2005:1388 - VARIOUS TOWNLANDS, Tipperary

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Tipperary Site name: VARIOUS TOWNLANDS

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 47:72, 42:51, 42:52 Licence number: A027/000

Author: Melanie McQuade, Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd, 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Site type: Various

ITM: E 589004m, N 635830m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.473789, -8.161851

Test-trenching was carried out as part of an assessment along a stretch of c. 40km of the proposed N8 road improvement scheme from Cullahill, Co. Laois, to Cashel, Co. Tipperary. Testing took the form of centre-line trenching, with alternate 90° offsets at 20m intervals. The trenches were 1.8–2m wide. A total of 59 sites were identified in counties Tipperary and Kilkenny (see No. 790 above for Kilkenny sites). Thirteen of these were isolated features and were fully resolved during test excavation.

Gortmakellis

Ditch

209031.14 143429.17

A027/001

This site was located 20m to the north of a ringfort (SMR 61:3). A large curvilinear ditch, orientated roughly north–south, was identified c. 21m to the west of the ringfort. This cut measured 2m in width and 0.75m in depth and had concave sides and a concave base. It was filled by black/brown silty clay that contained frequent charcoal flecks and occasional animal bone fragments. Two smaller ditches fed into the eastern side of this ditch. Ditch 1 measured 0.5m in width and was filled by black/brown silt clay that contained frequent charcoal flecks and large angular stones. Ditch 2 measured 1m in width and was filled by mid-brown silty clay that contained occasional charcoal flecks.

Gortmakellis

Kiln/furnace

209069.64 143504.32

A027/001

This feature was located 80m to the north of a ringfort (SMR 61:3). It consisted of a subcircular pit that was surrounded by an arc of fire-reddened clay. The pit was partially exposed within the test-trench; the exposed portion measured 1.1m in diameter and 0.2m in depth. It was filled by grey/brown silty clay that contained frequent small angular stones and occasional snail shells. A small box-section revealed that the sides and base of the pit were also fire-reddened, which suggests that burning had occurred within the pit. This feature appears to be the remains of a kiln or furnace and is probably related to the occupation of the nearby ringfort.

Ballykelly

Pit

210209.35 145215.63

A027/003

This site consisted of a small circular pit that measured 0.35m in diameter and 0.34m in depth. The cut had steeply sloping sides and a concave base. It was filled with dark-grey/black sandy clay that contained high concentrations of charcoal. The area around the pit was stripped of topsoil but no other features were identified. This feature was fully resolved during the testing programme.

Grangemore

Hearth

210369.19 145566.96

A027/003

This site consisted of an irregularly shaped hearth that measured 0.23m east–west by 0.18m. The primary deposit consisted of a layer of fire-reddened clay that was sealed by a layer of charcoal 0.04m in depth. The area around the hearth was stripped of topsoil but no other features were identified. This feature was fully resolved during the testing programme.

Colm Moriarty, Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd, 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Ballytarsna

Pits, walls

211726.81 147064.34

A027/008

This site comprised four shallow pits, a large deep circular pit, four post-holes and four small field walls, two of which formed the edges of a small path. A building is depicted on the first-edition (1840) and second-edition OS maps. The entire site covered an area of 150m north-east/south-west by 45m.

Three of the small field walls, two of which bound the small path, were located 102m south-west of the remainder of the identified features. The wall foundations appear similar in material and construction, large rounded limestone boulders c. 0.1–0.3m and generally orientated north-east/south-west.

At the north-eastern end of the site an additional area of 20m by 7m was opened to reveal four post-holes, which were orientated north–south. Each post-hole was subcircular in plan. A section through one of the post-holes indicated a depth of 0.3m. The fill was dark-grey, compact sandy silt.

Two circular-shaped pits were located 6m to the west of the post-holes. These were filled with dark-grey/brown silty clay. Pit 1 was 1.6m in diameter and 0.05–0.1m deep and was located 6m west of the post-holes. Pit 2, 7m south-west of Pit 1, was 0.2m in diameter.

Another large circular pit was uncovered 6m to the south-west of these pits. Pit 3 was 2.6m in diameter. A section cut into the pit revealed it to be over 0.5m in depth. It was filled with dark-grey/brown silty clay, which became lighter in colour and more compact and stony towards the base.

Two further possible pits and a small field wall were located 10m and 28m north-west of these features respectively. The field wall ran roughly east–west, the opposite direction to the field walls discovered further down the field, and was 0.8m wide. It was a drystone construction of large rounded limestone boulders (0.1m–0.3m).

Ballytarsna

Burnt mound

211968.56 147427.94

A027/008

A large burnt mound measuring 21m east–west by 13.5m was exposed under 0.05m of dark-brown/black peaty topsoil. The mound consisted of a black, charcoal-rich silt with inclusions of small burnt and fire-cracked stones. A section through the mound revealed a depth of 0.43m. Two circular pits with diameters of c. 1m were recorded beneath the burnt-mound material. No finds were recovered from either the mound or the pits.

