Archaeological Excavation Report E0424 - Harristown Big, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
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Archaeological Excavation Report E0424 - Harristown Big, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal

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Archaeological excavations in Harristown Big townland revealed a number of anomalous archaeological features within an excavated area of c. 100 m2. A total of 33 excavated contexts were recorded......

Archaeological excavations in Harristown Big townland revealed a number of anomalous archaeological features within an excavated area of c. 100 m2. A total of 33 excavated contexts were recorded including stake-holes, pits and a post-hole.

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  • 1. Eachtra Journal Issue 4 [ISSN 2009-2237] Archaeological Excavation Report E0424 - Harristown Big, Co. Wexford Prehistoric
  • 2. Final Excavation Report, Harristown Big, N25 Harristown to Rathsillagh, Co. Wexford. December 2009 Client: Wexford County Council, c/o Tramore House Road Design Office, Tramore, Co. Wexford Licence No.: 00E0424 Licensee: Michael Tierney Written by: Michael Tierney & Penny Johnston Contact details: The Forge, Innishannon, Co. Cork. Tel.: 021 470 16 16 Fax: 021 470 16 28 E-mail: info@eachtra.ie Web Site: www.eachtra.ie
  • 3. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Table of Contents i Acknowledgements ............................................................................................ iv 1 Summary ............................................................................................................1 2 Introduction .......................................................................................................1 3 Description of Development ...............................................................................1 4 Background to the excavation area......................................................................1 5 Archaeological & Historical Background............................................................2 5.1 Mesolithic 7000-4000 BC............................................................................2 5.2 Neolithic 4000-2500 BC ..............................................................................2 5.3 Bronze Age 2500-500 BC.............................................................................3 5.4 Iron Age 500 BC-500 AD ............................................................................3 5.5 Early Medieval 500 AD-1169 AD ................................................................4 5.6 Later Medieval 1169 AD-1600 AD...............................................................4 5.7 Post-Medieval (after 1600 AD) .....................................................................5 6 Results ................................................................................................................5 6.1 Area 1 ..........................................................................................................6 6.2 Area 2 ..........................................................................................................7 7 Artefacts .............................................................................................................8 8 Environmental Remains .....................................................................................9 9 Discussion ..........................................................................................................9 10 Conclusion ......................................................................................................... 10 11 Bibliography ...................................................................................................... 11 12 Figures ............................................................................................................... 13 13 Plates ................................................................................................................. 19 14 Appendices ........................................................................................................ 22 14.1 Appendix 1: Context Register ......................................................................22 14.2 Appendix 2: Stratigraphic Matrix ................................................................25 14.3 Appendix 3: Finds Register..........................................................................26 14.4 Appendix 4: Prehistoric pottery ...................................................................28 14.5 Appendix 5: Radiocarbon Results................................................................31 14.6 Appendix 6: Archaeobotanical Assessment .................................................32 14.7 Appendix 7: Charcoal Assessment Results ..................................................33 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ iii
  • 4. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 List of Figures Figure 1: Discovery map showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh-Harristown road Figure 2: Ordnance Survey 1st edition showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh-Harristown road Figure 3: RMP Sheet 36 showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh-Harristown road Figure 4: Route of new road with all excavated sites displayed Figure 5: Post-excavation plan of Area 1 at Harristown Big (00E0424) Figure 6: Post-excavation plan of Area 2 Harristown Big (00E0424) List of Plates Plate 1: Arc of stakeholes in Area 1 from the south Plate 2: Two pits in Area 2 (C.10 and C.37) from north Plate 3: Ceramic fragments from Vessel 1, Early Neolithic carinated bowl Plate 4: Ceramic fragment from Vessel 2, Early Neolithic carinated bowl Plate 5: Ceramic fragment of Vessel 3, Early Neolithic carinated bowl Plate 6: Ceramic fragment from Vessel 4, possible Middle Neolithic globular bowl. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ iv
  • 5. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 i Acknowledgements Project Manager: Michael Tierney Licensee: Michael Tierney Field Staff: Karen Ward, Tim Allen, Tom Jaynes, Carol Power, Aoife Kavanagh Text: Antonia Doolan, Penny Johnston Photography: Aaron Johnston Illustration: Bernice Kelly, Enda O’ Mahony, Robin Turk Compilation: Anluan Dunne This project was entirely funded by Wexford County Council, under the National Development Plan. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ v
  • 6. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 1 Summary County Wexford Townland Harristown Big Parish Kilbrideglynn Civil Parish Kilbrideglynn Barony Shelmaliere West National Grid Co-ordinates E 292390.370 N 122897.348 Chainage 7610 Site Type Prehistoric Excavation Licence Number 00E0424 2 Introduction The Rathsillagh to Harristown Little N25 realignment scheme in Co. Wexford resulted in the discov- ery of several archaeological sites. The site excavated at Harristown Big (licence number 00E0424), comprised a number of stakeholes, three pits and a driven post. The morphology of the features uncov- ered, the many sherds of pottery found and radiocarbon dates indicate activity in the Neolithic. 3 Description of Development The N25 is the main southern east to west route, traversing the counties of Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny and Wexford. It links the port of Rosslare Harbour with Cork City, via New Ross, Waterford City, Dungarvan and Youghal. A section of the N25 route between the townlands of Rathsillagh and Har- ristown Little was selected for upgrading, as the old road comprised a single carriageway in either direction, with several ‘blind’ junctions, and in many cases only a hedge separating farmland from the road. The new route sought to straighten and level out the N25 and to provide a wider single car- riageway with hard shoulder in either direction, in keeping with the Barntown scheme completed in 1998 (Figure 1). 4 Background to the excavation area The 8.5 km route of the new road crosses a series of low, undulating hills, to the south of the old N25 route, and is situated at a height of between 45 m and 80 m above sea level. The landscape here is characterised by small hills, interspersed with many small streams; these eventually flow into the River Corock to the southwest, into the Slaney to the northwest, as well as feeding into Ballyteige Bay to the south. From its western beginning in Rathsillagh townland the routeway climbs gently, running parallel and to the south of the old N25. It then continues through Assagart, Ballyvergin, Shanowle, Camaross, Carrowreagh, Dungeer, Bricketstown and through into Harristown Little, eventually exit- ing in Harristown Big townland and tying into the Barntown improvement which opened in 1998. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 1
  • 7. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 The higher ground was lush pasture, well drained, and gave spectacular views all around. Sites on this part of the route included prehistoric settlement activity and a series of medieval corn-drying kilns. Conversely, the lower ground in Camaross, Carrowreagh and Dungeer was quite marshy and prone to growth of gorse. Sites traditionally associated with low-lying ground were found in these townlands, for example a burnt mound at Dungeer and a moated site at Carrowreagh. 5 Archaeological & Historical Background There are thirteen recorded archaeological monument sites within 1 km either side of the development; one is a church and graveyard site, nine are listed as enclosure sites of between 30 m and 60 m in di- ameter and three are moated sites (two of which are destroyed). The ecclesiastical site apparently dates to the medieval period as there is a fragment of a medieval grave cover in the graveyard and the site was originally surrounded by a circular bank (Moore 1996, 129). The enclosures most likely represent the raths and ringforts of the early medieval period (Moore 1996, 28). Prior to these excavations, the known archaeological remains in the locality were all medieval and post-medieval but several prehis- toric sites were identified during the course of this programme of excavation along the N25 route-way, including Neolithic material at Harristown Big, Bronze Age sites at Dungeer, Ballyvergin and Har- ristown Big and Iron Age activity at two sites in Bricketstown. 5.1 Mesolithic 7000-4000 BC The earliest known human occupation of Ireland dates to the Mesolithic period (c. 7000-4000 BC). Lithic scatters from the period have been found along the banks of the Barrow river in counties Wex- ford and Waterford (Green and Zvelebil 1990). Some diagnostic Mesolithic stone artefacts were also found in Camolin, in north Wexford, and along the eastern coastline between Carnsore and Kilm- ichael point (Stout 1987, 3). However, most activity is identified in resource-rich locations by riversides and coastlines and there is no known evidence for Mesolithic activity within the area affected by the roadtake. 5.2 Neolithic 4000-2500 BC There is piecemeal evidence for Neolithic occupation in County Wexford. Stout’s (1987) distribution map of Neolithic remains includes evidence for one single burial site, fifteen find spots for flint and stone atefacts, two portal tombs and seven other possible megalithic tombs. Work on the Archaeologi- cal Survey of Ireland reduced the number of other possible megaliths from seven to five (Moore 1996). Subsequent excavation work has increased the extent of knowledge concerning Neolithic settlement in the county. Early Neolithic pottery was found by McLoughlin (2004) at Kerlogue (02E0606) and at a pit and a hearth excavated under licence 00E0630 at Courtlands East (Purcell 2002). Later Neolithic activity in the county is indicated by Sandhills ware, discovered during an excavation (02E0434) in a pit at St. Vogues (Purcell 2004). An undated excavation at MacMurroughs (1985:59) also uncovered a number of flints and a ground stone axe, associated with a hearth and pit may also be Neolithic in date Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 2
  • 8. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 (Cotter 1986). Some evidence for Neolithic activity was found as part of this project at Harristown Big (00E0424) where Neolithic pottery was discovered at a site where various pits and stakeholes were excavated. Early Neolithic and possible Middle Neolithic wares were found. 5.3 Bronze Age 2500-500 BC Some of the earliest Bronze Age finds from Co. Wexford are three chance finds of Beaker gold discs (only one with a provenance). Other Bronze Age metal finds from the county includes hoards of both Early and Late Bronze Age artefacts, e.g. at Cahore Point, a cave at Nash, Ballyvadden, Enniscorthy, Forth Commons and New Ross (Stout 1987, 22). At Ballyvadden the Late Bronze Age metal objects were found within a ceramic container, a unique feature in Irish hoards, but apparently common on the continent during the period (Ibid.). Burnt mounds are the most common Bronze Age site-types found in Ireland and sixty-three such sites were identified in the Archaeological Inventory for the county (Moore 1996) and since the survey work several have been excavated in the county; examples were found at Strandfield (McCarthy 2004) and along the routes of the N30 (Enniscorthy to Clonroche) and the N11 (Arklow to Gorey) roads (www. nra.ie). Only one burnt mound was excavated during works on the Rathsillagh-Harristown realign- ment of the N25; this was found at Dungeer 00E0474. Much of our evidence for Bronze Age activity in Wexford to date has come from burials. There is a rec- ognised concentration of cist-type burials in Co. Wexford; these are commonly thought to date to the Early Bronze Age. Stout (1987) identified more than thirty-seven but many were not well documented and Moore (1996) could pinpoint the locations of only twenty-five cist and pit burials in total. Several other burials with diagnostic Bronze Age pottery have since been found during excavation: there was a cordoned urn burial at Ballintubbrid, vase urn burials at Coolnaboy, Gorey Corporation Lands and Kilmurry, a cist with a tripartite bowl at Knockbrack and a ring ditch with cremation burials at Ferns Lower (Bennett 2004-5). Another ring-ditch was found at Kerlogue Sites 4 and 5 and a large round house excavated at Kerlogue Site 2 was probably also of Bronze Age date (McLoughlin 2004). The excavations from the Rathsillagh-Harristown road scheme included one Early-Middle Bronze Age site at Ballyvergin where hot-stone technology was used and there was a Late Bronze Age burnt mound site at Dungeer (00E0474). At Harristown Big (00E0425) a series of Late Bronze Age metalworking pits and crucibles were found. 5.4 Iron Age 500 BC-500 AD In common with much of Ireland there is very little evidence for Iron Age activity in Co. Wexford. Hillforts and promontory forts have possible construction dates in the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age and there are two hillforts and five promontory forts in the county (Moore 1996). The artefactual evidence for this period in Wexford includes two pins that are of probable Iron Age date and two pos- sible Iron Age stone heads recovered from Duncormick (Stout 1987, 29-30). Two of the sites excavated along the route of the Rathsillagh-Harristown road produced Iron Age radiocarbon dates, both were Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 3
  • 9. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 from Bricketstown and one was a small cremation cemetery (00E0623), the second was a small hearth (00E0624). 5.5 Early Medieval 500 AD-1169 AD The beginnings of Christianity are evident in the remains of seventeen early ecclesiastical sites in Co. Wexford (Moore 1996). One of the earliest excavated examples from Co. Wexford was at St. Vogues, at Carnsore, where a wooden church preceded a stone building (O’Kelly 1975). One of the closest known early church sites to the roadtake is located approximately 3 km to the south at the church of Poulmarl/Taghmon, the monastery founded by St. Munna in the seventh century. The list of abbots from this site continues to the end of the tenth century and there is a record of a Viking raid in 917 AD (Moore 1996, 160). By this time the Norse town of Weisford, later to become Wexford, was already established, having been founded by the end of the ninth century (Colfer 1990-1991). Evidence for settlement in the county during the early medieval period comes from ringforts, typical monuments of the period. These were circular or subcircular enclosures made from earthen banks that surrounded areas roughly between 25 and 40 metres in diameter. Excavated examples have demon- strated that they generally surrounded single farmstead-type settlement sites. One hundred and fifty- three examples are known from the county (Moore 1996). Of these only two were located within close proximity to the area of the new Rathsillagh-Harristown road (at Haystown, c. 3 km to the north of the new road and at Cullenstown c. 2 km to the south). There are also numerous circular enclosure sites that probably represent ringforts; thirteen of them appear on the RMP Sheet 36 (covering the area of the new road-take) for Co. Wexford. 5.6 Later Medieval 1169 AD-1600 AD The Anglo-Normans first landed in Ireland in Co. Wexford in 1169. The county was within their initial land-grab zone between AD 1169 and AD 1190 (Mitchell & Ryan 1997, 305) and was sub-infeudated in the early stages of Anglo-Norman activity in Ireland (Colfer 1987). Wexford county was one of the first twelve counties created by the English Kings in the 12th to 13th centuries, from the original Prov- inces and lesser Territories of the Irish Tuatha (Howarth 1911, 161). By the thirteenth century much of the area covered by the Rathsillagh-Harristown road-take was a frontier zone and the archaeological landscape of these areas is characterised by moated sites: there are ten known sites on RMP Sheet 36 for Co. Wexford, the area covered by the new road, and one moated site at Carrowreagh was found along the line of the new road. Moated sites were distributed at the peripheries of the colonial organi- sation centres and probably represent an attempt at secondary colonisation (O’Keeffe 2000, 73-75). There are almost 130 moated sites known in County Wexford (Moore 1996, 95). However, by the end of the fourteenth century, much of the Anglo-Norman settlement in Co. Wexford had retreated to a southeastern stronghold in the baronies of Forth and Bargy, a pattern that Colfer (1987) suggests was reminiscent of the “Pale of county Wexford”. Excavations of medieval sites in the county include the remains of a medieval house were excavated at Ballyanne (Moran 2000), with pottery indicative of oc- Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 4
  • 10. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 cupation in the 12th to 14th centuries, and excavations at Ferns, Hook Head, Newtown, Tintern, Tagh- mon, New Ross and Wexford town all produced medieval archaeological remains (Bennett 2004-5). Along the route of the Rathsillagh-Harristown road the moated site at Carrowreagh (excavated under licence no. 00E0476) was the largest medieval site excavated. A spread of medieval occupation material was also excavated at Bricketwtown (00E0476) and this was rich in the remains of medieval pottery. It is also possible that the limekilns at Bricketstown (00E0476) and Harristown Little (00E0417) were in use at the very end of the medieval period. 5.7 Post-Medieval (after 1600 AD) A few excavations of post-medieval archaeological sites have been carried out in Wexford county, in- cluding Brideswell Big, Duncannon Fort, and excavations in Wexford and Ennisorthy town (Bennett 2004-5). Some of the excavations from the Rathsillagh to Harristown road scheme were probably used during this time, in particular the limekilns at Bricketstown (00E0476, 00E0626) and Harristown Little (00E0417) were probably in use at this period. There is Jacobean house site in Dungeer, one of the townlands affected by the roadtake. References to the house/castle date to the early seventeenth century (Moore 1996). The site excavated under licence 00E0424 was 200 m west of another prehistoric settlement site (exca- vated under licence number 00E0425). A series of pits and hearths containing Middle - Late Bronze Age pottery were found. This archaeological activity evidently postdates the use of site 00E0424. Much later sites dating to the historic period include a kiln (00E0417) 300 m to the east and another (00E0476) located 700 m to the west. A medieval moated site is also recorded in Harristown Big (Moore 1996, 103). 6 Results Archaeological excavations in Harristown Big townland revealed a number of anomalous archaeo- logical features within an excavated area of c. 100 m2. A total of 33 excavated contexts were recorded including stakeholes, pits and a posthole. The site was divided into two areas: in Area 1 an arc of stakeholes and a driven post were discovered (Figure 5) while 25 m to the west in Area 2 three pits and a stakehole were excavated (Figures 6 & 7). Full contextual descriptions are provided in Appendix 1, while the stratigraphic matrix is recorded in Appendix 2 and the finds register is found in Appendix 3. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 5
  • 11. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 6.1 Area 1 Area 1 covered an area of 50 m2 and the excavated contexts comprised an arc of stakeholes (C.13, C.15, C.17, C.19, C.21, C.23, C.25 and C.31) that was orientated roughly northwest-southeast (Plate 1), two isolated stakeholes (C.27 and C.29) and a driven post or pit (C.38). There were no finds from this area of the site. The eight stakeholes that formed the arc were all between 0.1 m and 0.24 m in depth and between 0.08 m and 0.16 m in diameter. There was an average distance of 0.85 m between stakeholes and the existing circumference of the arc was approximately 5.2 m. All of the stakehole fills are similar in colour, composition and texture (mid to dark brown silty sands) and many contain flecks of charcoal, although there is no evidence for burning in situ. The placement of these stakeholes and the similarities in their dimensions and fill compositions suggest that they were part of a complex that was built and dismantled at the same time. The stakeholes were shallow and, if the site was heavily truncated, it is possible that they were originally more substantial. In this case they may have formed part of a structure or an animal enclosure. However, it is unlikely that they were part of a load-bearing structure and they probably represented a fence or screen, with the stakes driven into the ground and then bound together with smaller flexible twigs or wattle, and perhaps coated in mud. This may have functioned as a wind break or drying rack and may even have been erected to protect a fire or hearth from the prevailing wind, although no trace of a hearth was found. A sample of charcoal from one of the stakeholes (C.19, filled by C.18) returned a radiocarbon date of cal BC 3320-3220 and/or cal BC 3120-2900 (Beta-219127), suggesting that occupation at the site dated to the Middle-Late Neolithic (see Appendix 5). A driven post (C.38) measuring 0.22 m in diameter and 0.07 m deep was excavated at the northern end of the arc of stakeholes; it is possible that this was associated with the stakeholes, but it does not follow the curve of the arc, and may therefore have been from an entirely separate structure or activity. The fill of this post was dark silty clay with inclusions of charcaol and burnt clay, perhaps these are burnt remnants of the building materials (wood and mud) that came from the nearby fence or screen. Two isolated stakeholes (C.27 and C.29) occurred in near proximity to the arc of stakeholes, but they did not appear to be related to it. Their dimensions were similar, with diametres of circa 0.1 m and depths of between 0.08 m and 0.14 m. Their fills (C.26 and C.28) were both of sandy silts with oc- casional pebbles; no charcoal was found in these deposits. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 6
