2013:071 - BALLYNAHULLA, Kerry

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kerry Site name: BALLYNAHULLA

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 13E044

Author: Martin E. Byrne

Site type: No archaeological significance

ITM: E 513698m, N 603218m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.174021, -9.261767

The East Kerry/Northwest Cork 220/110kV Substation Project, comprising the construction of a substation complex with associated access road and construction of two masts at Ballynahulla, together with the provision of approx. 9km of a buried cable line from the substation to a proposed wind farm at Cordal, is presently being undertaken by EirGrid and ESB Networks. Planning permission by An Bord Pleanála for the development required that the substation site and associated access road be subject to pre-development testing and that all excavation works be monitored. There are no previously identified archaeological monuments located within, or in the immediate environs of the substation site or in the immediate environs of any elements of the project.

A programme of testing was undertaken at the Substation Site at Ballynahulla from 4–7 March 2013. The proposed access road is routed along an existing forestry fire-break and was largely been subject to ground reductions onto, and into, the underlying subsoils. Consequently, it was not considered necessary to undertake investigations with respect to this element of the development. A total of 38 test trenches were excavated within the site. All trenches were excavated by machine fitted with a toothless 1.8m-wide ditching/grading bucket, following which the topsoil was raked through in order to increase the chances for artefact recovery. The locations and orientations of the trenches were determined by the existing topography of the site and the layout of the development within the site. In general, the results from the test trenches were broadly similar. The topsoil, with an average depth/thickness of 0.28m, comprised moderately loose silty clay peat, with occasional pebbles and small cobbles dispersed randomly throughout and lay directly upon moderately compact sandy silty clays which were of an orange/red or grey colour. However, towards the south-western area of the site, where the surface was softer, the surface layer comprised soft wet peat, up to 1m in depth/thickness, and lay directly upon grey marl. The only subsurface features of note uncovered by the test trenches were sections of relict field boundaries and shallow remains of former spade-/shovel-cut furrows. The relict field boundaries are indicated on the 1893 O.S. map There were no surface traces for and ridge-and-furrow features within the site, the subsurface remains for which were generally located in the central area, and there is evidence, primarily by the mixed and almost stone-less nature of the topsoil, that the site may have been tilled at some time in the past, most likely after the former field boundaries were removed.

A programme of monitoring to topsoil stripping/general site preparation works onto the surface of underlying sterile subsoils was subsequently undertaken, on a phased basis, at the substation construction site from 21 March–28 June 2013, during which nothing of archaeological interest and/or potential was uncovered.

It is anticipated that further archaeological monitoring of works associated with the construction of masts and cabling will be undertaken during 2014.

Byrne Mullins & Associates, 7 Cnoc Na Greine Square, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare