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Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal
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Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal

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The site at Ballyvergin comprised one hearth, two ditches, twenty-five stakeholes and a number of pits, some of which may have acted as troughs. It was located close to a stream and heat-shattered …

The site at Ballyvergin comprised one hearth, two ditches, twenty-five stakeholes and a number of pits, some of which may have acted as troughs. It was located close to a stream and heat-shattered stones and charcoal were found in several of the deposits. The site has therefore been interpreted as a burnt mound, although the identification of troughs is tentative. The area of excavation was truncated by later (modern) field ditches.

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  • 1. Eachtra Journal Issue 4 [ISSN 2009-2237] Archaeological Excavation Report E0473 - Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford Burnt Mound
  • 2. Final Excavation Report,, N25 Harristown to Rathsillagh Realignment, Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford December 2009 Client: Wexford County Council, c/o Tramore House Road Design Office, Tramore, Co. Wexford Licence No.: 00E0473 Licensee: Daniel Noonan Written by: Daniel Noonan & 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. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, 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 Site location and topography...............................................................................5 7 Results ................................................................................................................5 7.1 Trough and associated deposits and pits........................................................6 7.2 Hearth and stakeholes ..................................................................................6 7.3 Pits ...............................................................................................................6 7.4 Ditches .........................................................................................................7 8 Artefacts .............................................................................................................8 9 Environmental Remains .....................................................................................8 10 Discussion ..........................................................................................................9 11 Summary ........................................................................................................... 10 12 Bibliography ...................................................................................................... 11 13 Figures ............................................................................................................... 13 14 Plates ................................................................................................................. 19 15 Appendices ........................................................................................................ 22 15.1 Appendix 1 Context Register......................................................................22 15.2 Appendix 2: Stratigraphic Matrix ................................................................31 15.3 Appendix 3 Radiocarbon Results.................................................................32 15.4 Appendix 4 Charcoal Assessment ................................................................33 15.5 Appendix 5 Archaeobotanical Assessment ...................................................34 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ iii
  • 4. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, 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-Har- ristown 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 the excavated area at Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford (00E0473) showing the pits, possible furnace and the later ditches truncating the archaeological contexts Figure 6: Post-excavation plan of the site at Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, with the Early- Middle Bronze Age features accentuated List of Plates Plate 1: Working shot of site under excavation with view of surrounding landscape Plate 2: Cut of Pit C.112 Plate 3: Stakeholes around area of hearth C.37 Plate 4: Pit C.4 Plate 5: Deposit C.90 containing a large amount of heat shattered stone Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ iv
  • 5. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 i Acknowledgements Project Manager: Michael Tierney Licensee: Daniel Noonan Field Staff: Margôt Ryan, Tom Jaynes, Karen Ward, Carol Power, Ronan O’ Donoghue Photography: Brian MacDomhnaill Illustrations: Stuart Elder, John Lehane, Bernice Kelly, Brian MacDomhnaill, Enda O’ Mahony, Robin Turk Text: Daniel Noonan, Margôt Ryan, Antonia Doolan, Penny Johnston, Stuart Elder This project was entirely funded by Wexford County Council, under the National Development Plan. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ v
  • 6. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 1 Summary County Wexford Townland Ballyvergin Parish Kilgarvan Civil Parish Kilgarvan Barony Shelmaliere West National Grid Co-ordinates 287948 123877 Chainage 3050 Site Type Burnt Mound Excavation Licence Number 00E0473 2 Introduction The Rathsillagh to Harristown Little N25 realignment scheme in Co. Wexford has resulted in the discovery of several archaeological sites. The site at Ballyvergin (excavation licence number 00E0473) comprised one hearth, two ditches, twenty-five stakeholes and a number of pits, some of which may have acted as troughs. It was located close to a stream and heat-shattered stones and charcoal were found in several of the deposits. The site has therefore been interpreted as a burnt mound, although the identification of troughs is tentative. The area of excavation was truncated by later (modern) field ditches. 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 (Fig. 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 80m 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/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 1
  • 7. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, 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/post-medieval 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 road-take. 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 (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 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 2
  • 8. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 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, 9-10, 22). At Ballyvadden the Late Bronze Age metal ob- jects were found within a ceramic container, a unique feature in Irish hoards, but apparently common on the continent during the period (Stout 1987, 22). 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 recognised 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 identified but many were not well documented and Moore (1996) could only 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 this Early-Middle Bronze Age site at Ballyvergin where hot-stone technology was used, a metalworking site at Harristown Big (00E0425) where a series of Late Bronze Age metalworking pits and crucibles were found, and the Late Bronze Age burnt mound site at Dungeer (00E0474). 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 from Bricketstown and one was a small cremation cemetery (00E0623), the second was a small hearth (00E0624). Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 3
  • 9. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 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 established by the end of the ninth century (Colfer 1990-91). 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- 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. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 4
  • 10. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 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). 6 Site location and topography The site excavated under licence number 00E0473 was located 15 km west of Wexford city and 4.2 km northwest of Taghmon town, just southeast of the junction of the L128 and the old N25 roads. The archaeological contexts were located on a flat and level site at the base of slope to the west with a more substantial hill to the east (Plate A). It was approximately 10 m west of a small stream which is a tributary of the Corock River. The site was generally well drained but did have a slight tendency to flood to the extreme east and north during heavy rainfall. The surrounding archaeological landscape of the site consists of three enclosures recorded in the Ar- chaeological Inventory of County Wexford (Moore 1996, 253) which are located within one kilometre of the site. These are a polygonal enclosure in Camaross (OS 36:5:3), 750 m northeast; an enclosure in Assagart (OS 36:5:2) 750 m to the northwest and an enclosure in Ballyvergin (OS 35:1:5) which is 900 m north of the site. On the new route of the N25, a farmhouse and limekiln (recorded under monitor- ing licence number 00E0379) is located less than 100 m to the west. The nearest archaeological site excavated on the re-routed N25 is located 1.3 km to the southeast, this is a moated site excavated under excavation licence number 00E0471. 7 Results The archaeology uncovered and excavated under licence number 00E0473 consisted of seven pits, some perhaps used as troughs, one hearth, two ditches and twenty-five stakeholes (Fig. 5). Most of the pits contained waste material that appeared to be associated with metalworking (although there was no slag or hammer scale in the samples) and these deposits identified during excavation may have been natural ores and/or manganese deposits. A full context register is included in Appendix 1 and a stratigraphic matrix is incorporated into this report in Appendix 2. There archaeological activity at the site was represented by a large sub-rectangular pit with some as- sociated spreads, a nearby hearth and stakeholes. There were also several pits and much of this activity was cut by two linear ditches that crossed the site and possibly acted as a boundary or enclosure in the relatively recent past. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 5
  • 11. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 7.1 Trough and associated deposits and pits The earliest phase consisted of a large pit (C.112) and four spreads. C.112 (Plate 1) was the cut of a large sub-rectangular pit that was 2.4 m long, 1.98 m wide and 0.77 m in depth. In size and shape this pit resembled troughs from burnt mound sites although it was not permanently filled by water. It had four fills (C.107, C.108, C.110 and C.113). The fills of the pit ranged in depth from 0.13 m to 0.6 m. Although they differed greatly in colour and texture, most deposits contained small amounts of char- coal and some also contained inclusions of manganese. One stakehole, C.115, (c. 0.2 m in diameter and 0.25 m deep) was associated with the pit, located at its north-western end. There is evidence that the pit was re-used as a shallow re-cut was found; C.41 measured 1.36 m long, 0.98 m wide and it was 0.2 m deep. The re-cut was subsequently filled with more waste-like material (C.40) that contained many heat-shattered stones. The fills of both the original pit and the re-cut were later truncated by a pit (C.91) and a ditch (C.88). Immediately adjacent to the pit, at its southeastern end, there were two spreads (C.97 and C.98) with average dimensions of 1.1 m by 0.67 m by 0.07 m in depth. They contained charcoal, burnt stone and manganese and were similar to some of the fills within the pit. To the south of the pit C.112 there were four spreads of waste material (C.96, C.104, C.106 and C.111) that were similar in nature to burnt mound material; they were predominantly black in colour (but also varied between grey and brown) and contained frequent inclusions of fire-shattered stone and charcoal. They measured on average 1.7 m in length, 0.6 m in width and 0.15 m in depth. They were probably deposits associated with the use of hot-stone technology at the site (see Ó Néill 2003-4). 7.2 Hearth and stakeholes A hearth (C.37) and several stakeholes (Plate 3) located immediately to the west of the possible trough were probably associated with its use. The hearth (C.37) was 1.7 m long and measured 0.74 m wide at its base. The upper fills of (C.5 and C.21) had an average depth of 0.1 m and both were charcoal-rich deposits. The underlying context (C.37) consisted of oxidised natural. The hearth was closely associat- ed with 23 stakeholes (C.14, C.15, C.17, C.19, C.20, C.24, C.29, C.31, C.33, C.36, C.49, C.51, C.53, C.55, C.57, C.65, C.67, C.69, C.71, C.73, C.75, C.77 and C.79) that were of similar morphology (average diameter 0.12 m and average depth 0.14 m) and contained the same types of fills, suggesting that they were more-or-less contemporary. A small number of these stakes (C.15, C.17 and C.36) were burnt in situ, being charcoal filled or containing charcoal plugs. The large number of stakeholes to the northeast and southwest of the hearth and the presence of stakeholes within the hearth suggests that there may have been a spit or a similar overhanging feature suspended by the fire. The hearth may have been used to prepare stones that were used to heat water in the trough (C.112). 7.3 Pits A large, truncated pit (C.2) and several smaller pits were also discovered at the site. The large pit C.2 was truncated by a later feature (C.4) to the north and by the ditch C.94/95. The remaining shape in plan was sub-rectangular and it measured 1.86 m in length by 1.0 m in width with a depth of 0.26 m. It contained four separate fills (C.10, C.25, C.26, and C.27). These deposits all Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 6
  • 12. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 contained material that resembled slag, charcoal flecks, and some had residues of ash. One of the fills (C.10) produced diffuse-porous wood charcoal that returned an Early-Middle Bronze Age radiocar- bon date of cal BC 1650-1420 (Beta 219133; see Appendix 3). The basal layer C.27, was the thickest at 0.15 m in depth. It was a firm clay that was possibly a special lining for the pit. The three remaining fills (average depth 0.05 m) appeared to be heat-affected and in situ; this suggested that the pit was used for heating material. The fact that the deposits overlay each other suggests that it was not cleaned out after each use. To the north there was a pit (C.44) that was rectangular in plan with smooth sides that varied from vertical to steeply sloping and it measured 1.1 m in length, 0.79 m wide and had a maximum depth of 0.15 m. The main fills (C.58, C.62 and C.63) were on average 0.05 m deep and contained burnt stone, manganese, slag-like deposits and charcoal. The uppermost deposit (C.39) apparently represented nat- ural silting, suggesting that the pit was not entirely back-filled prior to disuse. C.45 (a stakehole meas- uring 0.2 m in diameter and 0.1 m in depth) was found immediately north of the pit and it may have been associated with its use. Given its steep sides and its proximity to the large pit C.2, it is possible that this cut was originally a cooling pit for heated material that was produced within the larger pit. Pit (C.101) was possibly also associated with the pit C.2. It was sub-circular in plan and measured 1.68 m long, was 1.56 m wide and 0.5 m deep, but it was heavily truncated by a later ditch (C.88/C.93). It was filled with C.92 (a stony, charcoal flecked deposit). A single truncated pit (C.12) may be contemporaneous. It is difficult to describe as the pit was trun- cated by machine and by a later pit, C.4 (Plate 2). The remaining cut was irregular in shape and meas- ured 0.26 m long, by 0.15 m wide and 0.32 m deep. It was filled by a brown sandy silt (C.11) that may have accumulated naturally. Two pits (C.4 and C.91) were stratigraphically later than the others excavated at the site as they trun- cated earlier features. The pit C.4 was 2.4 m long, 1.2 m wide and was 0.3 m deep. It contained one homogenous fill (C.3). It truncated the large pit C.2 and another pit C.12. The other pit (C.91) was truncated by a ditch (C.88/C.93) so its true extent is unknown; the surviving remains measured 0.83 m in length, 0.6 m in width and 0.28 m in depth. This pit was filled by C.90, a light grey, stone-rich deposit (Plate B). It truncated the pit C.112. The deposits within both pits differed in texture but had similar inclusions of charcoal and ash. This suggests that they were backfilled with heat-affected mate- rial that included waste from the activities carried out at the site. The stratigraphy of these cut features indicates that they post-dated the possible trough C.112 and pre-dated at least one of the ditches that traversed the site. 7.4 Ditches The latest (most recent) phase of activity at the site was the excavation of two roughly parallel, wide, shallow, curvilinear ditches (C.88/93 and C.94/95). The inner ditch (C.88/C.93) was approximately 8.5 m long (where excavated) and from 1.1-1.2 m wide and c.0.4 m deep. It was filled by C.87 and C.13, fills that varied from brown to greyish brown and from silts to clays; it appears that the ditch was in-filled gradually and naturally. The excavated part of the outer ditch (C.94/C.95) was 5.4 m long, c.1.6 m wide and 0.3 m deep. It Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 7
  • 13. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 was particularly shallow and wide in places and was probably heavily truncated. It was filled by seven deposits: C.46, C.34, C.42, C.59, C.60, C.61, and C.86. All of the fills were brown silts or clays and the majority appear to have accumulated naturally although there were some burnt stone inclusions towards the south. These may have been the results of disturbance to earlier archaeological features when the ditch was dug, suggesting that the excavation results only hint at the extent of archaeological activity in the area. These ditches were roughly parallel and were orientated from northwest to southeast (for on average 3.8 m) before taking a 90° turn and changing orientation from northeast to southwest (for on average 3.3 m). This indicates that the ditches served the same purpose; it is likely that they acted as a bound- ary and/or enclosed the field. This boundary is not currently in use, perhaps indicating a shift in land ownership or land use. The ditch fills contained the only finds from the site: the outer ditch contained some modern pottery (in C.46) and some glass (in C.86) while the inner ditch (C.87) contained an extremely corroded anomalous iron object. All of these finds are modern in origin and they were not kept as part of the site archive. Their recovery suggests that the ditches date to a relatively recent phase of activity at the site. 8 Artefacts No artefacts were retrieved during excavation of this site. 9 Environmental Remains Twenty-one bulk soil samples were taken during excavation. These were assessed for the presence of plant remains by Martha Tierney but no significant macroplant material was recovered apart from the remains of one charred weed seed taken from a modern ditch fill (Appendix 5). Sixteen of the samples were assessed for charcoal by Mary Dillon in order to select suitable material for radiocarbon dating. Charcoal was only present in thirteen of the samples (Appendix 4) and it was predominantly identified as a diffuse-porous wood type. Given the limited range of trees present in prehistoric Ireland this means that the charcoal was from alder, willow/poplar, birch, hazel, plum/cherry, gorse or an ap- ple-type tree. The most common types found at prehistoric sites tend to be alder or hazel. Only two samples were different: C.92 from the fill of pit C.101 and possibly associated with the furnace, pro- duced ring-porous wood and well preserved charcoal that was possible to identify definitively as oak taken from C.13, the fill of one of the later ditches (C.88/C.93). This sample also contained charcoal of diffuse-porous type. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 8
  • 14. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 10 Discussion The frequent recovery of charcoal and heat-shattered stone deposits at Ballyvergin is striking and it indicates that hot-stone technology (as described by Ó Néill 2003-4) was used at the site. There is an- other, more conventional example of a burnt mound site at Dungeer, c.1,2 km to the southeast. Burnt mounds are the most common Bronze Age sites found in Ireland. The characteristic site-type is found in low-lying/damp ground and consists of a mound of charcoal-rich black sediment that is packed with heat-shattered stones and forms a horseshoe-shape around a pit or trough that filled with water. In many cases, however, all that survives to the present day are black spreads with fragments of shattered stones visible in ploughed fields. Traditionally these sites have been interpreted as ancient cooking places, where large stones were heated in fires and then added to the water-filled trough: the extreme heat of the stones eventually heating the water in the trough until it reached boiling point. It could be maintained at this heat by occasional ad- ditions of hot stones. Archaeologists suggest that meat was covered in straw or a similar wrapping and boiled within the trough. Experimental cooking at reconstructed sites such as Ballyvourney (O’Kelly 1954) have demonstrated that this could be achieved quite efficiently. However, the scarcity of ani- mal remains from most excavated burnt mounds (although there are some notable exceptions such as Inchagreenoge in Co. Clare; Grogan forthcoming) has left the question of function open to debate and other theories on their use include bathing and dyeing textiles together with the production of hot water and steam for curative purposes and sweat houses (Ó Drisceoil 1988). All of these sugges- tions are speculative as there is virtually no conclusive scientific evidence to prove or disprove theories about how the sites were used. This may be partially because the sites that archaeologists describe as burnt mounds were used for several different purposes. We recognise the sites archaeologically by the remains of charcoal and heat shattered stones but as Ó Néill (2003-4) points out, these are the remains of a technology (the use of hot stones known as “pyrolithic technology”), rather than specific indica- tions of the end result of the process. The Dungeer burnt mound was situated at the only area of low ground that was covered by this scheme and this perhaps explains why there was only one definite example of these ubiquitous monu- ments excavated during the course of this project. There are sixty-three burnt mounds (or “ fulachta fiadh”) listed in the Archaeological Inventory of County Wexford (Moore 1996) but up to the year 2003 there were only three others recorded in the county (www.excavations.ie and Bennett 2003, 2004 and 2005), as well as a reference to ploughed-out burnt mounds recorded during testing (Stafford 2003). Recent excavations in Co. Wexford along the routes of new roads in the county will augment the number of excavated examples. There are also suggestion that the deposits excavated from Ballyvergin were associated with metalwork- ing, as slag-like and manganese deposits were quite commonly recorded during excavation, although no slag or hammer-scale was retrieved from any of the samples from the site. There are suggestions of associations with metalworking at burnt mound sites such as Tullaheddy, Co. Tipperary (O’Brien 2000) and Bawnaglogh, Cork (Ó Néill 2000) and perhaps metalworking was one of the many applica- tions for hot-stone technology. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 9
  • 15. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 11 Summary The site at Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, excavataed under licence 00E0473, comprised five pits, one pos- sible furnace, one hearth and twenty-five stakeholes. The entire area was truncated by two ditches that are of recent origin. The frequency of charcoal and heat-shattered stone in the archaeological deposits indicated the use of pyrolithic technology at the site. However, despite the similarity of these deposits to burnt mound material, there was no evidence for a trough at the site and many of the contexts were interpreted as the residues of industrial waste, probably from metalworking. The site produced an Ear- ly-Middle Bronze Age radiocarbon date and it complements evidence for fairly sporadic and low-level production of metal in the earlier part of the Irish Bronze Age. The area of excavation was truncated by later (modern) field ditches which caused extensive disturbance to the archaeological remains. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 10
  • 16. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 12 Bibliography Bennett, I. (ed.) 2003. Excavations 2001. Bray, Wordwell. Bennett, I. (ed.) 2004. Excavations 2002. Bray, Wordwell. Bennett, I. (ed.) 2006. Excavations 2003. Bray, Wordwell. 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. 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, Town House, Dublin 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’Brien, R. 2000. ‘Tullahedy, Co. Tipperary’, in Bennett, I. (ed.) Excavations 1999. Bray, Wordwell. O’Keefe, 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. O’Kelly, M.J. 1954 ‘Excavations and experiments in Irish cooking places’, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 84, 105-156. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 11
  • 17. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Ó Drisceoil, D. 1988 ‘Burnt mounds: cooking or bathing?’, Antiquity 62 (671-680). Ó Néill, J. 2003/2004 ‘Lapidibus in igne calefactis coquebatur: The historical burnt mound “tradition”’, Journal of Irish Archaeology XII & XIII, 79-86. Ó Néill, J. 2000 Bawnaglgogh, Co. Cork 98E0420, p.14 in Bennett, I. (ed.) Excavations 1998. Bray, Wordwell. Purcell, J. 2004. ‘St. Vogue’s’, in Bennet, I. (ed.) Excavations 2002. Bray, Wordwell. Purcell, A. 2002. ‘Courtlands East, Co. Wexford’, in Bennett, I. (ed.) Excavations 2000. Bray, Wordwell. Stafford, E. 2003. “N30 Realignment Moneytucker to Jamestown,” in Bennett, I. (ed.) Excavations 2001. Bray, Wordwell. 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. Websites www.excavations.ie accessed 21st October 2006 www.nra.ie/Archaeology/LeafletandPosterSeries accessed 21st October 2006 Maps reproduced under licence where appropriate Ordnance Survey Ireland Licence No. AU 0005603 © Government of Ireland Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 12
  • 18. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 13 Figures Figure 1: Discovery map showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh to Harristown road Figure 1: Discovery map showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh-Harristown road Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 13
  • 19. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 2 km 00E0417 00E0425 00E0424 0 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/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 14
  • 20. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 2 km 00E0417 21 20 D TE 25 00E0425 IS EL 18 D 19 00E0424 58 173131 52 24 00E0476 16 00E0623 23 67 00E0624 00E0625 64 00E0626 0 00E0475 00E0474 TE1531 D LIS DE 33 00E0471 D TE 3232 IS EL D 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/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 15
  • 21. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, 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/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 16
  • 22. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 E 287948 N 123884 E 287944 N 123875 E 287954 N 123871 Figure 5: Post-excavation plan of the excavated area at Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford (00E0473) showing the pits, possible furnace and the later ditches truncating the archaeological contexts Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 17
  • 23. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 C.93 E 287948 C.101 N 123884 E 287957 N 123881 C.93 C.112 C.73 C.67 C.14 C.17 C.49 C.44 C.19 C.20 C.51 C.45 C.65 C.71 C.53 C.57 C.55 C.36 C.75 C.77 C.115 C.69 C.37 C.79 C.91 C.33 C.29 C.31 E 287944 C.13 N 123875 C.4 C.104 C.12 C.2 C.94 E 287954 N 123871 0 5m Figure 6: Post-excavation plan of the site at Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford, with the Early-Middle Bronze Age features accentuated Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 18
  • 24. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 14 Plates Plate 1: Working shot of site under excavation with view of surrounding landscape Plate 2: Cut of Pit C.112 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 19
  • 25. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Plate 3: Stakeholes around area of hearth C.37 Plate 4: Pit C.4 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 20
  • 26. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Plate 5: Deposit C.90 containing a large amount of heat shattered stone Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 21
  • 27. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 15 Appendices 15.1 Appendix 1 Context Register Context No. Dimensions (l x b Description x d) in metres 2 1.86 m N-S x 1.0 m A sub-rectangular cut with rounded corners to the SE and SW. The break x 0.26 m in depth of slope top was gradual to the south, NE and SW, sharp to the west, SE and NW and the cut was truncated by machine to the north and to the east by C.4. The west side was vertical and irregular, the south side was gently sloping and concave and the eastern side was moderately sloped and concave. The break of slope at the base was gradual except to the west, SE and NW where it was sharp. The base was flat to concave in profile. The cut of a pit dug for the purpose of industrial activity, filled with C.10, 25, 26, and 27. 3 2.2 m NW-SE x Mid reddish brown, soft, fine, sandy silt that contained moderate amounts 1.40 m x 0.3 m in of pebbles, small stones, charcoal flecks, ash and slag-like material. Inclu- depth sions indicate that it may be the by-product of industrial activity on the site. Fill of pit cut C.4. 4 2.4 m NE-SW x 1.2 Sub-rectangular cut. Break of slope top of the cut was gradual everywhere m x 0.3 m in depth except to the south and NE where it was imperceptible. Sides were gently sloping and the break of slope base was gradual. The base itself was oval in plan and concave in profile. The SE edge of the cut was truncated. A large shallow pit cut filled with C.3, it truncated C.2 and 12. It was purposely dug for the deposition of waste industrial material, possibly associated with localised, small-scale industrial activity. 5 1.44 m NNE-SSW Dark brownish black, charcoal stained soft clayey silt with frequent coarse x 0.74 m x 0.12 m pebbles and moderate amounts of stones. The primary fill of a very shallow in depth hearth, burnt in situ, it is over C.21, possibly for the purpose of cooking or heating. The presence of stakeholes around this feature suggests some form of a temporary shelter for the fire. 6 0.22 m E-W x 0.1 A black, soft, silty clay that contained occasional coarse pebbles and char- m x 0.20 m depth coal. However, the soil is generally charcoal stained. Fill of stakehole, cut C.15, the stake appears to have been burnt in situ. 7 0.1 m NW-SE x A mid yellowish brown, soft, silty clay that contained occasional charcoal 0.07 m x 0.1 m flecks and pebbles. Fill of stakehole cut C.14. depth 8 0.1 m NW-SE x A dark orangish black, soft, silty clay that contained frequent coarse peb- 0.08 m x 0.07 m bles. Bioturbation has caused the infiltration of stones and pebbles. The fill depth of a stakehole, cut C.19. 9 0.09 m x 0.08 m x A dark orangish black, soft, silty clay that contained frequent coarse peb- 0.1 m in depth bles. Bioturbation has caused the infiltration of stones and pebbles. The fill of stakehole, cut C.20. 10 2 m N-S x 0.6 m x Dark brownish black, soft, sandy silt that contained occasional sub-an- 0.07 m in depth gular stones, frequent charcoal flecks and moderate amounts of ash and slag-like material. This context was overlain by others suggesting that the pit was not cleaned out after every use. It is a fill of the pit cut C.2, and is possibly representative of one episode of use, is truncated by the overlying pit cut C.4. 11 0.26 m N-S x 0.15 A mid reddish brown, firm, sandy silt that contained moderate amounts of m x 0.32 m in stones. This possibly naturally accumulated. The fill of a heavily truncated depth cut, C.12, truncated by C.4 to the west and by machining to the east. 12 0.26 m N-S x 0.15 An irregularly shaped cut. The break of slope top was imperceptible to the m x 0.32 m in SE and sharp to the NW and was severely truncated elsewhere. The sides depth to the NW and the SE were gently sloping and concave and the break of slope at the base was gradual. The base was concave in profile. The high degree of truncation makes it difficult to tell the original shape or func- tion of this feature. It was truncated by C.4 and machining. The cut of a truncated possible pit, filled with C.11 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 22
  • 28. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Context No. Dimensions (l x b Description x d) in metres 13 14.32 m NE-SW Dark brown, firm, silty clay with frequent angular pebbles and small x 1.08 m x 0.25 stones and occasional charcoal flecks. Extended through Grid Squares 5, m.depth 6 and 7 from NW to SE, and from NE to SW in Grid Square 4. Natural silting up of ditch cut C.93. 14 0.1 m NW-SE x A circular cut with a sharp break of slope at the top, vertical sides and an 0.07 m x 0.1 m imperceptible break of slope at the base. The base was circular in plan and depth had a tapered point in profile. The cut of a stakehole filled with C.7. Ap- proximately 0.20 m west of a stakehole C.15 and three stakeholes C.18, 19 and 20 and to the northwest of a hearth fill C.5. 15 0.22 m E-W x 0.1 An oval shaped cut with a gradual break of slope at the top, steeply sloping m x 0.20 m depth sides and imperceptible break of slope at the base. The base was pointed in profile. This was the cut of a stakehole filled with C.6, located to the north of the hearth feature and immediately west of stakeholes C.19, 20 and 14. 16 0.29 m x 0.16 x A black, soft, silty clay that contained occasional coarse pebbles and char- 0.33 m in depth coal. with charcoal staining. This stake appears to have been burnt in situ. This is the fill of a stakehole, cut C.17. 17 0.29 m x 0.16 x An oval shaped cut with a sharp break of slope at the top. The sides were 0.33 m in depth steeply sloping to the east and concave elsewhere. The break of slope at the base of the cut was imperceptible and the base had a tapered point in profile. Immediately west of stakeholes C.19, 20 and 14.This is the cut of a stakehole, filled with C.16. 19 0.1 m NW-SE x A circular cut with a sharp break of slope at the top everywhere except to 0.08 m x 0.07 m the east where it was imperceptible. The sides were steeply sloping and depth concave and the break of slope at the base was imperceptible. The base had a tapered point in profile. This is the cut of a stakehole located on the NW edge of the basal burnt clay within the hearth, C.37. 20 0.09 m x 0.08 m x A circular cut with a sharp break of slope at the top everywhere except to 0.1 m in depth the east where it was imperceptible. The sides were steeply sloping and concave and the break of slope at the base was imperceptible. The base had a tapered point in profile. The cut of a stakehole filled with C.9, north of the hearth feature and stakehole C.15. 21 1.64 m NW-SE x A mid greyish orange, soft silt with moderate coarse pebbles, small stones, 0.76 m x 0.08 m in burnt clay and small flecks of charcoal. The fill of a shallow hearth, under depth C.5 and was cut by stakehole C.24. It was surrounded to the northwest and the southeast by a series of stakeholes C.14, 19 and 20. 23 0.1 m N-S x0.1 x A dark orangish black, soft, silty clay that contained frequent coarse peb- 0.09 m depth bles. Bioturbation has caused the infiltration of stones and pebbles. The fill of a stakehole, cut C.24. 24 0.1 m N-S x 0.09 m A circular cut with an indeterminable eastern edge. The break of slope at depth the top of the cut was sharp everywhere except to the east. The sides were vertical and the break of slope at the base was sharp. The cut of a truncated stakehole filled with C.23. This stakehole was situated in the centre of the hearth feature C.37, to the south of the stakeholes C.14, 19 and 20 and posthole C.17. As it was truncated to the east it is likely that this stake was removed at an angle in an eastern direction. 25 1.7 m in N-S x Light pinkish grey brown, fine, sandy silt that contained moderate 0.4 m x 0.12 m in amounts of pebbles and small stones, occasional charcoal pieces and slag- depth like material. Fill of a pit cut C.2, is possibly in situ and is representative of the final phase of use of the pit when it was no longer cleaned out. 26 1.2 m N-S x 0.17 m Dark bluish grey, soft, sandy silt that contained occasional pebbles and x 0.05 m in depth moderate amounts of charcoal flecks and slag-like material. The in situ fill of a pit cut C.2. It is possibly representative of the final usage of the pit, C.2, when it no longer needed to be cleaned out. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 23
  • 29. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Context No. Dimensions (l x b Description x d) in metres 27 1.9 m N-S x 0.32 m A light yellowish grey, firm, sandy clay that contained moderate amounts x 0.15 m in depth of charcoal flecks and slag-like material. This was the basal layer within the pit C.2 and may have been deposited as a lining. The whitening of the deposit may be as a result of temperatures generated by the use of the pit. 28 0.1 m diameter x A mid yellowish brown, soft, silty clay that contained moderate amounts of 0.15 m in depth coarse pebbles. The fill of a stakehole, cut C.29. 29 0.1 m diameter x A circular cut with a sharp break of slope at the top, vertical sides and im- 0.15 m in depth perceptible break of slope at the base. The base had a blunt tapered point in profile. The cut of a stakehole filled with C.28, to the southeast of the hearth feature and to the north of stakeholes C.31 and 33. 30 0.07 m in diameter A mid to dark brown, soft, silty clay that contained moderate amounts of x 0.09 m in depth angular pebbles. This is the fill of a stakehole, cut C.31. 31 0.07 m in diameter A circular cut with a sharp break of slope at the top, vertical sides and x 0.09 m in depth imperceptible break of slope at the base. The base itself had a blunt tapered point in profile. The cut of a stakehole, filled with C.30, located to the southeast of the hearth feature and to the north of stakeholes C.32 and 33. 32 0.1 m in diameter x A dark blackish brown, soft, clayey silt that contained occasional small 0.1 m in depth flecks of charcoal and pebbles. The fill of a stakehole, cut C.33. 33 0.1 m in diameter x An oval cut with one rounded corner to the west. The break of slope at the 0.1 m in depth top of the cut was sharp everywhere except to the NE where it was gradual. The sides were concave to the SW (slightly undercut), sloping gently to the east and NE. The cut had a flat base in profile. The cut of a stakehole, filled with C.32, located to the SE of the hearth feature and to the north of stakeholes C.31 and 33. 34 5.85 m NE-SW x Mid brown, soft, silty clay containing occasional coarse pebbles and 2.45 m x 0.18 m charcoal flecks. The upper fill of a wide, shallow ditch cut C.94 that was depth within a continuation of C.95. The two segments of the cuts were num- bered differently due to the fact that the cut was not detectable over a small area. Is most likely backfilled topsoil. 35 No dimensions A black, soft, silt that contained occasional coarse pebbles and charcoal pieces. The soil, however, was charcoal stained throughout. This was a stakehole charcoal plug, in stakehole cut C.36. 36 No dimensions A circular cut with a sharp break of slope at the top everywhere except to the NE where it was imperceptible. The sides were concave to the SW and west and imperceptible elsewhere. The break of slope at the base of the cut was sharp to the SW and west and imperceptible elsewhere. The base was flat in profile. This cut may have been truncated to the east. This is a stakehole, filled with C.35 and 38. The stake was placed in the centre of the hearth and was cut in to C.37, which was the hearth fill. The stakehole cut was overlain by another layer within the hearth C.21, suggesting that the stake was inserted during active use of the hearth. It would appear that this stake was burnt in situ but only the surface was affected by the fire creating a charcoal plug (C.35) while the underlying layer rotted in situ (C.38). 37 1.7 m NW-SE x A mid brownish orange, firm, silty clay that contained frequent amounts 0.74 m x 0.06 m of coarse pebbles and small stones. There also moderate amounts of char- depth coal flecks. The basal layer of the shallow hearth, it was in situ natural that became burnt and oxidised as a result of fire. It underlay stakehole C.36. 38 No dimensions A mid brown, soft, silty clay that contained occasional coarse pebbles. Fill of stakehole, cut C.36. 39 1.2 m NE-SW x Mid reddish brown, firm, sandy silt that contained occasional stones and 0.6 m x 0.05 m in pebbles. Natural silting up of a pit, cut C.44. depth 40 1.36 m NE-SW x Dark brownish black, firm, silty clay with frequent angular fire cracked 0.98 m x 0.2 m in stone with occasional charcoal flecks. A spread of material within C.41, a depth shallow recut of C.112, may have been cast from this pit for the purpose of clean out. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 24
  • 30. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Context No. Dimensions (l x b Description x d) in metres 41 1.36 m NE-SW x A shallow recut of the larger pit, C.112, filled with C.40. 0.98 m x 0.2 m in depth 42 2.2 m NE-SW x Mid brown, hard, sandy clay containing frequent pebbles. Naturally ac- 0.92 m x 0.05 m in cumulated fill of ditch cut C.94, under C.32 and over C.60. depth 44 1.1 x 0.79 m x 0.13 A rectangular cut. The break of slope top was sharp to the west, NE and m depth SW. The sides varied from vertical to steeply sloping and all were smooth. The break of slope at the base of the cut was gradual. The base was concave in profile. Due to the slope of this feature and its proximity to C.2, it is possible that this cut was originally a cooling pit for material produced within the pit, C.2. This is the cut of a pit filled with C.39, 58, 62 and 63. 45 0.20 m in diameter A circular cut that had a sharp break of slope at the top, vertical sides x 0.1 m in depth except to the east where it was steep and a sharp break of slope at the base. The base itself is concave in profile. Probably associated with C.44. Cut of stakehole filled with C.47. 46 2.0 m E-W x length Mid brownish grey, firm, silty clay containing moderate amounts of coarse of box section x pebbles and small stones and moderate amounts of charcoal flecks. Fill of 0.26 m in depth ditch cut C.95. Another segment of this ditch was recorded further SE, however the morphology of the cut and the nature of the fills differed so the cut was given a different number (C.94). 