Archaeological Excavation Report E0475 - Dungeer, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal

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The two cut features excavated at Dungeer were small pits that were used for metalworking. Both pits demonstrated evidence of oxidisation and had fills which contained slag. The analysis of industrial residues confirmed that these were bowl furnaces used for smelting ore. The only metal type worked at the site was iron, with bog ore almost certainly the main raw material.

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Archaeological Excavation Report E0475 - Dungeer, Co. Wexford, Ireland - EAP Journal

  1. 1. Eachtra Journal Issue 4 [ISSN 2009-2237] Archaeological Excavation Report E0475 - Dungeer, Co. Wexford Metalworking pits
  2. 2. Final Excavation Report, Dungeer, N25 Harristown to Rathsillagh, Co. Wexford December 2009 Client: Wexford County Council c/o Tramore House Road Design Office, Tramore, Co. Wexford Licence No.: 00E0475 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. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Table of Contents i Acknowledgements........................................................................................ iv 1 Summary ............................................................................................................1 2 Introduction .......................................................................................................1 3 Methodology ......................................................................................................1 4 Description of Development ...............................................................................1 5 Background to the excavation area......................................................................1 6 Archaeological & Historical Background............................................................2 6.1 Mesolithic 7000-4000 BC...........................................................................2 6.2 Neolithic 4000-2500 BC ........................................................................ 2 6.3 Bronze Age 2500-500 BC ....................................................................... 3 6.4 Iron Age 500 BC-500 AD ....................................................................... 3 6.5 Early Medieval 500 AD-1169 AD ........................................................... 4 6.6 Later Medieval 1169 AD-1600 AD ......................................................... 4 6.7 Post-Medieval (after 1600 AD) ............................................................... 5 7 Site Location and Topography ............................................................................5 8 Results ................................................................................................................5 9 Artefacts .............................................................................................................6 10 Industrial Residues .............................................................................................6 11 Conclusion ..........................................................................................................6 12 Bibliography .......................................................................................................7 13 Figures .............................................................................................................9 14 Plates...............................................................................................................14 13 Appendices ........................................................................................................ 15 13.1 Appendix 1 Context Register.......................................................................15 13.2 Appendix 2 Stratigraphic Matrix .................................................................16 13.3 Appendix 3 Industrial Residues............................................................ 17 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ iii
  4. 4. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 List of Figures Figure 1: Discovery map showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh-Harristown road Figure 2: Ordnance Survey 1st edition showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh-Harristown road Figure 3: RMP (Map sheet 36) showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh-Harristown road Figure 4: Route of new road with all excavated sites displayed Figure 5: Plan of the excavated area at Dungeer, Co. Wexford (00E0475) showing the two metalwoing pits List of Plates Plate 1: Post-excavation of two metalworking pits (cuts C.3 and C.4) Plate 2: Pre-excavation of two metalworking pits (deposits C.1 and C.2) Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ iv