The mound was clearly visible prior to testing and two further mounds in the field may also represent burnt mounds.

Ballytarsna

Burnt mound

212094.87 147522.30

A027/008

A small burnt mound measuring 9.7m east–west by 8.5m was clearly visible within the landscape prior to testing although not recognised in the EIS. Situated underneath 0.05m of dark-brown/black peaty topsoil, the mound consisted of a black, charcoal-rich silt with inclusions of small burnt and fire-cracked stones. It was not investigated further, as its archaeological definition was determined.

Ashill

Pits

213417.89 149861.69

A027/008

The site covered an area of 14m east–west by 17m and comprised eighteen small pits, eight of which had a dark charcoal-rich fill and were identified as possible post-holes. A large linear feature (1) 1.8m wide ran across the site in a north–south direction. A second linear feature (2) 0.4m west and parallel to it was also recorded and was exposed for 2.5m in length. The majority of pit features were located to the west of linear feature (1). These linear features were not identified in any other trenches. The presence of at least two relatively modern north–south-running plough furrows was noted towards the western end of the opened area.

The pits varied from 0.2m to 1m in diameter. Nine of these, all at the northern end of the site, were filled with dark-brown silty clay that had inclusions of charcoal. One of the larger pits, with a diameter of 1m, on the east of the site appeared to cut the large ditch. Red, heat-affected clay at the edge of that pit indicated that burning had taken place within it. The remaining pits were filled with red/orange silty clay.

Sinéad Phelan, Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd, 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Parkstown

Pit

215552.27 152704.18

A027/010

This site consisted of a large oval-shaped pit, 1.57m by 1m. It was filled by black/brown charcoal-rich silty clay that contained frequent burnt stone.

Parkstown

Pit, post-hole

215624.02 152714.29

A027/010

This site consisted of a small circular post-hole and a burnt spread. The post-hole was 0.25m in diameter and the burnt spread measured 1.8m by 1.4m in width.

Parkstown

Charcoal spread, pit

215634.49 152791.31

A027/010

A charcoal spread and circular pit. The charcoal spread was 1.1m by 0.75m and the pit was 0.55m in diameter. It was filled by charcoal-rich silty sand and fire-reddened stones.

Parkstown

Hearth

215646.72 152830.24

A027/010

A large oval hearth, 1.6m by 1.2m, was filled by black/brown silty clay with frequent charcoal flecks.

Newtown

Post-hole

216352.07 154156.92

A027/011

A single post-hole, 0.4m in diameter, was fully excavated under the testing licence. It had a V-shaped profile and was 0.35m in depth. It was filled with dark-brown charcoal-rich sandy clay.

Ballyvinane

Post-hole

216948.69 155264.65

A027/011

This site comprised a single post-hole and was fully resolved during testing. It was 0.27m by 0.32m and 0.2m deep. It had a U-shaped profile and was filled with black sandy clay with frequent inclusions of charcoal.

Ballyvinane

Pits

217010.77 155365.08

A027/011

Four pits were uncovered within an area measuring 6m by 5m. The pits measured between 0.8m by 0.9m and 0.4m by 0.5m. Fragments of burnt bone were identified in the fill of one of the pits, which may have been a cremation pit.

Rathcunikeen

Cooking pits

217459.68 155854.05

A027/011

This site covered an area c. 8m by 8m and comprised three cooking pits and a linear feature filled with the same material. The pits measured 1m by 0.7m, and 0.6m by 0.8m. The north-east/south-west-oriented ditch was 1.6m wide. The pits and the ditch were filled with burnt stone and charcoal-rich clay.

Rathcunikeen

Burnt mound

217582.86 155970.44

A027/011

A burnt mound/fulacht fiadh measuring 27m by 15m had been truncated by agricultural activity and was only 0.1m deep.

Coolcroo

Cooking pit/trough

218022.55 156319.95

A027/011

This site comprised an isolated cooking pit or trough and was fully resolved during testing. It was 1.5m by 0.6m and 0.17m deep. The fill had frequent inclusions of burnt stones, most of which were sandstone, but some limestone was also present. The stones were on average less than 0.1m in size.

Coolcroo

Burnt deposit

218068.94 156336.18

A027/011

This site was located 30m to the north of the trough/cooking pit (A027/024?) and was fully resolved during testing. It comprised a spread of burnt clay and charcoal measuring 1m by 0.8m. The deposit was 0.2m deep and there was no evidence for a cut, nor was there any scorching of the underlying ground. The site has been interpreted as a deposit of hearth material or burnt-out vegetation.

Melanie McQuade, Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd, 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Noard

Various

219301.59 157725.51

A027/023

A series of features were located within an area measuring 70m by 30m. A total of eight linear ditches, a kiln and a deposit of charcoal-rich material were identified. These features were located within an area of archaeological potential identified by the EIS, to the south-west of a tower-house, cemetery and earthworks. No artefacts were found during the course of testing the features to date, but their proximity to the medieval village of Two-Mile-Borris could suggest they are contemporary and they may represent the remains of agricultural activity.

