Eachtra Journal

Issue 4                                      [ISSN 2009-2237]



          Archaeological Excavation Repo...
Final Excavation Report,
N25 Harristown to Rathsillagh Realignment,
Dungeer,
Co. Wexford.




December 2009




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00E0474                  Dungeer, Co. Wexford                                                                        ISSUE...
00E0474              Dungeer, Co. Wexford                                      ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237

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00E0474              Dungeer, Co. Wexford                                                                                 ...
00E0474              Dungeer, Co. Wexford                                                                                 ...
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00E0474              Dungeer, Co. Wexford                                                         ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal...
00E0474              Dungeer, Co. Wexford                                                          ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journa...
00E0474              Dungeer, Co. Wexford                                                          ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journa...
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00E0474              Dungeer, Co. Wexford                                        ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237...
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Archaeological Excavation Report E0474 - Dungeer, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal

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The site consisted of two concentrations of burnt mound material spread over an area of 20 m2 and an off-centre trough that was possibly originally plank-lined.

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Archaeological Excavation Report E0474 - Dungeer, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal

  1. 1. Eachtra Journal Issue 4 [ISSN 2009-2237] Archaeological Excavation Report E0474 - Dungeer, Co. Wexford Burnt mound
  2. 2. Final Excavation Report, N25 Harristown to Rathsillagh Realignment, Dungeer, Co. Wexford. December 2009 Client: Wexford County Council, c/o Tramore House Road Design Office, Tramore, Co. Wexford Licence No.: 00E0474 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. 3. 00E0474 Dungeer, 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 The Trough ..................................................................................................5 7.2 Stakeholes and Postholes around the Trough ................................................6 7.3 The Burnt Mound and Associated Spreads ...................................................6 7.4 Non-Archaeological Contexts .......................................................................7 8. Artefacts .............................................................................................................7 9. Environmental analysis .......................................................................................7 10. Discussion ..........................................................................................................7 11. Conclusions ........................................................................................................9 12. Bibliography ...................................................................................................... 10 13 Figures ............................................................................................................... 12 14 Plates ................................................................................................................. 17 15 Appendices ........................................................................................................ 19 15.1 Appendix 1 Context Register.......................................................................19 15.2 Appendix 2 Stratigraphic Matrix ................................................................23 15.3 Appendix 3 Radiocarbon dates ....................................................................24 15.4 Appendix 4: Charcoal assessment ...............................................................25 15.5 Appendix 5 Plant Remains ..........................................................................26 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ iii
  4. 4. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 List of Figures Figure 1: Extract of Ordnance Survey Discovery series No. 77 showing the route of the new road and the excavated sites. Figure 2: Extract of Ordnance Survey First Edition showing the route of the new road and the exca vated sites Figure 3: Extract of Ordnance Survey RMP map sheet 36 showing the route of the new road and the excavated sites Figure 4: Route of the new road with the excavated site displayed Figure 5: Plan of the excavated area at Dungeer, Co. Wexford (00E0474) showing the burnt mound site List of Plates Plate 1: Post-excavation of the trough (C.46) Plate 2: Pre-excavation of burnt mound material (C.12) Plate 3: Pre-excavation of burnt mound material (C.9) Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ iv
  5. 5. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 i Acknowledgements Project Manager: Michael Tierney Licensee: Dan Noonan Field Staff: Margôt Ryan, Gerry Breen, Gerry O’Neill, Tommy Desmond, Tom Jaynes, Cathy Fisher, Carol Power, Karen Ward, Ronan O’ Donoghue. Photography: Brian MacDomhnaill Illustrations: Stuart Elder, John Lehane, Bernice Kelly, Brian MacDomhnaill, Enda O’ Ma- hony, Robin Turk Text: Daniel Noonan, Margôt Ryan, Tina Murphy, Antonia Doolan, Penny John- ston, Stuart Elder This project was funded by Wexford County Council. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ v
  6. 6. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 1. Summary County Wexford Townland Dungeer Chainage 5220 Civil Parish Taghmon Barony Shelmaliere West National Grid Co-ordinates 290024 123445 Chainage 5200 Site Type Burnt mound Excavation Licence Number 00E0474 2. Introduction The Rathsillagh to Harristown Little N25 realignment scheme in Co. Wexford resulted in the discov- ery of several archaeological sites and a burnt mound site was excavated in Dungeer townland under licence number 00E0474. The site consisted of two concentrations of burnt mound material spread over an area of 20 m2 and an off-centre trough that was possibly originally plank-lined. 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 (Figures 1-3). 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. The higher ground was lush pasture, well drained, and gave spectacular views all around. Sites on this Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 1
  7. 7. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 part of the route included prehistoric settlement activity and a series of 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 the 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 (Figure 3); one is a church and graveyard site, nine are listed as enclosure sites of between 30 m and 60 m in diameter and three are moated sites (two of which are destroyed). The ecclesiastical site appar- ently 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 excava- tions, the known archaeological remains in the locality were all medieval and post-medieval but sev- eral prehistoric 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 Harristown Big and Iron Age activity at two sites in Bricketstown (Figure 4).. 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 (Cotter 1986). Some evidence for Neolithic activity was found as part of this project at Harristown Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 2
  8. 8. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 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, 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 definite burnt mound was excavated during works on the Rathsillagh-Harristown realignment of the N25; this was found at Dungeer 00E0474. Another site at Ballyvergin (00E0473) also probably represents the remains of a burnt mound site. 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 pinpoint the locations of only twenty-five cist and pit buri- als 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 in association with metalworking. Another metalworking site was found 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 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 3
  9. 9. 00E0474 Dungeer, 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 2 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 1990-1991). 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/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 4
  10. 10. 00E0474 Dungeer, 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). 6. Site location and topography The burnt mound at Dungeer was located at the bottom of a hill that sloped gently from west to east. A small stream ran roughly north to south approximately 12 m west of the site. The surrounding ground was used for pasture rather than arable agriculture, as it was wet and prone to flooding. 7. Results Archaeological excavations in Dungeer townland revealed two concentrations of burnt mound mate- rial to the northwest and south/southeast of a trough and a number of stakeholes and postholes. A total of 47 excavated contexts were recorded within an excavated area of 70 m2. The details of each context and full contextual descriptions are provided in Appendix 1 while their inter-relationships are provided in the stratigraphic matrix in Appendix 2. 7.1 The Trough The trough (C.46) was earth cut and sub-rectangular in plan (Plate 1). It measured 1.8 m in length by 1.54 m in width, with a depth of 0.28 m and contained eight fills (C.14, C.17, C.19, C.30, C.31, C.32, C.44 and C.45) as well as the cuts and fills of two driven posts (C.42 and C.47) (Figure 5). It is likely that some form of inner support was necessary in the trough as it was cut into soft, wet ground that may have been prone to collapse. There is a possibility that it was originally plank-lined and ephemeral plank-like traces in the cut were noted during excavation, although this is tentative evidence. The excavation of driven posts (C.42 measured 0.16 m in diameter and was 0.22 m deep Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 5
  11. 11. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 while C.47 was 0.26 m in diameter and 0.18 m deep) within the trough may also indicate support for plank-lining. Several small trough fills (C.30, C.31, C.32 and C.44) provided further potential evidence for trough lining; these were small layers of clay-like deposits that probably acted either as clay lining of the trough or layers of silting that accumulated around the original trough lining. Oak charcoal was dis- covered in one of the trough fills (C.30) and this returned a Late Bronze Age radiocarbon date of cal BC 800-740 and cal BC 710-530 (Beta 219129, see Appendix 3). C.45 was the basal layer of the trough, a silty deposit (only 0.05 m deep) that accumulated gradually as the trough was open or in use. There were charcoal inclusions in the deposit, indicating that it formed when there was plenty of charcoal in the surrounding environment, probably after the use of the site. The basal layer was overlain by two stone rich deposits with some charcoal staining (C.17 and C.19). Their average depth was 0.15 m and they may represent the deliberate backfilling of the trough with nearby burnt mound material. Alternatively these deposits could represent the remains from the last use of the trough, the burnt stones that were never cleaned out as the site was not used again. Over these stoney deposits, the upper fill (C.14) appeared to be a redeposited natural. It was 0.1 m in depth and was possibly redeposited in the trough in order to level out the ground surface. 7.2 Stakeholes and Postholes around the Trough The trough was surrounded by seven stakeholes (C.34, C.35, C.37, C.36, C.33, C.39, and C.41) which cut the sub-soil. The majority were found to the west of the trough but they did not conform to any particular plan. The stakeholes measured no more than 0.15 m in diameter and 0.25 m in depth and the postholes measured no more than 0.30 m in diameter and 0.35 m in depth. There are now many parallels where randomly patterned stakeholes have been excavated surrounding the troughs of burnt mounds and there are several potential explanations for their existence: for example, supports for a cover that was laid over the trough to preserve heat when it was in use for cooking/heating water, or perhaps it was a screen to shield against wind, or the supports of various minor and insubstantial structures associated with cooking or feasting at the site, similar to the examples illustrated in early reconstruction experiments (O’Kelly 1954). C.33, a single posthole that was excavated in the area around the trough (measuring 0.25 m in diameter and 0.29 m in depth) may also have formed part of these temporary structures. 7.3 The Burnt Mound and Associated Spreads The trough was surrounded to the west and south by very shallow burnt spreads that resembled burnt mound material, i.e. charcoal enriched soil and burnt stone (Figure 5). This material was waste from use of the site and was probably cleaned out of the trough in preparation for re-use. Three successive layers of burnt mound material (C.3, C.9 and C.12, Plates 2 and 3) constitute the southern spread, their combined dimensions suggest that it was approximately 3 m long, 1.2 m wide and was c. 0.18 m in depth. The western spread of burnt material was 4.4 m long, 1.9 m wide and had a maximum Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 6
  12. 12. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 depth of 0.04 m. It is possible that the burnt mound material was retrieved as two separate spreads because they represent two separate phases of use, but it is more likely that the deposits connecting the two areas were entirely removed from the site as in general the archaeological cut features and deposits discovered at this site were extremely shallow, indicating truncation. In addition to the two large spreads of burnt mound material there were some smaller deposits of char- coal enriched soil and burnt stone (C.2, C.4, C.5, C.6, C.10 and C.13). These covered only a small area and were very shallow (average depth 0.05 m); they possibly represented minor disturbances at the site during which small amounts of burnt mound material were redeposited. Alternatively, it is possible that these were the deposits at the very base of a heavily truncated burnt mound. Both suggestions indicate that the archaeology has been heavily disturbed in the recent past due to agricultural or earth moving activities. 7.4 Non-Archaeological Contexts Several context numbers were assigned to the interface between the burnt mound material and the natural sub-soil (e.g. C.7, C. 8, C.11 and C.16). The site was situated in a clayey area where the ground cracks during dry spells; exposed charcoal fragments were evidently carried down the cracks and into the natural when rain occurred. When excavating, the presence of charcoal can suggest that the inter- face is actually an archaeological layer, but the material is not anthropogenic in origin. 8. Artefacts No artefacts were retrieved from this site. 9. Environmental analysis Seven bulk soil samples were taken from the site. These were examined for plant remains by Martha Tierney but no macroplant material was recovered (Appendix 5). This is a common occurrence in samples taken from burnt mound sites. The samples were also assessed for their charcoal content in ad- vance of radiocarbon dating. The assessment was carried out by Mary Dillon (Appendix 4). Charcoal was only present in four of the seven samples, and all of the material was from ring-porous wood. This means that it was oak, ash or elm. In one of the samples (from C.44, a small trough fill) the charcoal was not possible to identify any further because of poor quality preservation. The charcoal from the remaining three samples was all identified as oak. This was taken from C.9, from the southern spread of burnt mound material, C.18, a shallow spread and C.30, a trough fill. 10. Discussion 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 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 7
