before disappearing out of the trench as the line of the drystone wall above moved away from the trench. One animal bone fragment and one modern pottery sherd were recovered from the topsoil in Trench C. A large fragment of a cast-iron pipe was found in the topsoil in Trench D.

The ditch in Trenches C and D was in line with the drystone wall above and would appear to have been the base of the wall or an associated land drain. The linear feature at the east-south-east end of Trench B contained no easily datable artefacts, nor was its function/significance determined. As a result it required further investigation, which took place on 2 and 3 April. This revealed a linear cut or ditch that curved slightly and measured 6.8m north-south, 0.75–0.9m wide and 0.5m deep. It was orientated north-south for 3.1m at its north end before turning north-west/south-east for the remaining 6.7m. It had a flat base, steep sides and was filled with dark-grey/brown friable silt loam and a mottled firm sandy clay loam. The grey/brown friable silt loam contained animal-bone fragments, charcoal flecks and occasional to moderate amounts of stone. A second area of dark-brown friable silt loam was located 0.3m north of the cut/ditch. The mottled firm sandy clay loam was the sterile basal fill of the cut/ditch.

A sample of the bone from the fill sent for analysis showed it was mainly made up of cattle and sheep/goat bone, with one unidentified bone and one humerus from a bird. Many of the bones showed evidence of cut marks and gnaw marks, while the bone from the unidentified species had cut marks and was burnt. Even though the function and date for the construction of the ditch was unclear, the evidence of butchery and burning found in the sample of bone analysed indicated that these bones represented human domestic refuse.

Monitoring of topsoil-stripping along the access road and the thirteen dwellings which made up this development took place between 23 January and 3 April. The access road measured 7.8–10m wide. The individual areas stripped for the dwellings varied in size from 28m by 21m to 33m by 30m. Below the topsoil was orange/grey/brown friable silt loam, grey firm clay loam, grey plastic clay and grey firm silty clay loam. One modern pottery sherd and one animal-bone fragment were recovered from the topsoil.

61 An Cladrach, Castlebar Road, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo