2008:500 - Ballinamallard, Fermanagh

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Fermanagh Site name: Ballinamallard

Sites and Monuments Record No.: FER193–002, FER193–003 Licence number: AE/08/88

Author: Vincent McClorey and Aaron Johnston, for ADS Ltd, Unit 6, 21 Old Channel Road, Belfast, BT3 9DE.

Site type: Testing

ITM: E 626435m, N 853136m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.426094, -7.592636

In December 2007 a geophysical survey was conducted in relation to a proposed housing development at Ballinamallard, Co. Fermanagh. Two recorded sites lie within the boundaries of the proposed development. There is a standing stone (FER193–002) toward the eastern corner of the proposed development and a rath (FER193–003) towards the south-west corner. This rath was only marked on the first-edition OS map of 1834 and was not shown on subsequent editions, nor were there any visible aboveground features.
Testing was undertaken to try and establish the extent and nature of surviving archaeological remains. This evaluation was carried out between 27 May and 23 June 2008. While the geophysical survey failed to locate evidence of a rath, the survey did produce a number of anomalies of possible archaeological origin. Based on these results and the NISMR search, thirty-nine test-trenches were strategically placed across the area of the proposed development which was a subrectangular area of land measuring c. 275m south-west to north-east by 225m at its widest point.
While the vast majority of the trenches excavated revealed various spreads, a large number of these spreads were sterile, felt quite natural and are probably simply the result of natural variations within the sandy gravel subsoil. Five trenches were excavated in the vicinity of the assumed rath and, while possible linear features were uncovered, when these were tested they appeared to be natural deposits rather than evidence of a rath ditch. During this testing phase the assumed rath was therefore not located.
Out of the 39 trenches excavated, only seven produced definite evidence of archaeology. In the area to the south-west, Trenches 3, 7 and 28 produced a possible kiln and a small number of pits. Of these pits, one produced burnt struck flint and another evidence of burnt bone. The area to the north-west, where Trenches 34 and 35 are located, uncovered evidence suggesting the possibility of a circular enclosure. The area to the north-east in the area of the standing stone produced evidence of a second possible kiln and pit within Trench 39. Finally Trench 38 produced a small number of post-holes which, when a wider area is stripped, could produce evidence of a possible structure.
If planning permission is granted for the proposed development, further archaeological deposits are likely to be uncovered, which will help provide a full understanding of the archaeology within this area.