  5. 5. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 i Acknowledgements Project Manager: Michael Tierney Licensee: Daniel Noonan Field staff: Karen Ward, Tommy Desmond Text: Daniel Noonan, Tina Murphy, Antonia Doolan, Penny Johnston Photography: Karen Ward Illustrations: Bernice Kelly, Enda O’ Mahony, Robin Turk This project was entirely funded by Wexford County Council, under the National Development Plan. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ v
  6. 6. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 1 Summary County Wexford Townland Dungeer Parish Taghmon Civil Parish Kilgarvan Barony Shelmaliere west National Grid Co-ordinates 290367 123176 Chainage 5575 Site type Metalworking pits Excavation Licence Number 00E0475 2 Introduction The Rathsillagh to Harristown Little realignment scheme in Co. Wexford resulted in the discovery of several new archaeological sites including two pits found during the topsoil stripping phase of the project (State monitoring licence 00E379). The features were subsequently excavated under excavation licence number 00E0475. The presence of slag in both fills indicated that they were used for metal- working and the absence of any evidence for re-cutting or cleaning out of the pits suggested that use of the site was relatively short-lived. 3 Methodology The features were excavated by hand, utilising the single context recording system. Slag was collected from both contexts for the analysis of industrial waste. 4 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). 5 Background to the excavation area The 8.5 km route of the new road crosses a series of low, undulating hills, to the south of the old N25 route, and is situated at a height of between 45 m and 80 m above sea level. The landscape here is characterised by small hills, interspersed with many small streams; these eventually flow into the River Corock to the southwest, into the Slaney to the northwest, as well as feeding into Ballyteige Bay to the south. From its western beginning in Rathsillagh townland the routeway climbs gently, running parallel and to the south of the old N25. It then continues through Assagart, Ballyvergin, Shanowle, Camaross, Carrowreagh, Dungeer, Bricketstown and through into Harristown Little, eventually exit- Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 1
  7. 7. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 ing in Harristown Big townland and tying into the Barntown improvement which opened in 1998. 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 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. 6 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. 6.1 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. 6.2 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 2001). 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/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 2
  8. 8. 00E0475 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. 6.3 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 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). 6.4 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/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 3
  9. 9. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 6.5 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. 6.6 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/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 4
  10. 10. 00E0475 Dungeer, 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. 6.7 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). 7 Site Location and Topography This site was located at the top of a moderately west to east inclined hill and the surrounding land was used as grazing. 8 Results The site comprised two small pits of similar form that were located in close proximity to each other (Fig. 5). There was evidence for oxidisation within the cuts of both pits, suggesting in situ burning or exposure to extreme heat. Both were filled with charcoal rich deposits with stone and slag inclusions. The similarities between the cuts and fills of both pits, and their proximity to each other, indicates that they were related. The first pit (C.3) was circular in plan with a diameter of 0.27 m and a depth of 0.07 m (Plate 1). It contained one fill (C.1), a dark black silty clay with occasional small sub-angular stones, iron slag (177 g) and charcoal (Plate 2). Specialist analysis suggested that this was a smelting slag, with indications that it cooled slowly in the furnace (Appendix 3). The second pit (C.4) was located just 0.12 m to the south of C.3. It was sub-circular in plan, measur- ing 0.20 m from north to south by 0.25m east to west, and it was 0.08 m in depth (Plate 1). It also contained only one fill (C.2), a dark black silty clay with many angular and sub-angular pebbles and stones, frequent charcoal flecks and 178 g of slag (Plate 2). The slag in this context also formed as a