  13. 13. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 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 animal remains from most excavated burnt mounds (although there are some exceptions) has left the question of function open to debate. 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 suggestions 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 (2003/2004) points out, these are the remains of a technology (the use of hot stones known as “pyrolithic technology”), rather than specific indications 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 route of the new Gorey-Arklow by-pass will augment the numbers of excavated examples significantly. The Dungeer burnt mound was severely truncated but despite this the remaining archaeology is in- dicative of relatively simple use phases. The first phase was the construction of the trough; it was cut, possibly lined with timber planks and clay, and posts were driven into the base in order to secure the planks in place. The second phase was the use of the site; there is evidence that the trough was filled with hot stones as part of the process of heating water, and there is possible evidence (stakeholes around the trough) of spit cooking at the site. There were potentially several episodes of boiling; for example there were three successive layers of upcast/waste from the trough in one portion of the burnt spread, perhaps suggesting debris from three successive firings. There were two fills in the trough that resem- bled burnt mound material; they may represent either the last use of the trough, or deliberate backfill- ing with surrounding waste from earlier firings. The re-deposition of natural in the upper trough fill Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 8
  14. 14. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 (C.14) was possibly a ground-levelling operation which suggests a definite closing of the site. The radiocarbon date from a trough fill at this site indicated a phase of use in the Late Bronze Age, at c. 800-500 BC or c. 2540 BP radiocarbon years (for precise details see Appendix 3). Brindley and Lanting (1990) first identified the majority of dates from burnt mound sites as falling between 3600 and 3000 BP radiocarbon years. Further work by Ó Néill (2003/4) has confirmed a peak in dates in the Late Bronze Age, between 1000 and 800 BC. The Dungeer date is slightly later than this peak but it is within an expected date range for burnt mounds and it indicates use towards the end of the Bronze Age. 11. Conclusions This site had evidence for both a trough cut and several spreads of burnt material. The shallow nature of the archaeology suggested either that the site had little use or that intensive agricultural practices have truncated most of what was once a more substantial burnt mound. The random scatter of stake and postholes surrounding the trough has several parallels in recently excavated burnt mound sites although there is no evidence that they formed a structure and they were not necessarily all in use at the same time. The Late Bronze Age date from the site places it within the expected date range for this site type. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 9
  15. 15. 00E0474 Dungeer, 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. Brindley, A.L. and Lanting, J.N. 1990 The dating of fulachta fiadh, pp. 55-56 in Buckley, V. (ed.) Burnt Offerings. International contributions to burnt mound archaeology. Dublin, Wordwell. 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. 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’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. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 10
  16. 16. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 O’Kelly, M.J. 1954 ‘Excavations and experiments in Irish cooking places’, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 84, 105-156. 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. 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. 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/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 11
  17. 17. 00E0474 Dungeer, 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: Extract of Ordnance Survey Discovery series No. 77 showing the route of the new road and the excavated sites Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 12
  18. 18. 00E0474 Dungeer, 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: Extract of Ordnance Survey First Edition showing the route of the new road and the excavated sites Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 13
