2008:586 - Ardnamweely/Ballydribbeen, Kerry

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kerry Site name: Ardnamweely/Ballydribbeen

Sites and Monuments Record No.: KE066–046 Licence number: 07E1123

Author: Laurence Dunne, Eachtra Archaeological Projects, 3 Lios na Lohart, Ballyvelly, Tralee, Co. Kerry.

Site type: No archaeological significance

ITM: E 496203m, N 591788m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.068304, -9.513984

Pre-planning, pre-development test excavations were undertaken as part of an impact assessment at a proposed development site at Ardnamweely and Ballydribeen townlands, Killarney, Co. Kerry. The site is located on a greenfield area adjacent to St Finan’s Mental Hospital on the northern extent of the urban expansion of Killarney. The developers intend to construct a primary care (medical) centre building with car parking and associated access roads at the site. The site lies partially within the zone of archaeological potential around KE066–046, an enclosure.
A total of fifteen test-trenches were excavated across the site by a track machine using a 2m flat grading bucket. The total length of trenching was 1,535m. Topsoil was a mid-brown silty clay loam which averaged 0.3m in depth. Inclusions of occasional modern white-glazed ceramics and small sub-rounded and sub-angular stones were present within the topsoil. Subsoil comprised a mid-orange silty sandy clay with moderate inclusions of gravel.
Agricultural activity was evident in trenches T1–T6 in the form of earth-cut drains. The drains ranged in width from 0.3m to 0.5m and averaged 0.3m in depth, with frequent occurrences of small to medium-sized stones at the base of the drains.
A number of modern rubbish pits were encountered in trenches T7–T10. They ranged in size from 1.4m deep by 4m long (T9) to 2m deep by 10m long. The pits contained much charcoal, charred wood, bottles and bottle glass, white-glazed ceramics, metallic bedpans, building rubble and general household waste from the adjacent hospital. Each pit was excavated to its base within the trenches in which they were revealed. Further dump material in a large shallow pit, comprising mostly modern building rubble, was revealed in trench T13 towards its eastern extent.
Post-medieval industrial activity in the form of a storm drain overflow chamber related to the hospital was revealed in trench T14. This trench was targeted to test the location of the proposed east–west access road from the site onto the bypass to the north. A large slate capping stone was disturbed by the track machine which revealed the opening to a subterranean chamber beneath. The trench was extended to reveal a 1.1m-wide circular entrance constructed of red brick bonded with mortar.
The chamber, which is orientated east–west, is rectangular in plan and measures 12m (east–west) by 3m and is 2.4m deep. It is constructed of uncoursed random limestone rubble set in lime and sand mortar with an arched ceiling. A stone culvert finished in red brick enters the chamber high in the north wall. An identical culvert exits high in the south wall of the chamber.
The chamber is related to the 19th-century hospital complex. The culvert entering the chamber in the north wall brings stormwater downslope from the hospital complex. The underlying geology is of gravel and forms a perfect soakaway for the water. The second culvert exiting in the south wall forms an overflow escape for water, presumably when the chamber got blocked or could not cope with the volume of water. The entrance into the chamber was to facilitate maintenance of the feature.
No archaeological materials were encountered while carrying out testing at the site.