47 0.20 m in diameter A mid reddish brown, firm, sandy silt. Fill of stakehole cut C.45. x 0.1 m in depth 48 0.13 m N-S x 0.08 A mid blackish brown, soft, charcoal stained silty clay that contained oc- m x 0.14 m in depth casional coarse pebbles. This is the fill of stakehole cut C.49. 49 0.13 m N-S x 0.08 An oval cut in plan with rounded corners to the NE and SW. The break m x 0.14 m in depth of slope at the top was sharp everywhere except to the east where it was gradual. The sides were vertical but slightly undercut to the west and con- cave to the south. The break of slope at the base was imperceptible and the base had a blunt tapered point in profile. This was the cut of a stakehole, filled with C.48, located immediately north of C.51 and was also associ- ated with stakeholes C.53, 55 and 57. This stakehole cut underlay a layer of hearth fill C.37. 50 0.05 m in diameter A mid brown, soft, silty clay. The fill of stakehole, cut C.51. x 0.06 m in depth 51 0.05 m in diameter A circular cut with a gradual break of slope at the top, concave sides and x 0.06 m in depth an imperceptible break of slope at the base. The base had a blunt tapered point in profile. This cut may have been truncated from above, as it was very shallow. This was the cut of a stakehole, filled with C.50, located im- mediately south of C.49 and underlay a layer of hearth fill C.37. 52 0.20 m NW-SE x A mid yellowish brown, firm, silty clay that contained frequent coarse peb- 0.18 m x 0.12 m in bles. It was truncated by C.55. The fill of stakehole cut C.53. depth 53 0.20 m NW-SE x A circular cut with a gradual break of slope at the top everywhere except 0.18 m x 0.12 m in to the SE where it was imperceptible. The sides were gently sloping and depth concave everywhere except to the SE where the side was truncated by C.55. The base was flat in profile. This was the cut of a stakehole filled with C.52. It was truncated by C.55 that may be packing or a new stakehole taking up the position of the old. 54 0.12 NE-SW x 0.11 A dark orangish black, soft, charcoal stained clayey silt that contained m x 0.11 m in depth moderate amounts of coarse angular pebbles and occasional amounts of small angular stones. This is the fill of stakehole cut C.55. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 25
  • 31. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Context No. Dimensions (l x b Description x d) in metres 55 0.12 NE-SW x 0.11 An irregular cut with a sharp break of slope at the top everywhere except m x 0.11 m in depth to the NW. The NW side consisted of part of C.53, which had previously been removed. The sides were vertical and there was an imperceptible break of slope at the base. The base itself was a tapered point in profile. This was the cut of a stakehole, filled with C.54, and truncates C.53. C.55 may have served as packing or a new stakehole taking up the position of the old C.53. This cut underlay a layer of hearth fill C.37 and was also as- sociated with C.49 and C.51. 56 0.15 m N-S x 0.8 m A mid orangish brown, firm, silty clay with moderate amounts of coarse x 0.05 m in depth angular pebbles and small angular and sub-angular stones. This context may have been truncated to the east as the side was no longer visible. This is the fill of stakehole, cut C.57. 57 0.15 m N-S x 0.8 m This context was originally circular shaped in plan, however, it had been x 0.05 m in depth truncated to the east. The break of slope at the top of the cut was sharp to the west, NW and SW, gradual to the SE and NE and imperceptible to the east. The sides were vertical to the west, NW, SW, gradual to the SE and NE. The break of slope at the base of the cut was sharp to the west, NW and SW, gradual to the SE and NE and imperceptible to the east. The base was flat in profile. This was the cut of a stakehole, filled with C.56, which was underneath the final layer of hearth material C.37 and was associated with C.51, 53, and 55 that also underlay C.37. 58 0.8 m N-S x 0.4 m Mid yellowish grey, firm sandy silt with moderate amounts of pebbles, x 0.09 m in depth manganese, charcoal flecks and burnt fractured stones and occasional flecks of white sandy clay and pieces of slag-like material. Fill of pit cut C.44, an upcast of soil, possibly from the digging of another feature then deliberately deposited in C.44. 59 2.1 m NE-SW x Mid brown, friable, silty, sandy clay containing frequent coarse pebbles 1.5 m x 0.20 m in and angular, fire shattered stones and lumps of manganese that may be depth natural. It was disturbed burnt mound material. A spread of fire shattered stones within the wide, shallow, ditch C.94. 60 1.9 m NE-SW x Black, friable, silty, sandy clay containing occasional pebbles, fire shattered 0.55 m x 0.15 m stone and occasional charcoal flecks. The inclusions of charcoal and fire depth shattered stone suggests that it was redeposited burnt mound material. It was located in the centre north of Grid Square 2 extending along the NE edge of the ditch. Fill of ditch cut C.94. 61 1.5 m NW-SE x 0.6 Mid yellowish brown, firm, sandy clay containing frequent angular fire m x 0.1 m in depth shattered pebbles and stones. Redeposited burnt mound material mixed with naturally accumulated soil. Fill of ditch cut C.94. 62 0.72 m NW-SE x Mid pinkish brown firm very fine sandy silt with moderately occurring 0.51 m x 0.07 m burnt coarse angular pebbles, frequently occurring burnt small and me- depth dium stones, occasional small pieces of manganese and flecks of charcoal. Fill of pit, cut C.44, under C.58.. 63 0.4 m NE-SW x Mottled dark greyish black soil with small and medium, angular and sub- 0.3 m x 0.03 m in angular stones, moderate amounts of a mid brown, sandy silt and charcoal depth and slag-like material. This is a small spread of fire shattered stone, char- coal and material associated with the pit to the south C.2. This material was deposited as a result of industrial activity, into pit cut C.44. 64 None given A mid brown, clayey silt that contained moderate amounts of coarse peb- bles and occasional angular and sub-angular stones. This is the fill of a stakehole, cut C.65. 65 None given A sub-circular cut with a sharp break of slope at the top everywhere except to the NE where the side had been truncated. The sides were concave except to the NW, which was stepped. The break of slope at the base of the cut was imperceptible. The base blunt tapered point in profile. This was the cut of a stakehole located to the west of a series of stakeholes C.49, 51, 53, 55 and 57. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 26
  • 32. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Context No. Dimensions (l x b Description x d) in metres 66 0.1 m E-W x 0.07 A mid brown, firm, silty clay that contained frequent coarse angular and m x 0.09 m in sub-angular pebbles. Fill of stakehole, cut C.67. depth 67 0.1 m E-W x 0.07 A sub-circular cut with one rounded corner at the NW point. The break m x 0.09 m in of slope at the top of the cut was sharp everywhere except to the SW where depth it was gradual. The sides were vertical and the break of slope at the base of the cut was gradual. The base itself was flat in profile. The cut may have been truncated from above. This is the cut of a stakehole, filled with C.66, associated with C.49, 51, 53, 55, 57 and 65. 68 0.15 m E-W x 0.1 m A mid brown, firm, silty clay that contained frequent coarse angular peb- x 0.08 m in depth bles and occasional small stones. This is the fill of stakehole, cut C.69. 69 0.15 m E-W x 0.1 m A circular cut with a sharp break of slope at the top everywhere except to x 0.08 m in depth the west where it was gradual. The sides were vertical except to the west where it was concave and the break of slope at the base was sharp to the east and imperceptible elsewhere. The base itself was flat in profile. This is the cut of a stakehole, filled with C.68. 70 0.14 m E-W x 0.1 m A light to mid brown, loose, silty clay that contained frequent coarse peb- x 0.07 m in depth bles. This is the fill of a stakehole, cut C.71. 71 0.14 m E-W x 0.1 m An oval cut with a sharp break of slope at the top to the west, north and x 0.07 m in depth south, gradual to the SW and imperceptible to the east. The sides were vertical to the west and north, concave to the SW and gently sloping to the east. The break of slope at the base of the cut was imperceptible to the west and gradual elsewhere. The base was flat in profile. The cut may have been truncated to the east or at the side could have collapsed due to the way the stake was removed, i.e. pushed to the east and then pulled out. This is the cut of a stakehole, filled with C.70, located north of C.69 and 57, SE of C.53 and 55 and SW of 67 and 73. 