  19. 19. 00E0474 Dungeer, 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: Extract of Ordnance Survey RMP map sheet 36 showing the route of the new road and the excavated sites Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 14
  20. 20. 00E0474 Dungeer, 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/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 15
  21. 21. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Figure 5: Plan of the excavated area at Dungeer, Co. Wexford (00E0474) showing the burnt mound site Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 16
  22. 22. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 14 Plates Plate 1: Post-excavation of the trough (C.46) Plate 2: Pre-excavation of burnt mound material (C.12) Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 17
  23. 23. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Plate 3: Pre-excavation of burnt mound material (C.9) Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 18
  24. 24. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 15 Appendices 15.1 Appendix 1 Context Register Context No. Dimensions (l x b x d) metres Description 2 1.4 m N-S x 0.4 m X 0.07 m Soft dark bluish grey silt with coarse angular pebbles and medium in depth angular stones. Moderate flecks of charcoal present. Spread of burnt stone and ashy silt located in the SW corner of GS 5. 3 2.70 m NE-SW x 1.40 m x Weakly cemented mid greyish brown sandy stones with occasional 0.05 m in depth flecks of mica and charcoal. Burnt spread that spreads across GS 2 and GS 3. 4 0.5 m NW-SE x 0.25 m x 0.05 Firm mid brown sandy silt with occasional medium and coarse angu- m in depth lar pebbles. Small spread of burnt mound material possibly related to C 2 and C 3. 5 2.17 m NE-SW x 1.7 m x 0.07 Firm mid blackish stony clayey silt with frequent fine and medium m in depth pebbles. Moderate occurrences of small and medium stones. Dump or spread associated with burnt mound material C 10. 6 0.32 m N-S x 0.22 m x 0.03 m Firm black sandy silt with occasional medium angular pebbles and in depth moderate flecks of charcoal. Spread of charcoal flecked sandy silt possibly related to the burnt mound material C 10. 7 0.94 m N-S x 0.36 m x 0.05 m Firm mid orangish yellowish brown sandy silt with moderate fine, in depth. medium and coarse pebbles and small stones. Moderate flecks of charcoal were also evident. Mixed layer that was heavily truncated and could possibly have been re-deposited located in the SW corner of GS 5 abutted to the N and E by C 8. 8 1.48 m N-S x 1.34 m x 0.06 m Hard dark mixed black grey clayey silt with moderate amounts of in depth. fine, medium and coarse pebbles. Moderate small stones and fre- quent charcoal flecks were also present. Interface to the natural possibly formed by waterlogging. 9 3.20 m N-S x 1.20 m x 0.05 m Friable dark greyish black weakly cemented sandy stones with fre- in depth. quent medium and large tones and moderate small pieces of charcoal. Spread of burnt mound material close to C 3 and C 12. 10 0.89 m N-S x 0.56 m x 0.05 m Firm mid greyish black stony silt with occasional to moderate pebbles in depth and occasional flecks of charcoal. Deposit of stony charcoal silt located in the eastern side of GS 5. 11 2.10 m NE-SW x 1.26 m x Firm brownish grey stony clayey silt with frequent pebbles and 0.14 m in depth. stones. Sub-angular quartz stone with mica was also present. Spread of redeposited material that may be associated with nearby burning activity. 12 2.60 m N-S x 1.60 m x 0.08 m Friable dark brownish black stony material with moderate coarse in depth. pebbles and small stones. Occasional small pieces of charcoal were present. Spread of burnt mound material in the SE corner of GS 2 and spread into the W area of GS 3. 13 2.28 m N-S x 0.83 m x 0.05 m Firm brownish black silty stony clay with moderate amounts of peb- in depth bles and frequent small and medium angular and sub-angular stones. Moderate charcoal also present. Burnt stony deposit, possibly the by-product of firing at the fulacht fiadh Abutted to the E by C 10. 14 1.88 m NE-SW x 1.60 m x Firm light bluish grey stony clayey silt with small and medium stones 0.10 m in depth. and coarse pebbles. Trough fill of C 46 15 4.40 m NW-SE x 1.90 m x Spread of fire fractured stones within mid grey sandy silt. Frequent 0.04 m in depth amounts of coarse angular pebbles and moderate small stones and occasional medium stones. There were two stones on the southern boundary that appeared to be unaffected by fire. Spread of burnt stone located on the N edge of GS 8 and S of GS 11. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 19
