2013:081 - Ballyhale, Kilkenny

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kilkenny Site name: Ballyhale

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 12E0417


Site type: Prehistoric


ITM: E 653623m, N 635623m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.469406, -7.210786

Site 15-5, 6, 7, 8 Ballyhale was discovered during monitoring of topsoil stripping for the Bord Gáis Networks Gas to Great Island scheme (12E0356).

Four distinct areas were excavated, three of which revealed unrelated prehistoric activity.

Area 15-5 contained sixteen pits, post- and stake-holes. Amongst these was a circular pit containing burnt animal bone that was surrounded by a number of stake-holes. A sub-rectangular pit or trough that measured 1.5m by 1.1m and was 0.2m deep was filled with heat-shattered stone and charcoal-rich soil. Five stake-holes cut into the corners of the pit presumably represent an organic lining. Pomaceous fruitwood charcoal from this pit was dated to 1278-1054 cal. BC (2965±35 BP; UBA-24965; 2 sigma), placing the pit in the Middle-Late Bronze Age. The topsoil contained a rubbing/hammer stone that most likely dates to the Late Neolithic or Bronze Age.

Area 15-6 proved to be non-archaeological.

Area 15-7 contained several pits, post-holes, linear features and stake-holes that did not form a clear pattern but probably represented settlement. One of the pits yielded alder charcoal that was radiocarbon dated to 1639-1435 cal. BC (3264±47 BP; UBA-24967; 2 sigma), placing the activity in the Middle Bronze Age.

Area 15-8 comprised the remains of an Iron Age smelting furnace. The single feature was an oval pit, 0.43m long, 0.3m wide and 0.11m deep with near-vertical sides and a flat base. Oxidisation of the surrounding subsoil indicated high temperatures and just over 2kg of iron smelting slag was recovered from the fill of the feature. A charred hazelnut shell from the furnace was radiocarbon dated to 362-174 cal. BC (2189±32 BP; UBA-24966; 2 sigma), placing the metalworking activity in Developed Iron Age.