  • 12. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Context type Cut no. Fill nos. Stakehole C.13 C.12 (within arc) Stakehole C.15 C.14 (within arc) Stakehole C.17 C.16 (within arc) Stakehole C.19 C.18 (within arc) Stakehole C.21 C.20 (within arc) Stakehole C.23 C.22 (within arc) Stakehole C.25 C.24 (within arc) Stakehole C.31 C.30 (within arc) Stakehole C.27 C.26 (isolated) Stakehole C.29 C.28 (isolated) Driven Post C.38 C.32 Table 1: Summary of archaeological contexts from Area 1 6.2 Area 2 Area 2 was situated 25 m west of Area 1. The excavated contexts comprised an isolated pit and stake- hole to the north of the site, near the edge of the road take, and two pits, C.10 and C.37 (Plate 2). Several sherds of pottery were recovered during excavation of this part of the site, all were identified as Early Neolithic carinated bowls (Appendix 4, Plates 3-5). The isolated pit (C.6) and stakehole (C.4) were located c. 26 m to the north of Area 2, near the edge of the road take (Fig. 6). C.6 was the largest pit excavated at the site and it measured 1.2 m in length, 0.5 m in width and it was 0.1 m deep. It contained three fills of silty clay (C.1, C.2 and C.5). One fill was charcoal rich (C.1) and, in the absence of any evidence for burning in situ, has been interpreted as dumped hearth refuse. This suggests that waste disposal was the final function of this pit. A stakehole (C.4) was located immediately to the east of C.6. It measured 0.08 m in diameter and it was 0.17 m deep. The fill (C.3) contained occasional charcoal flecks and fine pebbles. The stake may have been used to mark the position of the pit (C.6) and to make it visible from a distance. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 7
  • 13. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 In the main area of excavation at Area 2 there were two pits (Fig. 6). The first pit (C.10) measured 0.64 in length, 0.55 m in width and it was 0.2 m deep. It contained just one fill (C.7) that was apparently also derived from domestic waste; it contained charcoal, carbonised hazel nut shell fragments and pot- tery (Finds 00E0424:7:1-34) which was identified as Early Neolithic carinated bowl (Appendix 4). The results of pottery analysis suggest occupation in the Early Neolithic with a date of c. 4000-3800 BC. A second pit (C.37) measured 0.69 m by 0.54 m and was 0.08 m deep. It contained two fills (C.34 and C.36). The lower fill (C.36) was charcoal rich but there was no evidence for burning in situ. One ceramic rim sherd was retrieved (Find 00E0424:36:1), this was also identified as a fragment of an Early Neolithic carinated bowl (Appendix 4). Overlying C.36 there was an upper fill (C.34) that consisted of re-deposited natural with some charcoal inclusions. The sequence of deposits in this pit suggests that when it was dug, the excavated material was placed beside the hole, the charcoal deposit was placed in the pit, and subsequently the pit was backfilled with the same (re-deposited) material that had originally been dug out. This complicated procedure was possibly carried out in order to prevent hot ashes and charcoal from blowing away and endangering nearby structures or people. However no trace of a hearth was encountered in the vicinity and it is unlikely that it is outside the road-take since a substantial area around these features was cleaned. If the hearth was shallow it is possible that it was truncated completely due to modern agricultural activity. A charcoal sample from the pit fill (C.34) returned a radiocarbon date of cal BC 4040-3910 and cal BC 3880-3800 (Beta-219134, see Appendix 5). This Early Neolithic radiocarbon date complements the results from analysis of the pottery found in the deposits in this area; both strands of evidence present a strong case for short-lived Early Neolithic occupation at this part of the site. Context type Cut no. Fill nos. Finds Pit C.6 C.1, C.2 & C.5 Pit C.10 C.7 34 sherds of pottery Pit C.37 C.34 & C.36 1 pottery rim sherd Stakehole C.4 C.3 Table 2: Summary of archaeological contexts from Area 2 7 Artefacts The only artefacts retrieved from the site were ceramic fragments (see the Finds Register in Appendix 3). The assemblage of ceramic remains were inspected by Helen Roche (Appendix 4) and these were identified as the remains of three vessels of Early Neolithic carinated bowls (c.4000-3800 BC) from Area 2 (Plates 3-5) and a sherd from a possible Middle Neolithic globular bowl (c.3500-2900 BC) that was recovered during topsoil stripping (Plate 6). Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 8
  • 14. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 8 Environmental Remains Fifteen bulk soil samples were taken from the site. These were examined for plant remains by Martha Tierney and nut shell fragments and cereal remains were found in tiny, insignificant quantities (Ap- pendix 6). Ten of the samples were also assessed for their charcoal content in advance of radiocarbon dating (Appendix 7). The assessment was carried out by Mary Dillon. Charcoal was only present in of the eight of the samples, and both diffuse porous and ring-porous wood types were identified. In many cases the preservation was not adequate for identification to generic level. 9 Discussion The separate areas of archaeology at Area 1 and Area 2 were distinct and different from each other, with Area 1 characterised by an arc of stakeholes and the activity in Area 2 characterised by pits. In each case the archaeological features cut the subsoil and evidence suggests a relatively short-lived pe- riod of occupation. The results from both radiocarbon and pottery analysis indicate that there were no clear links between the activity in both areas of the site and occupation at Area 2 (Early Neolithic) pre-dated Area 1 (Middle Neolithic) by several hundred years. In Area 2 the archaeology was characterised by pits and the retrieval of sherds from three pottery vessels (Find nos. 00E0424:7:1-34 and 00E0424:36:1). The pottery was identified as Early Neolithic carinated bowls (Appendix 4), a ceramic type that has a widespread distribution in both Britain and Ireland, although retrieval in the south-east of Ireland has been sparse until relatively recently (Ibid.). The pottery was good quality, burnished to a high sheen, and several of the most closely comparable as- semblages to the material retrieved from Harristown Big (00E0424) come from Early Neolithic house sites, for example at Corbally, Co. Kildare and Tankardstown South, Co. Limerick (Ibid.). Although there are exceptions, the carinated bowl is generally associated with settlements (Cooney 2000, 184), a factor which suggests that this site may represent the ephemeral remains of a settlement. There are no other indicators to support or refute this suggestion: no other finds were retrieved from the site and plant remains samples from the excavated contexts all produced negative results (Appendix 6). At Graigueshoneen, Co. Waterford (98E0575 Field 3) Early Neolithic carinated bowl fragments were re- trieved in association with the truncated remains of settlement but, as at Harristown Big, no structure could be discerned amongst the archaeological remains (Tierney 2005). The arc of stakeholes at Area 1 produced charcoal that returned a Middle-Late Neolithic radiocarbon date. A pottery sherd (Find no. 00E0424:39:1) discovered at this site during monitoring of topsoil stripping was identified as a fragment from a possible Middle Neolithic Globular Bowl. Because the date returned from the arc of stakeholes in Area 1 was Middle to Late Neolithic, it is possible that the pottery was originally from the activity at this area of the site. As in Area 2, there were no plant remains in any of the samples that were examined from this site (Appendix 6), and therefore there were few indicators of site function. Although the distribution of globular bowls is generally restricted to the northeast of Ireland, sherds have been found in association with Ballynamona, Co. Waterford (Appendix 4) and at Ahanaglogh, Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 9