  25. 25. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 16 2.00 m x 1.40 m x 0.01 m in Firm dark black silty clay with moderate flecks of charcoal. depth. Interface between a burnt spread and natural. Once removed tree bowl with root channels was evident. 17 1.9 m NW-SE x 1.54 m in Stiff mid brownish black stony clayey silt with frequent fine medium width and coarse pebbles. Frequent small and medium stones. Soil was charcoal stained but no pieces of charcoal evident. Burnt material filling the trough, C 46. 18 1.28 m NE-SW x 0.08 m Soft dark orangish black pebbly silt containing frequent angular and NW-SE x 0.005 m in depth. sub-angular fine medium and coarse pebbles. Frequent flecks and moderate small pieces of charcoal. Shallow spread south of C 46. Burnt stones were by-product of the fulacht fiadh. Context may have resulted from a thorough cleanout of the trough. 19 0.70 m N-S x 0.42 m x 0.20 m Firm orangish yellowish bluish clayey silt with moderate medium in depth stones. Trough fill of C. 46. 20 0.68 m N-S x 0.44 m x 0.07 m Firm orangish black silty clay with fine, medium and coarse angular in depth and sub-angular pebbles. Frequent flecks and small pieces of char- coal. First thought to be a posthole but upon excavation appeared to be a plank used to seal the trough. 21 0.26 m in diameter and 0.18 Firm mid orangish black clayey silt with occasional medium peb- m in depth. bles and occasional small stones. Moderate flecks and small pieces of charcoal were also present. Much of this context may have been removed, as the eastern side of the cut was gone. As a result its true dimensions are unclear. Fill of driven posthole (Cut C.47) located in the NW corner of the trough. 22 0.72 m E-W x 0.30 m N-S x Hard dark orangish black silty clay with angular and sub-angular approximately 0.02 m in depth fine medium and coarse pebbles. Moderate flecks and small pieces of charcoal. First thought to be a posthole but upon excavation appeared to be brushwood laid on the floor to seal the trough. Overlay C.45 23 0.41 m x 0.36 m x 0.04 m in Soft black clayey silt with frequent small pieces of charcoal. depth Burnt spread 25 0.11 m N-S x 0.09 m and 0.12 Firm orange black silty clay with inclusions of fine medium and m depth. coarse pebbles, small stones and flecks of charcoal. Stakehole fill of C 34. 26 0.08 m N-S 0.09 m x 0.13 m Firm orange black silty clay with moderate fine, medium and coarse in depth. pebbles and flecks of charcoal. Occasional small stones were also evident. Stakehole fill of C 35 27 0.08 m E-W x 0.05 m x 0.12 Firm mid brown clayey silt with moderate angular pebbles. m in depth. Stakehole fill of C 37. 28 0.7 m in diameter x 0.12 m in Firm mid greyish brown clayey silt with moderate angular and sub- depth angular stones. Stakehole fill of C 36 29 0.25 m NW-SE x 0.24 m x Soft mid to dark blackish brown clayey silt with moderate fine and 0.29 m in depth. medium pebbles. Inclusions of small stones 30% of which were burnt. Small flecks of charcoal were also evident. Fill of driven post C 33. 30 0.52 m E-W x 0.10 m x 0.12 m Dark grey silty clay with moderate angular and sub-angular pebbles in depth. and stones. Frequent flecks and pieces of charcoal were also present. Grey charcoal rich ashy layer along part of the northern edge of the trough. May also be a packing fill. 31 2.10 m x E-W x 0.90 m x 0.04 Stiff mid yellowish /brownish grey clay with frequent angular and m in depth. sub-angular stones. Packing layer along the western and southern edges of the trough cut (C 46) Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 20
  26. 26. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 32 2.5 m NW-SE/1.3 m N-S x 2 Stiff to firm mid yellowish/brownish grey silty clay with frequent m NE-SW/0.4 m E-W x 0.25 angular and sub-angular pebbles and stones. Lined the northern and m in depth. eastern sides of the trough making it impossible to gain a continuous measurement therefore two sets of dimensions are given. Fill that appears to have been packed around the original sides of the trough cut. 33 0.25 m NW-SE x 0.24 m x Circular in plan with a gradual break of slope at the top of the cut 0.29 m in depth. and imperceptible break of slope at the base. . N side was vertical and stepped, south and east sides were moderate and the west side was steep and smooth. Base was circular in plan and pointed in profile. Driven post filled by C 29. 34 0.11 m N-S x 0.09 m and 0.12 Sub-circular in plan with rounded corners. There was a sharp break m depth. of slope at the top and base of the cut. Sides were smooth and the base tapered point in plan and profile. Stakehole cut filled by C 25. 35 0.08 m N-S 0.09 m x 0.13 m Sub-circular in plan with rounded corners. Sharp break of slope in depth. at the top and base of the cut. Sides were smooth and the base was tapered point in plan and profile. Stakehole cut filled by C 26. 36 0.7 m in diameter x 0.12 m in Circular in plan with a sharp break of slope at the top of the cut and depth imperceptible break of slope at the base. Sides were vertical and the base was pointed in plan and profile. Possible truncated from above. Stakehole filled by C. 28. 37 0.08 m E-W x 0.05 m x 0.12 Oval in plan with no corners. Sharp break of slope at the top of the m in depth. cut and moderate break of slope at the base. Sides were vertical and the base was circular pointed in plan and profile. Stakehole cut filled by C 27. 38 0.0895 m N-S x 0.10 m x 0.08 Firm black silty clay with moderate pebbles and occasional small m in depth. stones and flecks of charcoal. Stakehole fill of C 39. 39 0.0895 m N-S x 0.10 m x 0.08 Sub-circular in plan with rounded corners. Sharp break of slope at m in depth. the top and base of the cut. The sides were smooth and the base was tapered point in plan and profile. Stakehole cut filled by C 38. 40 0.12 m N-S x 0.08 m x 0.09 m Firm mid brown silty clay with occasional angular pebbles. in depth. Stakehole fill of C 41. 