72 0.12 m E-W x 0.09 A light to mid brown, firm, silty clay that contained occasional flecks of m x 0.15 m in depth charcoal and frequent coarse angular pebbles. This is the fill of stakehole, cut C.73. 73 0.12 m E-W x 0.09 A sub-circular cut with rounded corners to the SW and NE. The break of m x 0.15 m in depth slope top was sharp to the north, gradual to the east and west and imper- ceptible to the south. The sides were vertical to the north and concave to the east and west. The break of slope base was imperceptible everywhere except to the north where it was sharp. The base had a tapered point in profile. The cut may have been truncated to the south, as this side was almost non-existent. This is the cut of a stakehole, filled with C.72, north of C.57, 67, 69, 71 and 75, northwest of 65. 74 0.11 m NW-SE x A mid brown, firm, silty clay that contained frequent coarse angular peb- 0.07 m x depth? bles and occasional small angular stones. This is the fill of stakehole, cut C.75. 75 0.11 m NW-SE x A circular cut with a sharp break of slope top and base, and vertical sides. 0.07 m x depth? The base was flat in profile. This is the cut of a stakehole, filled with C.74, south and SW of a series of stakeholes C.63, 65, 67, 49, 57, 53, 55 and 73. 76 0.1 m in diameter x A mid brown, firm, clayey silt that contained frequent coarse angular peb- 0.09 m in depth bles. This is the fill of stakehole, cut C.77. 77 0.1 m in diameter x A sub-circular cut that had a sharp break of slope at the top to the north, 0.09 m in depth NW and NE, gradual to the east and west and imperceptible to the SW, SE and south. The sides were vertical to the north, concave to the east and west and gently sloping to the east and west. The break of slope at the base of the cut was sharp to the north, gradual to the east and west and imper- ceptible to the south. The base itself flat in profile. The cut was possibly truncated to the south, as that side of the cut was practically non-existent. This was the cut of a stakehole, filled with C.76. 78 0.16 m E-W x 0.1 m A mid brown, soft, silty clay that contained frequent coarse angular peb- x 0.09 m in depth bles and one small angular stone. This is the fill of stakehole, cut C.79. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 27
  • 33. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Context No. Dimensions (l x b Description x d) in metres 79 0.16 m E-W x 0.1 m A sub-circular cut that had a sharp break of slope at the top and base to x 0.09 m in depth the north and west and a gradual break of slope to the south and east. The sides were vertical to the north and west and slightly concave to the east and south. The base was flat in profile. The cut was possibly truncated to the southeast and the south. This was the cut of a stakehole, filled with C.78, related to a series of stakeholes C.49, 51, 53, 55, 57, 65, 67, 69, 71, 73, 75, and 77. 86 0.4 m N-S x 0.4 m Dark greyish brown, friable, sandy clay with moderate amounts of pebbles in width x 0.05 m and charcoal flecks. Fill of the ditch cut C.94 depth 87 1.4 m x 1.2 m x Dark greyish brown, soft, sandy silt with occasional pebbles, stones and 0.34 m in depth in charcoal flecks. Naturally accumulated fill of ditch cut C.93 and 88. A box Box Section section was dug in order to determine the extent of the ditch in this area. 88 2.9 m SW to NE A portion of a linear cut. Break of slope top was gradual, sides were con- x 1.1 m x 0.36 m cave and gently sloping and the break of slope base was gradual. The base in depth in Box was concave in profile. Cut of a linear ditch, filled with C.87, a continu- Section ation of C.93 but recorded separately. The area of the cut recorded was where it changed direction from NW to SE to NE to SW. The cut trun- cates C.90 (fill of underlying feature). 90 0.83 m NE-SW x Light pinkish grey soil with small to medium angular fire shattered stones. 0.60 m x 0.24 m in Frequent inclusions of charcoal flecks and occasional ash. This material depth was possibly produced as a result of industrial activity and may be associ- ated with the pit cut C.4, most likely contemporary. The fill of a pit cut C.91, truncated by C.88 on the east. 91 0.94 m NE-SW x A square cut. Break of slope top and base was sharp, the sides were steep to 0.53 m x 0.24 m vertically sloping and the base was flat in profile. A pit containing stones depth and the by-products of industrial activity, C.90, it is truncated by ditch cut C.88 and truncates the fill of an underlying pit C.107. 92 1.68 m E-W x Dark brownish black, firm, silty clay with frequent pebbles, small stones 1.56 m x 0.50 m in and charcoal flecks. Intentionally deposited fill of pit cut C.101. depth 93 5.6 m NW-SE x 1.2 Linear cut with sharp break of slope top at the north and gradual to the m x 0.44 m depth east and the west. Sides were gently sloping and smooth and the break of slope base was sharp to the north and gradual to the east and the west. The base was flat in profile. The cut extended from NW to SE through Grid Squares 4, 5, 6 and 7. It was recorded in Grid Square 4 as C.88. This is a ditch cut, filled with C.13. The ditch was possibly dug to serve as a bound- ary in conjunction with the other ditch C.94. However, it is possible that this ditch cut post dates the other (C.94) as it truncated earlier features. 94 3.64 m NE-SW x A linear cut (length is not the true length as an extension of the ditch was 1.6 m x 0.3 m in recorded to the north but as a separate number). Break of slope top was depth gradual to the SE and sharp to the NW. The NW side was steeply sloped and irregular and the SE side was gently sloped and irregular. The break of slope base was gradual to the SE and sharp to the NW. The base was a tapered rounded point in profile. This portion of the cut had a NW-SE orientation. This may have been the foundation of a field boundary that fell into disuse. Possibly contemporaneous with ditch C.95, which ran roughly parallel to it, but contained different types of fills. The shallow cut of a wide ditch filled with C.46, 34, 42, 59, 60, 61 and 86. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 28
  • 34. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Context No. Dimensions (l x b Description x d) in metres 95 2.0 m E-W x length Break of slope top gradual to the east and west, sides were gently slop- of box section x ing and smooth and break of slope base was gradual. The base was flat in 0.26 m in depth profile. Cut of a curvilinear ditch extending through Grids 6, 7 and 8. It was recorded in Grids 1, 2 and 4 as C.94 where the morphology and fills differed from C.95. The orientation of the ditch changed in Grid Square 4 from SE to SW as the ditch curved at a 90º angle. It is 1.5 m east of and roughly parallel with C.93. Possible that C.93 was dug to replace C.95 (one segment of the outer ditch cut was filled with redeposited archaeological material {fire shattered stone} whereas the inner ditch C.93 truncated ear- lier features. It is possible however that the ditch was infilled with existing archaeological material during land levelling). This is the cut of a ditch, filled with C.46. 96 2 m NW-SE x 0.6 Dark yellowish black clay with frequent small, angular, fire shattered stone m x 0.1 m in depth and moderate amounts of charcoal flecks. A spread of redeposited burnt stone and charcoal, it is possible that the site was used on one or two occa- sions as a fulacht fiadh, however the burnt stone may have been produced through other industrial activity. 97 0.7 m NW-SE x A mid brown, friable, sandy clay with moderate amounts of small to 0.6 m x 0.09 m in medium angular burnt stones. The soil amongst the stones was charcoal depth stained. A spread of burnt and fire cracked stones and was not located within a cut. It was immediately south of the large cut C.112. This spread may have been produced as a result of industrial activity. It is possible that C.112 was dug to contain the waste stone on the site, but some of the stone missed the cut 98 1.52 NW-SE x A mid brownish grey, firm, silty clay that contained frequent angular peb- 0.74 m x 0.07 m in bles and small stones, manganese and charcoal flecks. This was a spread of depth material containing natural manganese and some charcoal. It was located immediately south of the large cut feature C.112. This material may have been meant to be deposited within that cut but may have scattered. 101 1.68 m E-W x Sub-circular cut. The break of slope top was sharp, the sides were moder- 1.56 m x 0.50 m in ately sloping and the break of slope at the base was gradual. The base was depth flat in profile. A pit filled with C.92, dug possibly for the deposition of industrial waste, it was heavily truncated by the later inner ditch C.93. 104 2.5 m NNW-SSE Mid brownish yellow, soft, silty clay containing moderate amounts of x 0.59 m x 0.30 m small angular stones, manganese and charcoal. This area was at the base depth of a slope and may have been waterlogged. It may have been necessary to stabilise the ground for the purpose of industrial activity. A layer of rede- posited natural that may have been put in place as some form of platform, truncated by Context. 2. 106 0.34 m NW-SE x A dark brownish black, friable, stony, silty clay that contained moderate 0.18 m x 0.12 m amounts of small angular stones and charcoal flecks. A spread of fire- depth cracked stones and soils, under C.104, part of a possible platform. 107 1.6 m N-S x 1.13 m Mid yellowish brown, firm, sandy clay that contained angular pebbles and x 0.13 m depth occasional manganese and charcoal. The upper fill of cut C.112, it may have been deposited in order to even out the ground surface in the area when the pit was no longer in use. 108 2.0 m NE-SW x 1.3 A light greyish white, firm, sandy silt that contained frequent small to m x 0.6 m in depth large angular and sub-angular stones and occasional charcoal pieces and limestone or mortar. Fill of a large cut C.112, possibly placed to infill the cut in order to level the ground surface 109 0.24 m E-W x Dark greyish black, soft, sandy silt that contained moderate amounts of 0.17 m x 0.25 m in coarse angular pebbles and occasional small stones. The fill of a stakehole, depth cut C.115, at the SW edge of cut C.112. 110 2.8 m NW-SE x A dark greyish black, firm, charcoal stained sandy silt that contained mod- 2.64 m x 0.23 m in erate amounts of angular pebbles and small stones. One of the basal fills of depth C.112. It was possibly a layer of waste material, intentionally placed within the pit, produced as a result of nearby industrial activity. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 29
  • 35. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Context No. Dimensions (l x b Description x d) in metres 111 2.1 m NNW-SSE x A mid-brown, firm, silty clay that contained moderate amounts of angular 0.94 m x 0.1 m in small stones and occasional charcoal flecks. A spread of material possibly depth associated with human industrial activity, part of a possible platform. Located under C.106. 112 2.4 m NE-SW x A sub-rectangular cut with rounded corners to the south, east, NE and 1.98 m x 0.77 m in SE and squared corners to the north and west. Possibly a trough associ- depth ated with the burnt mound material. The break of slope top and base was gradual to the SE and sharp elsewhere. The sides were vertical and smooth except to the SE where it was moderately sloped and concave. The base was concave in profile. The cut of a large pit, filled with C.107, 108, 110, 113, and 114. Dug for the purpose of deposition of waste material, but not industrial waste like C.2 and 44 which are close by. 113 2.0 m NW-SE x A mid orangish red, firm, sandy clay that contained frequent amounts of 0.6 m x 0.25 m in manganese. A fill of the large pit cut C.112. The context was truncated by depth the ditch cut C.88. This material was redeposited within the cut and may have been fired and oxidised elsewhere, possibly within the hearth to the west (basal layer C.37). 114 1.24 m NW-SE x A mottled mid yellowish to brownish grey, firm, sandy silt that contained 0.34 m x 0.4 m in frequent pebbles and moderate amounts of small to medium stones. A depth ridge of material that was located within the pit cut C.112. It may have been deposited contemporaneously with other fills, which is why it was deposited in the form of a ridge, within the cut. 115 0.24 m E-W x A rectangular cut with squared corners. It had a sharp break of slope at the 0.17 m x 0.25 m in top and base and vertical smooth sides. The base was concave in profile. depth The cut of a stakehole, filled with C.109, at the SW edge of cut C.112, it may have supported some small fence like structure associated with the pit cut. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 30
  • 36. 00E0473 15.2 Appendix 2 Stratigraphic matrix Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford 1 39 47 109 3 25 97 89 13 46 34 5 6 7 8 9 28 30 32 48 50 52 54 56 64 66 68 70 72 74 76 78 45 115 4 98 87 23 15 14 19 20 29 31 33 49 51 53 55 57 65 67 69 71 73 75 77 79 86 59 42 60 61 24 16 88/ 93 94/ 95 Appendix 2: Stratigraphic Matrix 63 58 11 10 21 17 62 12 40 90 107 92 35 26 27 41 91 101 38 44 2 36 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 114 108 37 104 106 111 113 110 112 Natural 31 ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237
  • 37. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 15.3 Appendix 3 Radiocarbon Results Appendix 3: Table of Radiocarbon Results from Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford (00E0473) Analysis by Beta Analytic Inc. Lab 13C/12C Radiocarbon 2 Sigma Context Sample Charcoal code Ratio Age Calibration Identification Diffuse porous (Alnus/Salix/ Beta -27.3 3260 +/- 50 cal BC 1650- 10 8 Populus/Betula/ 219133 o/oo BP 1420 Corylus/Prunus/ Ilex/Pomoideae) Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 32
  • 38. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 15.4 Appendix 4 Charcoal Assessment Appendix 4: Table of charcoal assessment results from Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford (00E0473) Charcoal assessed by Mary Dillon Context Sample Charcoal 10 8 Diffuse-porous 11 7 Diffuse-porous 13 13 Diffuse-porous and Oak (Quercus) 21 10 Absent 22 15 Diffuse-porous 37 23 Diffuse-porous 50 28 Absent 52 86 Diffuse-porous 61 50 Absent 92 53 Oak/Ash/Elm (Quercus/Fraxinus/Ulmus) 106 62 Diffuse-porous 108 64 Diffuse-porous 109 67 Diffuse-porous 110 66 Diffuse-porous 111 65 Diffuse-porous 114 66 Diffuse-porous Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 33
  • 39. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 15.5 Appendix 5 Archaeobotanical Assessment Appendix 5: Archaeobotanical Assessment, Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford (00E0473) 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 but micro- scopic silver and gold flecks in one sample is of note. Introduction This report details the analysis of soil samples for charred plant remains taken during excavation in the townland of Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford. The excavation revealed six pits, one possible furnace, one hearth, two ditches and twenty five stakeholes, The site was initially interpreted as metalworking site but has latterly been reinterpreted as a probable burnt mound. 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 twenty one samples analysed only three samples contained remains worth noting. C. 94 was interpreted as redeposited burnt mound material found within a later ditch fill. One charred indeterminate weed seed was found in this deposit. C. 25 was the fill of a possible furnace and no charred plant remains were found. However, the pres- ence of silver/gold-like flecks in the sample is noteworthy, although the origin and date of this material is not known. C. 90, a pit fill did not contain any charred plant remains but a beetle fragment was present. As no waterlogged contexts were found at the site this insect fragment is likely to be a modern inclusion. Discussion No charred cereal plant remains were found from these samples except for an indeterminate weed seed in C.60, a redeposited layer of burnt mound material. The absence of charred plant remains indicates Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 34
  • 40. 00E0473 Ballyvergin, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 that this was not a domestic habitation site. No evidence for metalworking was found in any of the samples (except for some silver/gold coloured flecks of indeterminate age or origin in C.25). Conclusions No further work is required on these samples. C. No. S. No. Context type Charred plant content 5 2 shallow hearth deposit none 10 8 possible furnace fill none 11 7 pit cut C.12 none 13 13 ditch fill C.93 none 21 10 shallow hearth fill none 22 15 absent 25 12 poss furnace fill C.2 none (silver/gold flecks present) 37 23 basal hearth layer none 50 28 stakehole fill none 59 36 ditch fill C.94 none 60 37 ditch fill C.94 one indeterminate weed seed 61 50 ditch fill C.94 none 86 52 ditch fill C.94 none 90 56 pit fill C.91 none, one beetle 92 53 pit fill C.101 none heat shattered stone, probably in situ burnt mound 106 62 material none 108 64 large pit fill C.112, possible trough none 109 67 stakehole fill C. 115 none 110 66 basal fill C.112 none 111 65 burnt mound material layer none 114 66 fill of C112, possible trough none Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0473-ballyvergin-co-wexford/ 35

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