  • 15. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Co. Waterford (98E0575 Area 15), where they were recovered from a site which comprised a hearth, a pit and a curving stake-built wall (Tierney 2005). The structural remains from Harristown Big were reminiscent of this. The archaeology from Area 1 and Area 2 at this site in Harristown Big has good parallels in the Early and Middle Neolithic material from Ahanaglogh and Graigueshoneen in Co. Waterford. At both lo- cales the occupation deposits cover the Early and Middle Neolithic periods but, due to the ephemeral nature of the archaeological remains, the identification of definite structures was impossible. This may be indicative of settlement that was transient in nature, but repeated over an extended period of time. There are several sites where there is evidence for Neolithic settlement, but no evidence for substantial structures, perhaps suggesting a range of sites that were subsidiary to more permanent settlement sites, or were used for short-term or specialised purposes (Cooney and Grogan 1994, 50-51; Cooney 2000, 56 and 74-75). 10 Conclusion The archaeological features excavated at Harristown Big under licence number 00E0424 were ephem- eral in nature, probably because occupation at the site was temporary or episodic. All of the features excavated at both areas of this site cut the sub-soil and there was no stratigraphic relationship between any of the cut features. Consequently there is no evidence for the sequence of activity at the site. These results are typical of short-lived prehistoric occupation. Radiocarbon results indicated a period of Early Neolithic occupation in Area 2 and Middle Neolithic activity at Area 1 and in general the radiocarbon dates agree with the dates obtained from analysis of the pottery typology. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 10
  • 16. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 11 Bibliography Bennett, I. 2004-5. ‘Archaeological Excavations in Co. Wexford’, Journal of the Wexford Historical Society 20, 184-196. Colfer, B. 1987. ‘Anglo-Norman Settlement in County Wexford’, pp. 65-101 in Whelan, K. (ed.) Wexford History and Society. Interdisciplinary essays on the history of an Irish county. Dublin, Geography Publications. Colfer, B. 1990-1991. ‘Medieval Wexford’, Journal of the Wexford Historical Society 13, 4-29. Cooney, G. and Grogan, E. 1994 Irish Prehistory: a social perspective. Bray, Wordwell. Cooney, G. 2000. Landscapes of Neolithic Ireland. London, Routledge. Cotter, C. 1986. ‘MacMurroughs, Co. Wexford’, in Cotter, C. (ed.) Excavations 1985. Dublin, Irish Academic Publication for Organisation of Irish Archaeologists. Green, S. W. and Zvelebil, M. 1990. “The Mesolithic colonisation and agricultural transition of south- east Ireland”, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 56, 57-88. Howarth, O.J.R. 1911. A Geography of Ireland. London, Oxford Geographies. McCarthy, M. 2004. ‘Strandfield, Co. Wexford’, pp. 520-521 in Bennett, I. (ed.) Excavations 2002. Bray, Wordwell. McLoughlin, C. 2004. ‘Kerlogue’, pp.517-518 in Bennet, I. (ed.) Excavations 2002. Bray, Wordwell. Mitchell, F. & Ryan, M. 1997. Reading the Irish Landscape. Dublin, Town House. Moore, M.J. 1996. Archaeological Inventory of County Wexford. Dublin,Government Publications. Moran, J. 2000. ‘Ballyanne, Co. Wexford’, in Bennett, I. (ed.) Excavations 1998. Bray, Wordwell. O’Keeffe, T. 2000. Medieval Ireland, An Archaeology. Stroud, Tempus. O’Kelly, M.J. 1975. ‘Archaeological Survey and Excavation of St. Vogue’s Church, Enclosure and Other Monuments st Carnsore, Co. Wexford’, Unpublished excavation report for the Electricity Supply Board. Purcell, J. 2004. ‘St. Vogue’s’, p.520 in Bennet, I. (ed.) Excavations 2002. Bray, Wordwell. Purcell, A. 2002. ‘Courtlands East, Co. Wexford’, in Bennett, I. (ed.) Excavations 2000. Bray, Wordwell. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 11
  • 17. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Stout, G. 1987. ‘Wexford in Prehistory 5000 B.C. to 300 A.D.’, pp.1-39 in Whelan, K. (ed.) Wexford History and Society. Interdisciplinary essays on the history of an Irish county. Dublin, Geography Publications. Tierney, J. 2005. ‘N25 Kilmacthomas realignment: report on excavation of sites under licence 98E0575’, Unpublished excavation report for Eachtra Archaeological Projects. Waddell, J. 1998. The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland, Galway, Galway University Press. Websites www.nra.ie/Archaeology/LeafletandPosterSeries accessed 21st October 2006-10-25 Maps reproduced under licence where appropriate Ordnance Survey Ireland Licence No. AU 0005603 © Government of Ireland Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 12
  • 18. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 12 Figures Figure 1: Discovery map showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh to Harristown road Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 13
  • 19. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 2 km 00E0417 00E0425 0 00E0424 00E0476 00E0623 00E0624 00E0626 00E0625 00E0475 00E0474 00E0471 00E0473 New Archaeological Sites Existing N25 New Road Key: Figure 2: Ordnance Survey 1st edition showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh-Harristown road. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 14
  • 20. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 2 km 00E0417 21 20 D TE 25 00E0425 S LI 18 DE 19 00E0424 58 173131 52 24 00E0476 16 00E0623 23 67 00E0624 00E0625 64 00E0626 0 00E0475 00E0474 TE1531 D LIS DE 33 00E0471 ED ST 3232 LI DE 14 00E0473 13 New Archaeological Sites Existing N25 New Road Key: Figure 3: RMP Sheet 36 showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh-Harristown road Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 15
  • 21. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Figure 4: Route of new road with all excavated sites displayed 500m 0m Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 16
  • 22. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Figure 5: Post-excavation plan of Area 1 at Harristown Big (00E0424) Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 17
  • 23. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Figure 6: Post-excavation plan of Area 2 Harristown Big (00E0424) Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 18
  • 24. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 13 Plates Plate 1: Arc of stakeholes in Area 1 from the south Plate 2: Two pits in Area 2 (C.10 and C.37) from north Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 19
  • 25. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Plate 3: Ceramic fragments from Vessel 1, Early Neolithic carinated bowl. (photograph by: John Sunderland) Plate 4: Ceramic fragment from Vessel 2, Early Neolithic car- inated bowl. (photograph by: John Sunderland) Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 20
  • 26. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Plate 5: Ceramic fragment of Vessel 3, Early Neolithic carinated bowl. (photograph by: John Sunderland) Plate 6: Ceramic fragment from Vessel 4, possible Middle Neolithic globular bowl (photograph by: John Sunderland) Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 21