41 0.12 m N-S x 0.08 m x 0.09 m Oval in plan with no corners. Sharp break of slope at the top of the in depth. cut and imperceptible break of slope at the base. Sides were vertical. Base Oval in plan and rounded in profile. Stakehole cut filled by C 40. 42 0.16 m x 0.16 m x 0.22 m in Circular in plan with rounded corners. Sharp break of slope at the depth. top and base of the cut. Sides were moderate in slope and smooth in plan. Base was circular in plan and tapered point in profile. Heavily truncated. Remains of a posthole. 43 0.20 m x 0.20 m x 0.24 m in Circular in plan with rounded corners. Sharp break of slope at the depth top and base of the cut. Sides were moderate in slope and smooth in plan. Base was circular in plan and tapered point in profile. Heavily truncated. Remains of a posthole. 44 1.44 m N-S x 0.70 m x 0.06 m Firm dark orangey black silty clay with frequent angular and sub-an- in depth. gular pebbles and occasional small stones. Frequent flecks and small pieces of charcoal were also present. Possible remains of support planks along the eastern and part of the northern edge of the trough. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 21
  27. 27. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 45 1.52 m E-W x 1.08 m x 0.05 m Firm mid yellowish/brownish green sandy silt with frequent angular in depth. and sub-angular pebbles. Frequent flecks and small pieces of charcoal were also present. Base layer of the trough with charcoal inclusions. May be the remains of planks. Overlain by C.22. 46 1.80 m E-W x 1.54 m x 0.014 Sub-rectangular in plan with rounded corners. Sharp break of slope m x 0.28 m in depth at the top and the base of the cut. All the sides were moderate and smooth in shape. Base was sub-rectangular in plan and flat in profile. Filled by Contexts 19, 29-32, 44 and 45. Construction cut of the trough that appeared to be lined with planks which were supported by posts, stakes and packing fill. The planks were burned at some stage and all that remains is charcoal. 47 0.28 m in diameter and 0.18 Circular in plan with a sharp break of slope at the top and impercep- m in depth. tible break of slope at the base of the cut. Only two sides remaining the NW and SW sides were steep in slope and concave in shape. Filled by C 21. The cut of a driven post within the trough cut C 46. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 22
  28. 28. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 15.2 Appendix 2 Stratigraphic Matrix 43 42 40 41 32 44 29 33 28 36 30 45 46 27 37 22 23 14 17 21 47 31 19 20 25 35 26 34 Natural Topsoil 38 39 18 15 7 10 13 6 11 5 4 12 16 3 9 2 8 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 23
  29. 29. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 15.3 Appendix 3 Radiocarbon dates Appendix 3: Table of Radiocarbon Results from Dungeer, Co. Wexford (00E0474) Analysis by Beta Analytic Inc. Lab 13C/12C Radiocarbon 2 Sigma Context Sample Charcoal Period code Ratio Age Calibration Identification Diffuse porous cal BC wood 800-740 Late (Alnus/Salix/ Beta -25.7 2540 +/- 40 30 29 AND Bronze Populus/Betula/ 219129 o/oo BP cal BC Age Corylus/Prunus/ 710-530 Ilex/Pomoideae) Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 24
  30. 30. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 15.4 Appendix 4: Charcoal assessment Dungeer, Co. Wexford (00E0474) Charcoal assessed by Mary Dillon Context Sample Charcoal 2 2 Absent 6 6 Absent 9 9 Oak (Quercus) 18 18 Oak (Quercus) 30 29 Oak (Quercus) 44 34 Oak/Ash/Elm (Quercus/Fraxinus/Ulmus) 45 35 Absent Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 25
  31. 31. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 15.5 Appendix 5 Plant Remains Archaeobotanical Assessment Report on the Charred Plant remains from Dungeer, Co. Wexford Excavation Licence 00E0474 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 a fragment of burnt bone was found amongst the heat-shattered stone layers.. Introduction This report details the analysis of soil samples for charred plant remains taken during excavation in the townland of Dungeer, Co. Wexford. The excavation revealed two concentrations of burnt mound material, a trough and a number of related stakeholes and postholes. Soil samples from seven contexts were analysed and no plant remains were found. 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 No plant remains were found in these samples. Contexts 2, 6, and 9 were composed of a mixture of charcoal and heat-shattered stone. C. 6 contained one very small fragment of burnt bone. Contexts 18, 30, 44 and 45 were associated with the trough and contained no noteworthy organic remains. Conclusions No further analysis of these samples is required. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 26
  32. 32. 00E0474 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Table 1 List of notable sample contents Context No. Sample No. Context type Charred plant content 2 2 layer of burnt stone and ashy silt none 6 6 charcoal flecked sandy silt related to the burnt none mound material 9 9 burnt mound material none 18 18 possible trough clean-out layer none 30 29 trough fill none 44 34 trough fill none 45 35 basal layer of trough. none Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0474-dungeer-co-wexford/ 27

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