2007:386 - Springhill shopping centre, Carnlea, Bangor, Down

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Down Site name: Springhill shopping centre, Carnlea, Bangor

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: AE/06/285

Author: Deirdre Malone and Lynsey Morton, for Archaeological Development Services Ltd, Unit 48, Westlink Enterprise Centre, 30–50 Distillery Street, Belfast,

Site type: Enclosure

ITM: E 748011m, N 882184m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.666050, -5.705520

It had been proposed to demolish the Springhill shopping centre and replace it with a larger retail unit and associated services. The shopping centre had originally been built on the site of an enclosure, ‘Fort Hill’ (DOW002–001), which was marked on the first-edition OS map of 1834 and the second edition of 1860. However, the third and fourth editions show a farm on the Fort Hill site. The farm has since been destroyed and no evidence for it remains.

Excavation revealed the extent of the survival of the ditch. It was obvious that there had been a great deal of disturbance due to the building of the shopping centre in the 1970s. The depth of the enclosure ranged from 0.25m at the northern end, where there was severed truncation, to 1.5m at the southern end. At this southern end, however, the ditch stops abruptly, as it had been cut to make way for the tiered carpark 3m below the level of the original ground. Approximately 27m of the ditch still survives as a severely truncated, subsoil-cut feature forming what would have been the south-western quadrant of a roughly circular enclosure which would have measured c. 100m in diameter. The size, width and depth of the remains suggest it would have been a substantial defensive structure.

Finds included a variety of pottery ranging in date from possibly Early Christian to the post-medieval period. There was also a significant amount of animal bone recovered from the ditch. Very few flint finds were uncovered, with just three possible cores. The most interesting features within the ditch were the wood remains. Three pieces of flat wood were recovered, including two with identical holes through them. Further pieces of unworked wood were recovered from organic layers in the ditch. Although these were generally unworked, they may still indicate some sort of wooden structure or surround associated with the ditch. No evidence of archaeological remains was found within the interior of the ditch.