  • 27. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 14 Appendices 14.1 Appendix 1: Context Register Appendix 1: Context Register for Harristwon Big, Co. Wexford (00E0424) C. No Area / Grid Type Dimensions Description 1 Field 49 Fill of pit C.6 0.5 N-S x 0.1 x Dark brownish black soft silty clay with Area 2 0.04 frequent fine and moderate medium sub-an- gular pebbles, frequent flecks and moderate small pieces of charcoal. Fill of pit cut C.6. 2 Field 49 Fill of pit C.6 0.14 N-S x 0.5 x Light greyish brown friable silty clay with Area 2 0.05 occasional medium sub-angular and sub- rounded pebbles. Fill of pit cut C.6. 3 Field 49 Fill of stakehole C.4 0.08N-Sx 0.08 Light greyish brown silty clay. Occasional Area 2 x 0.17 charcoal flecks. Within C.4. 4 Field 49 Stakehole cut 0.08 N-S x 0.08 Gradual break of slope top and base with ver- Area 2 x 0.17 tical convex sides on the east and west, steep and smooth north side and vertical smooth south side. The base is a tapered point in profile. Cut of stakehole, filled with C.3. 5 Field 49 Fill of pit C.6 1.14 N-S x 0.5 x Light bluish grey friable silty clay with oc- Area 2 0.05 casional sub-angular fine pebbles. Fill of pit cut C.6. 6 Field 49 Cut of pit 1.2 N-S x 0.5 Irregular cut. Gradual break slope-top and Area 2 x 0.1 base on S, E, W & imperceptible on N. Sides gentle and smooth on N, S, W & steep and smooth on E. Concave base. Cut of possible pit or possible root hole. Filled by C.1, C.2 and C.5. 7 Field 49 Fill of pit C.10 0.5 N-S x 0.5 Dark brown soft sandy loam. Moderate fine Area 2 x 0.2 angular and occasional medium sub-angular pebbles. Frequent charcoal flecks, moderate small charcoal pieces, occasional medium charcoal pieces. Occasional pieces burnt hazelnut shell. Thirty-four pottery fragments. Fill of pit C.10. 10 Field 49 Cut of pit 0.64 E-W x 0.55 Sub-circular cut. Gradual break of slope top Area 2 x 0.2 and base on the S, E, W and imperceptible on N. Gentle concave side on N, moderate and smooth on E, steep and concave on S, gentle and smooth on W. Concave Base. Cut of small domestic dumping pit filled with C.7. 12 Area 1 Grid 2 Fill of stakehole C.13 0.12 E-W x 0.1 Greyish black soft silty sand with occasionally x 0.2 occurring charcoal flecks and pebbles. Fill of stakehole cut C.13, possibly burnt in situ. 13 Area 1 Grid 2 Cut of stakehole 0.12 E-W x 0.1 Sub-circular cut with sharp break of slope top x 0.2 and base, vertical sides, tapered blunt point in profile. Stakehole cut filled with C.12. Pos- sibly related to stakehole C.15. 14 Area 1 Grid 2 Fill of stakehole C.15 0.1 E-W x 0.09 Mid brown soft silty sand with occasionally x 0.18 occurring pebbles. Fill of stakehole cut C.15. 15 Area 1 Grid 2 Cut of stakehole 0.1 E-W x 0.09 Sub-circular cut with sharp break of slope top x 0.18 and base, vertical side on the S and concave side on the N. Base tapered to a rounded point in profile. Orientation of top is north of the base. Cut of a stakehole filled with C.14. Possibly related to C.12. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 22
  • 28. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 C. No Area / Grid Type Dimensions Description 16 Area 1 Grid 1 Fill of stakehole C.17 0.09 N-S x 0.09 Dark greyish brown loose silty clay with x 0.18 frequently occurring charcoal flecks and occasionally occurring fine pebbles. Fill of stakehole cut C.17. 17 Area 1 Grid 1 Cut of stakehole 0.09 N-S x 0.09 Circular cut with gradual break of slope at x 0.18 top and base, vertical sides on the NE and E, concave sides on S and W. Base is tapered to a blunt point in profile. Cut of a stakehole filled with C.16. Possibly related to C.20, C.18, C.12, C.14 & C.24. 18 Area 1 Grid 2 Fill of stakehole C.19 0.1 N-S x 0.1x Mid brown loose silt with moderately occur- 0.1 ring flecks of charcoal. Fill of stakehole cut C.19. 19 Area 1 Grid 2 Cut of stakehole 0.1 N-S x 0.1x Circular cut with sharp break of slope at top 0.1 and base, vertical sides except for the NE side which is steep, blunt point in profile. Cut of stakehole with fill C.18. Possibly related to 6 other stakeholes, forming a semi-circular shape. 20 Area 1 Grid 2 Fill of stakehole C.21 0.11 E-W x 0.08 Mid brown slightly loose silt with occasion- x 0.14 ally occurring flecks of charcoal. Fill of stakehole C.21 21 Area 1 Grid 2 Cut of stakehole 0.11 E-W x 0.08 Oval cut with sharp break of slope at top and x 0.14 base, vertical sides except for irregular E side. Base is tapered in profile. Filled by C.20. Related to 6 other stakeholes, forming a semi- circular shape. 22 Area 1 Grid 2 Fill of stakehole C.23 0.13 E-W x 0.1 Mid brown firm sandy silt with frequent x 0.24 charcoal flecks and occasional pebbles. Fill of stakehole C.23. 23 Area 1 Grid 2 Cut of stakehole 0.13 E-W x 0.1 Sub-circular cut with sharp break of slope x 0.24 top, gradual break of slope base, concave sides and a pointed base. Orientation of top is east of base. Cut of stakehole filled with C.22. Forms a semi-circular shape with other stakeholes. 24 Area 1 Grid 2 Fill of stakehole C.25 0.16 m E-W x Mid yellowish brown soft sandy silt with 0.15 x 0.18 frequently occurring charcoal flecks and oc- casionally occurring pebbles. Fill of stakehole C.25. 25 Area 1 Grid 2 Cut of stakehole 0.16 m E-W x Sub-circular cut with sharp break of slope 0.15 x 0.18 at top and base, concave side on the W and convex side on the E. Base is a tapered blunt point in profile. Orientation of top is east of the base. Cut of stakehole filled with C.24. Related to C.23. 26 Area 1 Grid 2 Fill of stakehole C.27 0.11 E-W x 0.1 Mid-orangish brown loose sandy silt with oc- x 0.08 casionally occurring pebbles. Fill of stakehole cut C.27. 27 Area 1 Grid 2 Cut of stakehole 0.11 E-W x 0.1 Sub-circular cut with sharp break of slope x 0.08 at top and base, vertical sides and a tapered rounded base in profile. Cut of stakehole, filled with C.26. 28 Area 1 Grid 2 Fill of stakehole C.29 0.12 N-S x 0.12x Mid brown compact sandy silt with fine and 0.14 medium angular and sub-angular pebbles. Fill of stakehole cut C.29. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 23
  • 29. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 C. No Area / Grid Type Dimensions Description 29 Area 1 Grid 2 Cut of stakehole 0.12 N-S x 0.12x Circular cut with sharp break of slope at top 0.14 and base, vertical sides and a blunt tapered base in profile. Cut of stakehole filled with C.28. Possibly related to C.13, C.15, C.17, C.19, C.23, C.25, & C.27. 30 Area 1 Fill of stakehole C.31 0.16 E-W x 0.12 Mid brown soft sandy silt with occasionally Grid 5 x 0.1 occurring pebbles. Fill of stakehole cut C.31. 31 Area 1 Cut of stakehole 0.16 E-W x 0.12 Sub-rectangular cut with sharp break of slope Grid 5 x 0.1 at top and base, vertical sides and a tapered blunt point in profile. Cut of stakehole filled with C.30. 32 Area 1 Fill of stakehole C.38 0.22 N-S x 0.22 Dark brown compact silty clay with moder- Grid 8 x 0.07 ate pieces of burnt clay, moderately occurring fine and medium angular pebbles, medium angular stones and frequent charcoal flecks. Fill of possible driven post cut C.38. 34 Field 49 Area 2 Fill of pit C.37 0.4 E-W x 0.14 Light yellowish brown friable silty clay with x 0.05 occasional fine sub-angular pebbles. Rede- posited natural forming top fill of a small pit cut C.37. 36 Field 49 Area 2 Fill of pit C.37 0.69 NW-SE x Dark greyish brown friable silty clay with 0.54 x 0.08 occasional fine sub-angular pebbles, frequent flecks and moderately occurring small pieces of charcoal. Pottery rim sherd. Fill of pit cut C.37. 37 Field 49 Area 2 Cut of pit 0.69 NW-SE x Sub-rectangular cut. Sharp break of slope top, 0.54 x 0.08 sharp break of slope base on S and W and gradual break of slope base at the N and E. Sides are steep, smooth and concave and base is flat in profile. Filled with C.34 and C.36. 38 Area 1 Cut of stakehole 0.22 N-S x 0.22 Sub-circular cut with sharp break of slope at Grid 8 x 0.07 top and base, irregular sides and a rounded base. Cut of possible driven post or pit. Filled with C.32. Related to other stakeholes in Grid 2. 39 Extensive Topsoil Pottery fragments retrieved from topsoil dur- ing monitoring (Find 00E0424:39:1). 40 Extensive Subsoil Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 24
  • 30. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 14.2 Appendix 2: Stratigraphic Matrix 3 4 1 2 5 6 10 7 34 36 37 32 38 30 31 28 29 26 27 24 25 Natural Topsoil 22 23 20 21 18 19 16 17 14 15 12 13 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 25
  • 31. 00E0424 Appendix 3: Finds Register from Harristown Big, Co. Wexford (00E0424) 14.3 Find # Material Vessel Type Part of vessel 00E0424:7:1 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:2 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Neck sherd 00E0424:7:3 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Body sherd 00E0424:7:4 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:5 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Neck sherd 00E0424:7:6 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Body sherd 00E0424:7:7 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Rim fragment 00E0424:7:8 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Rim sherd 00E0424:7:9 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment Harristown Big, Co. Wexford 00E0424:7:10 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Rim fragment Appendix 3: Finds Register 00E0424:7:11 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:12 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:13 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:14 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Body sherd 00E0424:7:15 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Body sherd 00E0424:7:16 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Body sherd 00E0424:7:17 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Body sherd Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 00E0424:7:18 Ceramic 2 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Rim sherd 00E0424:7:19 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:20 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Body sherd 00E0424:7:21 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:22 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:23 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:24 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Body sherd 00E0424:7:25 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Body sherd 00E0424:7:26 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:27 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Body sherd 00E0424:7:28 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:29 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:30 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Shoulder sherd 00E0424:7:31 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:32 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 26 ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237
  • 32. 00E0424 Find # Material Vessel Type Part of vessel 00E0424:7:33 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:7:34 Ceramic 1 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Fragment 00E0424:36:1 Ceramic 3 Early Neolithic Carinated Bowl Rim fragment 00E0424:39:1 Ceramic 4 Possible Middle Neolithic Globular Bowl Fragment Harristown Big, Co. Wexford Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 27 ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237
  • 33. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 14.4 Appendix 4: Prehistoric pottery Appendix 4: Prehistoric pottery from Harristown Big, Co. Wexford (00E0424) By Helen Roche Summary The assemblage found in three pits, consists of 33 mainly fragmented sherds representing three Early Neolith- ic carinated bowls c. 4000-3800 BC and a possible Middle Neolithic globular bowl (c. 3500-2900 BC). Early Neolithic carinated bowls (Vessels 1-3) The sherds representing the three vessels, with simple out-turned pointed rims and simple-angled shoulders, are typical of the classic Early Neolithic round bottomed carinated bowl. This early type of Neolithic pottery was classified as ‘Dunmurry-Ballymarlagh style’ by Case (1961, 175-177) and as ‘classic’ carinated bowls by Sheridan (1995, fig. 2.4; nos 1 & 2). The fabric is well executed, hard and compact in texture and mainly brown-orange in colour. The surviving sherds show that the pots had been burnished to a high sheen. The inclusions are of crushed quartzite generally less than 3.1mm long with finely crushed mica frequently visible on the surface. The majority of the sherds have been assigned to Vessel 1; this is mainly because the rimsherds from this vessel are larger and therefore more informative regarding the examination of the fabric. However, the fabric of the rim fragments representing Vessels 2 and 3 is very similar in composition, but due to their limited size it is difficult to assign other individual sherds or fragments to these vessels. Early Neolithic pottery of this type forms a dispersed distribution throughout Ireland. It has mainly been found on settlement sites, often associated with houses, but examples have also been found in funerary contexts within portal and court tombs. The context at Harristown Big appears to be do- mestic representing activity dating to the beginning of the Neolithic period in this region. This is an important contribution to the archaeological record of this part of the country. Until recent years, it appeared that sites producing Early Neolithic pottery were absent in this south-eastern region, with the occasional find of a Middle Bronze Age urn burial representing evidence, not only of ceramic produc- tion, but also of an early prehistoric presence in this part of the country. The assemblage from Harris- town Big represents one of a growing number of sites producing Early Neolithic pottery in the region. Similar, although less accomplished pottery, has since been found at Courtlands East and Kerlogue, Co. Wexford (Purcell 2000, 354; McLoughlin 2002, 517-518). Further to the west, previously known sites include Kilgreany Cave (Tratman 1928; Movius 1935) and the court tomb at Ballynamona Lower (Powell 1938), both in county Waterford. More recently Early Neolithic carinated bowls have been reported from the Kilmacthomas area at Ahanaglogh and Cooltubrid East, Co. Waterford (Tierney et al. 2000, 328-31). On a wider scale, closely comparable material has come from house sites at Tankardstown South, Co. Limerick (Gowen 1988; Gowen and Tarbett 1988), the earliest Neolithic phase at Knowth, Co. Meath (Eogan and Roche 1997), Corbally, Co. Kildare (‘Silliot Hill’, Purcell 1998; 1999), and Newtown, Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 28
  • 34. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Co. Meath (Gowen and Halpin 1992), as well as Lough Gur, Co. Limerick, Circles J, K, L and Site 10 (Grogan and Eogan 1987), and Site C (Ó Ríordáin 1954). Middle Neolithic Globular bowl (Vessel 4) Little can be said regarding the small sherd representing this vessel. However, due to the curvature of the interior surface of the sherd and the nature of the fabric and inclusions it is probable that it represents the base of a Middle Neolithic bowl. Such vessels have a wide distribution in the north- eastern part of the country, extending from Goodlands, Co. Antrim, to Dalkey Island, Co. Dublin. However, their presence in the south-eastern part of the country is uncommon with the exception of Ballynamona, Co. Waterford (Powell 1938; Herity 1982, 337:fig. 39) where sherds representing a Mid- dle Neolithic necked bowl were found. Catalogue and description The excavation number 00E0424 is omitted throughout, only the feature number, in bold, followed by the find number is included. Numbers in square brackets indicate joining sherds. Vessel 1. A rimsherds 7:8, two rim fragments 7:7, 10, a shoulder sherd 7:30, a sherd from area of the neck 7:[2/5], six bodysherds 7:[3/6], [20/24], 15, 16, [17/25], [14/27] and fifteen fragments 7:1, 4, 9, [11/13], 12, 19, 21, 23, 26, [22/28], 29, 31, 32, 33, 34. Simple out-turned pointed rim, sometimes carelessly fashioned. Upright neck and gentle shoulder. Hard compact, well executed thin-walled fabric with a moderate content of quartzite inclusions (≤ 3.1mm). The exterior surface is smooth and burnished. Slight traces of carbonised matter on both surfaces. Colour: brown-orange throughout. Thickness: 5.0-8.3mm. Vessel 2. A rim fragment 7:18. Simple, out-turned pointed rim. Hard compact, well executed thin-walled fabric with a moderate content of quartzite inclusions (≤ 1.4mm). The surfaces are smooth and burnished. Colour: brown throughout. Thickness: 6.2mm. Vessel 3. A rim fragment 36:1. Simple, out-turned pointed rim. Hard compact, well executed thin-walled fabric with a moderate con- tent of quartzite inclusions (≤ 2.6mm). The surfaces are smooth and burnished. Colour: brown-black throughout. Thickness: 6.2mm. Vessel 4. A bodysherd 39:1. Thick-walled curved sherd. The weathered fabric is brittle with a moderate to high content of inclu- Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 29
