2017:338 - Ballintober Castle and precinct, Roscommon

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Roscommon Site name: Ballintober Castle and precinct

Sites and Monuments Record No.: RO027-048002- Licence number: 15E0232 ext.

Author: Niall Brady

Site type: Castle and deserted settlement


ITM: E 572554m, N 774806m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.722198, -8.415851

A third season of excavation and survey has taken place at Ballintober Castle, Co. Roscommon, RO027-048002-, as part of the archaeological and anthropological research and Summer field school project, Castles in Communities, Medieval Ireland Past and Present. The field school is an initiative of the project directors and is funded through Foothill College, California, USA. Within the castle, work returned to Cuttings 1 and 2 along the east side of the standing structure. A third investigation took place in ‘Garvey’s Field’ to the east of the castle to investigate a road feature observed within geophysical survey data that has revealed a substantial deserted settlement.

The aims of the excavation within the standing castle were to continue to identify the lines of collapsed walls associated with the north-east corner tower and the adjacent eastern perimeter wall. The findings provided more clarity to the sequence of construction in both cuttings that inform the historical narrative of the castle but the cuttings have yet to be bottomed-out.

Investigation in Garvey’s Field revealed the roadway feature detected by geophysical prospection to be simply formed by scattering loose stone on a boulder clay till surface. A small berm feature and drain were identified on the west side of the roadway, while a second stone surface recorded at the eastern end of the cutting is associated with a pathway feature that lies next to property plots.

Geophysical survey in 2017 included Ground Penetrating Radar and Magnetometer Survey and focused on extending the survey footprint east of the village. A substantial data set is now acquired revealing the deserted settlement to be larger than previously thought.

A programme of walkover field survey forms part of the wider fieldschool project, and that work has observed a new feature in Timanagh townland, to the east of Ballintober, which appears to be the remains of a previously unrecorded moated site. Further work is planned as part of the 2018 field season.

Project reports are accessible online at https://sites.google.com/view/irelandcastlesincommunities/library. A video film that features the wider project was commissioned by Roscommon CC in 2017 and produced by Mimar Media, and can be accessed at https://youtu.be/sqLPW4tz8nc

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