Noard

Pits

219402.81 157623.51

A027/023

A series of pits was located within an area measuring 9m north–south by 10m on the plateau of a south-west-facing slope. The pits were very truncated by a series of plough furrows which ran in an east–west direction across the site. Fourteen pits were identified in total, thirteen of which were clustered in an area measuring 4m (north–south) by 5m. One pit was located c. 5m to the north-west. The pits varied in diameter between 0.25m and 0.5m and were filled with dark-grey silty clay.

Noard

Kiln

219538.03 157496.95

A027/006

A kiln was located on a gradual south-west-facing slope in an area measuring 12m by 12m. There was an area of in situ burning (approx. 0.7m long) and a dark spread (approx. 0.5m long) was identified c. 6m to the north and is likely to be associated. The kiln measured 6m (north-east/south-west) and was figure-of-eight-shaped in plan. It had a maximum diameter of 1.6m. A distinct stone lining was evident at the north-eastern extent of the feature, which appears to be the bowl of the kiln. The south-eastern extent of the feature was somewhat disturbed and less clear in plan.

Ballyerk

Area of burning

219329.74 156823.30

A027/006

A shallow post-hole (0.3m in diameter and 0.2m deep) was located c. 1m south of an area of in situ burning. The area of burning was very irregular in plan and measured c. 0.7m long by c. 0.3m. This site was resolved at the testing phase.

Noard

Burnt mound

219832.16 157057.45

A027/006

The remains of a burnt mound were located in a low-lying area c. 40m to the west of a stream. The mound appeared to have been very truncated, probably by ploughing, and survived to a maximum depth of 0.1m. It measured c. 6m by 7m.

Noard

Burnt mound

219813.85 157155.01

A027/006

A burnt mound was located in a low-lying area c. 60m to the west of a stream. The mound was better preserved than A027/030, located 100m to the south, and measured 8m by 6m. It continued eastwards beyond the limits of the CPO line.

Skehane

Pits

220443.83 157462.83

A027/006

A series of pits (eleven were identified in the area opened) were located and a linear feature was c. 8m to the south-west. The pits varied in diameter between 0.2 and 0.35m. A shallow spread was also identified, located directly to the south-east of the pits, in which fragments of burnt bone were identified. The concentration of bone could indicate that this feature is a cremation deposit, and the pits may be cremation pits.

Skehane

Burnt mound

220709.16 157650.50

A027/024

A burnt mound measuring 8m by 14m was located towards the base of a gradual south-west-facing slope. A maximum depth of 0.2m was recorded. It is likely to be associated with the site of a burnt spread located c. 50m to the north.

Skehane

Burnt spread

220682.64 157700.22

A027/024

The remains of a burnt spread were located at the base of a gradual south-east-facing slope in a slight hollow. The mound measured 4m by 3.5m. It is likely to be associated with site A027/033, a more substantial burnt mound located 50m to the south.

Borris

Limekiln

220824.30 157787.26

A027/006

This site comprised a limekiln, an area of charcoal-rich soil and a linear ditch. The bowl of the kiln was evident as a circular area of fire-reddened earth and the fill comprised heat-affected limestone. The bowl measured c. 1m in diameter and the flue was identified running northwards from the bowl.

Leigh

Area of burning

222590.51 159862.10

A027/012

An area of in situ burning measuring 0.7m by 0.5m was found. No further features were identified in the area. This feature was resolved during testing.

Bernice Molloy, Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd, 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Fennor

Burnt mound

225210.97 161878.96

A027/013

This burnt mound was located c. 25m to the south of another burnt mound. It measured 12m by 15m and was 0.36m deep.

Fennor

Burnt mound

225251.15 161890.08

A027/013

A burnt mound was located c. 25m to the north of another burnt mound. It was 14m by 7m and 0.1m deep.

Fennor

Hearth

225313.82 161934.83

A027/013

This site was located c. 70m north of another burnt mound. It comprised a circular hearth or cremation pit that was 1.3m in diameter.

Fennor

Pits, post-hole

226188.82 162483.93

A027/013

This site comprised three pits and a post-hole within an area measuring 4.5m by 4m. The pits measured 0.3–0.35m in diameter and had much charcoal in their fills. The post-hole measured 0.1m in diameter and was located 1m to the west of two pits and 0.2m to the south of the third.

Fennor

Pits, post-holes

226714.53 162899.12

A027/013

The site measured 5m by 12m and comprised three pits and two post-holes. The post-holes measured 0.2m and 0.3m in diameter. The pits were 0.6m long and 0.5–0.7m wide. One of the pits had traces of burning around its edges and inclusions of slag within its fill and may have been a kiln or a pair of conjoined bowl furnaces.

Fennor

Burnt mound

226823.87 163015.72

A027/013

This was a burnt mound measuring 8m by 7m and 0.22m deep.