  • 35. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 sions (≤ 4.1mm). Most of the exterior surface is missing and traces of carbonised matter are present on the smooth curved interior surface. Colour: orange exterior and black interior surface. Thickness: 18.6mm. References Case, H.J. 1961 Irish Neolithic pottery: distribution and sequence, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 27, 174-233. Eogan, G. and Roche, H. 1997 Excavations at Knowth 2. Royal Irish Academy Monographs in Ar- chaeology, Dublin. Gowen, M. 1988 Three Irish Gas Pipelines: New Archaeological Evidence in Munster. Wordwell, Dub- lin. Gowen, M. and Halpin, E. 1992 A Neolithic House at Newtown, Archaeology Ireland 20, 25-7. Gowen, M. and Tarbett, C. 1988 A Third Season at Tankardstown, Archaeology Ireland 8, 156. Grogan, E. and Eogan, G. 1987 Lough Gur excavations by Seán P. Ó Ríordáin: further Neolithic and Beaker habitations on Knockadoon, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 87C, 299-506. Herity M. 1982 Irish Decorated Neolithic Pottery, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 82C, 248- 404. McLoughlin, C. 2002 Kerlogue, Co. Wexford. In I. Bennett (ed.) Excavations 2002, 517-518. Word- well, Dublin. Movius, H. 1935 Kilgreany Cave, County Waterford, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 65, 254-96. Ó Ríordáin, S.P. 1954 Lough Gur Excavations: Neolithic and Bronze Age Houses on Knockadoon, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 56C, 297-459. Powell, T.G.E. 1938 Excavation of a Megalithic Tomb at Ballynamona Lower, County Waterford, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 68, 260-71. Purcell, A. 1998 Brownstown, Corbally and Silliot Hill, Co. Kildare. In I. Bennett (ed.) Excavations 1997, 91. Wordwell, Dublin. Purcell, A. 1999 Neolithic houses at Corbally, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare, Archaeology Ireland 47, 15. Purcell, A. 2000 Courtlands East. Neolithic. Co. Wexford. In I. Bennett (ed.) Excavations 2000, 354. Wordwell, Dublin. Sheridan, A. 1995 Irish Neolithic pottery: the story in 1995. In I. Kinnes and G. Varndell (eds) ‘Un- baked Urns of Rudely Shape’, 3-21. Oxbow Monograph 55, Oxford. Tierney, J., Richardson, A. and Frazer, B. 2000 Ahanaglogh-Graigueshoneen. Prehistoric. In I. Ben- nett (ed.) Excavations 2000, 328-31. Wordwell, Dublin. Tratman, E.K. 1928 Excavations at Kilgreany Cave, Co. Waterford, Proceedings of the Bristol Speleological Society 3, 109-153. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 30
  • 36. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 14.5 Appendix 5: Radiocarbon Results. Appendix 5: Table of Radiocarbon Results from Harristown Big, Co. Wexford (00E0424) Radiocarbon dates from Beta Analytic Inc. Lab Charcoal 13C/12C Radiocarbon 2 Sigma Context Sample code Identification Ratio Age Calibration Diffuse-porous wood cal BC 3320- Beta (Alnus/Salix/Populus/ -24.9 4400 +/- 50 3220 AND 18 13 219127 Betula/Corylus/Prunus/ o/oo BP cal BC 3120- Ilex/Pomoideae) 2900 Diffuse-porous wood cal BC 4040- Beta (Alnus/Salix/Populus/ -23.9 5150 +/- 50 3910 AND 34 21 219134 Betula/Corylus/Prunus/ o/oo BP cal BC 3880- Ilex/Pomoideae) 3800 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 31
  • 37. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 14.6 Appendix 6: Archaeobotanical Assessment Appendix 6: Archaeobotanical Assessment Report on the Charred Plant remains from Harristown Big, Co. Wexford Excavation Licence 00E0424 By Martha Tierney Non-technical summary The main aim of this assessment was to investigate the organic content of the soil samples collected during the excavation in order to determine their potential for further analysis and whether they pro- vide any evidence for the function of this site. No noteworthy plant remains were found. Introduction This report details the analysis of soil samples for charred plant remains taken during excavation in the townland of Harristown Big, Co. Wexford. The excavation revealed 33 stratigraphic contexts includ- ing stakeholes, pits and a posthole. A total of 15 contexts were analysed, but the organic contents were poor. Methodology The samples were collected on site as bulk soil samples. In the laboratory the sample volume, colour and texture were recorded. The samples were processed using a simple flotation method, where each sample was soaked in water to allow carbonised plant material to float; this ‘flot’ was then poured into a stack of sieves (2 mm, 1 mm, 500 microns, 250 microns). When all of the carbonised material was collected the flot was air-dried prior to storage. The samples were scanned for organic content under a low-powered magnification and the organic remains were recorded in terms of abundance. Results of analysis Of the 15 samples analysed only three samples contained remains worth noting. C. 30 was one of eight stakeholes forming an arc on the site. There was no evidence from the fill that the stake had burnt in situ and one fragment of indeterminate oat grain was found. C. 32 was a driven post or a pit and it contained charcoal and burnt clay. Two indeterminate nut fragments were identi- fied. C. 36 was a basal pit fill (cut C.37) and it contained one hazelnut fragment. Results No evidence of charring in situ of either the stakes or the possible post was found. Apart from the scant charred remains outlined above, there were no plant remains present in the samples to throw light on the function of the features. Conclusions No further analysis of these samples is required. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 32
  • 38. 00E0424 Harristown Big, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Table 1 List of notable sample contents Context S a mple Context type Charred plant content No. No. 12 9 stakehole fill none 14 10 stakehole fill none 16 11 stakehole fill none 18 13 stakehole fill none 20 14 stakehole fill none 22 15 stakehole fill none 24 12 stakehole fill none 26 16 stakehole fill none 28 17 stakehole fill none 30 18 stakehole fill 1 indet. oat grain fragment 32 19 driven post/pit 2 poss hazelnut fragments 33 20 - none 34 21 fill of pit C.37 none 35 22 fill of pit C.37 none 36 23 fill of pit C.37 1 hazelnut fragment 14.7 Appendix 7: Charcoal Assessment Results Appendix 7: Table of charcoal assessment results from Harristown Big, Co. Wexford (00E0424) Charcoal assessed by Mary Dillon Context Sample Charcoal 12 9 Diffuse-porous & Oak/Ash/Elm (Quercus/Fraxinus/Ulmus) 14 10 Absent 16 11 Diffuse-porous 18 13 Diffuse-porous 20 14 Diffuse-porous & Oak/Ash/Elm (Quercus/Fraxinus/Ulmus) 22 15 Diffuse-porous & Oak/Ash/Elm (Quercus/Fraxinus/Ulmus) 24 12 Oak/Ash/Elm (Quercus/Fraxinus/Ulmus) 26 16 Absent 33 20 Diffuse-porous 34 21 Diffuse-porous & Oak/Ash/Elm (Quercus/Fraxinus/Ulmus) 35 22 Diffuse-porous Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0424-harristown-big-co-wexford/ 33