result of smelting (Appendix 3). The presence of slag in both pits indicates that they were used for metalworking and they have been identified as bowl furnaces on the basis of specialist analysis (Appendix 3). Some above ground struc- tures would have been necessary to create a reducing atmosphere for this process and while there were no archaeological indications of above ground structures around these pits, it is possible that a clay dome or low wall was used. This would not have survived at a disturbed site, particularly as these fur- naces were so shallow (0.07-0.08 m deep) and were clearly truncated. The main activity at the site was first the digging of the pits (and perhaps the construction of a dome Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 5
  11. 11. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 or wall over the pit), and secondly the use of the features for roasting and smelting. It seems likely that these two activities occurred in quick succession as there is no evidence for repeated use of the pits, for cleaned out and scattered waste, or for any other structural remains. The location of metalworking sites is crucial as they need to be close to resources and raw materials, such as clay for furnace lining, charcoal (i.e. plenty of wood) and, most importantly in the case of smelting, an ore source. A major prehistoric and early historic source of ore for ironworking was bog ore (limonite) which was probably easily accessible in Ireland, given the expanse of both blanket and raised bogs in the country, although the issue of ore supply from this source has not been studied in detail. The ore source at Dungeer appears to be from bog ore (Appendix 3). This site is the only recorded evidence for bowl furnaces in Co. Wexford to date, based on a survey of the database of Irish excavations (www.excavations.ie) and in reference to more recently published summary excavations (Bennett 2004 and Bennett 2006). 9 Artefacts There were no artefacts recovered during excavation at this site. 10 Industrial Residues Industrial residues from two samples were examined by Dr. Effy Photos-Jones and Dr. Lyn Wilson of Scottish Analytical Services for Art and Archaeology (Appendix 3). Their analysis concludes that these pits were used as bowl furnaces and that smelting occurred at the site. The raw material was probably bog ore and iron was the metal that was worked at the site, with no evidence for copper use. 11 Conclusion The two cut features excavated at Dungeer under excavation licence no. 00E0475 were small pits that were used for metalworking. Both pits demonstrated evidence of oxidisation and had fills which contained slag. The analysis of industrial residues confirmed that these were bowl furnaces used for smelting ore. The only metal type worked at the site was iron, with bog ore almost certainly the main raw material. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 6
  12. 12. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 12 Bibliography Bennett,I. (ed.) 2006. Excavations 2003. Bray, Wordwell. Bennett,I. (ed.) 2004. Excavations 2002. 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. Oxford Geographies, London 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, Government Publications, Dublin. Moran, J. 2000 ‘Ballyanne, Co. Wexford’. in Bennett, I. (ed.) Excavations 1998. Bray, Wordwell. Mullins, C. 2003 Rathaspick in Bennett, I. (ed.) Excavations 2001. Bray, Wordwell. O’Keeffe, T. 2000. Medieval Ireland, An Archaeology. Tempus Publishing, England. O’Kelly, M.J. 1975. ‘Archaeological Survey and Excavation of St. Vogue’s Church, Enclosure and Other Monuments st Carnsore, Co. Wexford’. Unpublished excavation report for the Electricity Supply Board. Purcell, J. 2004. ‘St. Vogue’s’, p.520 in Bennet, I. (ed.) Excavations 2002. Bray, Wordwell. Purcell, A. 2002. ‘Courtlands East, Co. Wexford’, in Bennett, I. (ed.) Excavations 2000. Bray, Wordwell. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 7
  13. 13. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Stout, G. 1987. ‘Wexford in Prehistory 5000 B.C. to 300 A.D.’, pp.1-39 in Whelan, K. (ed.) Wexford History and Society. Interdisciplinary essays on the history of an Irish county. Dublin, Geography Publications. Websites www.excavations.ie www.nra.ie/Archaeology/LeafletandPosterSeries Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 8
  14. 14. 00E0475 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: Discovery map showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh-Harristown road. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 9
  15. 15. 00E0475 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: Ordnance Survey 1st edition showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh-Harristown road Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 10
  16. 16. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 2 km 00E0417 21 20 ED 25 ST 00E0425 I 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 (Map sheet 36) showing the route of the N25 Rathsillagh-Harristown road Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 11
  17. 17. 00E0475 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/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 12
  18. 18. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Figure 5: Plan of the excavated area at Dungeer, Co. Wexford (00E0475) showing the two metalworking pits Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 13
  19. 19. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 14 Plates Plate 1: Post-excavation of two metalworking pits (cuts C.3 and C.4) Plate 2: Pre-excavation of two metalworking pits (deposits C.1 and C.2) Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 14
  20. 20. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 13 Appendices 13.1 Appendix 1 Context Register Context Dimensions Description No. 1 0.27 m N-S x 0.27 m E-W x 0.7 m Soft dark black silty clay with occasional small sub-angular depth. stones, iron slag and charcoal. It is the fill of a pit (C.3) and was formed during some stage of metalworking. 2 0.28 m N-S x 0.25 m E-W x 0.08 m Soft dark black silty clay containing fine, medium, and coarse depth angular and sub-angular pebbles and small angular and sub- angular stones. Frequent flecks, small and medium pieces of charcoal. Contained slag. This is the fill of a small pit (C.4) associated with metalworking. 3 0.27 m N-S x 0.27 m E-W x 0.07 m Cut of small pit. Circular in plan with rounded corners. Grad- depth ual break of slope top and base. All sides have a gentle slope and are smooth in shape. The shape of the base is circular in plan and concave in profile. C 3 is filled by C.1. This context is the cut of a small pit associated with metalworking. 4 0.20 m N-S x 0.25m E-W x 0.08 m Cut of small pit. This context is circular to sub-circular in plan depth with rounded corners. Gradual break of slope top and base. All sides have a gentle slope and are smooth in shape. The shape of the base is sub-circular in plan and concave in profile. C 4 is filled by context 2. This context is the cut of a pit (filled by C.2). As in the case of C 3, the cut itself is very shallow but from the fill, its inclusions and finds there is little doubt that both cuts were made solely for the purpose metal processing. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 15
  21. 21. 00E0475 Dungeer, Co. Wexford ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 13.2 Appendix 2 Stratigraphic Matrix Appendix 2: Stratigraphic Matrix Topsoil 1 2 3 4 Natural Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 16
  22. 22. 00E0475 SASAA 245a and 245b 13.3 October 2006 Q -RAF ANALYSIS SASAA 245a: Dungeer Industrial Waste Examination & Analysis SASAA 245b: Bricketstown Industrial Waste Examination & Analysis Dungeer, Co. Wexford Introduction SASAA received four samples of slag from Eachtra Archaeological Projects for analytical assessment. The samples were excavated from Dungeer, Co. Wexford (Licence No. 00E0475) and Bricketstown, Co, Wexford – N25 Realignment (Rathsillagh-Harristown) (Licence No. 00E0476). Three of these four were chosen for examination (Table 1). Appendix 3 Industrial Residues Table 1. Industrial waste samples. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ SASAA No. Context Pit No. Site Site Code Description Analysis 245.01 92 1 Dungeer, Co. Wexford 00E0475 Slag SEM-EDAX 245.02 4 n/a Bricketstown, Co. Wexford 00E0476 Slag SEM-EDAX 245.03 3 2 Dungeer, Co. Wexford 00E0475 Slag SEM-EDAX Dungeer (Co. Wexford) The site comprised two small metalworking pits, located close to each other (Figure 3 - left). There was evidence for oxidisation within the cuts of both pits, suggesting in situ burning or exposure to extreme heat. Both were filled with charcoal rich deposits with stone and slag inclusions. The similarities between the cuts and the fills of both pits, and their proximity to each other, indicates that they were related and it seems likely they served a single function (Eachtra 2006). No dates have been reported for this site. • Pit C3: circular in plan. Diameter = 0.27m. Depth = 0.07m. One fill = dark black silty clay with occasional small sub-angular stones, iron slag (177g) and charcoal. • Pit C4: 0.12m S of C3. Sub-circular in plan. 0.2m x 0.25m dimensions. Depth = 0.08m. One fill = dark black silty clay with many angular and sub- angular pebble and stone, frequent charcoal flecks and slag (178g). 1 ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 17
  23. 23. 00E0475 Bricketstown (Co. Wexford) The site comprised a kiln, ditches, furrows, hearth, stake-holes and a working surface. C92 was a large layer of re-deposited natural, containing numerous pottery sherds and iron slag. It formed a surface of unknown function on which three lenses of burnt clay were deposited (not in situ). Below the surface was a charcoal filled pit, sealed with a thick fill of orangey red clay (hearth material). A charcoal spread lay above the surface C92. A succession of burning (both in situ and ex situ) took place on site, and working surfaces were constructed. Pottery was identified as 12-14th century and C-14 dates from the site were late medieval (Eachtra 2006). Sample Preparation and Analysis Dungeer, Co. Wexford Three fragments of slag were chosen, one from Bricketstown and two from Dungeer, for SEM-EDAX analysis; they were mounted in resin and ground and polished with 6micron and 3micron diamond pastes. They were subsequently carbon-coated for SEM-EDAX analysis. The SEM facility used is a FEI Quanta 200F Environmental SEM. Results are normalised (calibrated to 100%). Quantitative SEM-EDAX analyses are undertaken first on the entire surface of the polished block (area analyses) at different locations within the sample, and subsequently on each of the different mineralogical phases observed (spot analyses). It is important to report both area and spot analyses, since it is the individual phases that can shed light into the conditions applicable within the furnace, the ore used, the rates of cooling of the slag. All SEM images reproduced here are BS (backscattered electron) images to reflect sample composition. A second type of image referred to as ‘Mixed,’ is a computer generated image formed by overlaying the secondary emission image with the backscattered Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ one. It is included here only as a means of enhancing the secondary emission image. 2 ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 18
  24. 24. 00E0475 Results Table 2. Analyses. SEM-EDAX Data for samples SASAA 245.01, .02 and .03. Please note that iron can occur in both the Fe2+ and the Fe3+ state. It is reported here as Fe3+ and represents total iron present. Sample 245.01, C4 Pit 1 Dungeer Sample Description Na2O MgO Al2O3 SiO2 P2O5 SO3 Cl2O K2O CaO TiO2 MnO Fe2O3 Total 245.01 area analysis (mean) 0.16 0.34 8.84 15.21 0.81 0.15 nd 0.30 0.38 nd 5.51 68.56 100 245.01 wustite 0.23 0.24 0.87 2.16 0.79 0.32 nd 0.15 nd nd 2.73 92.52 100 245.01 fayalite 0.19 0.49 1.24 27.70 0.47 0.00 nd 0.09 nd nd 7.81 62.01 100 Dungeer, Co. Wexford 245.01 hercynite 0.16 0.84 50.12 0.67 0.20 0.00 nd 0.16 nd nd 2.80 45.05 100 245.01 Interstitial glass 0.11 0.22 25.60 50.45 0.23 0.00 nd 18.46 nd nd 0.39 4.55 100 Sample 245.02 from C92 Bricketstown Sample Description Na2O MgO Al2O3 SiO2 P2O5 SO3 Cl2O K2O CaO TiO2 MnO Fe2O3 Total 245.02 area analysis (mean) 0.25 0.64 5.39 23.22 0.33 0.43 nd 0.95 0.77 nd 0.34 67.70 100 245.02 fayalite 0.14 1.17 0.52 27.22 0.11 0.23 nd 0.15 0.36 nd 0.42 69.68 100 245.02 interstitial glass, phase 1, Na,Ca, K-rich alumino-silicate 3.16 0.00 19.73 42.11 0.66 0.25 nd 5.83 7.78 nd 0.10 20.38 100 245.02 Interstitial glass, phase 2 K-rich alumino-silicate 0.86 0.07 25.05 53.06 0.19 0.16 0.10 19.11 0.08 nd 0.05 1.27 100 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ 245.02 iron oxide ‘ore’ 0.10 0.39 6.61 9.47 0.00 0.47 0.30 0.19 0.17 nd 0.57 81.72 100 Sample 245.03 from C3, Dungeer Sample Description Na2O MgO Al2O3 SiO2 P2O5 SO3 Cl2O K2O CaO TiO2 MnO Fe2O3 Total 245.03 area analysis 0.56 0.25 10.35 25.40 0.54 0.23 0.06 1.29 0.45 0.50 5.46 54.92 100 245.03 fayalite 0.32 0.61 0.31 26.75 0.29 0.27 0.15 0.19 0.35 nd 8.06 62.69 100 245.03 fine fayalite growing within glass; it also has Mn 0.16 0.68 0.95 25.93 0.39 0.17 0.11 0.11 0.23 0.40 8.28 62.60 100 245.03 hercynite 0.00 0.26 41.78 1.70 0.19 0.48 0.25 0.22 0.20 1.67 3.04 50.20 100 245.03 Interstitial glass, a K-rich aluminosilicate 3.05 0.00 22.83 40.26 3.02 0.31 0.00 14.98 1.42 0.76 0.89 12.47 100 245.03 ‘ore’ at the beginning of reduction to iron oxide and fayalite 0.30 0.18 6.09 15.61 2.00 1.21 0.06 0.27 0.16 0.14 1.00 72.98 100 3 ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 19
  25. 25. 00E0475 Figure 1. SEM-EDAX images of samples 245.01 and 245.03 (Dungeer). Dungeer, Co. Wexford SASAA 245.01.4: SEM-BS image showing the four phases at SASAA 245.01.3: SEM-BS image showing four phases, major higher magnification than the photograph to the left; hercynite SASAA 245.03.3: SEM-BS image showing bands of solidification on phase is fayalite, minor phases include wustite, hercynite and appears to ex-solve out of fayalite, in an attempt to accommodate the surface of the slag fragment. interstitial glass. the excess alumina present in the ore. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ SASAA 245.03.4: SEM-BS image showing a close-up of the two SASAA 245.03.1: SEM-BS image showing a close up of angular zones of solidification; the interior has been subjected to fast SASAA 245.03.2: SEM-BS image showing well formed needles of hercynite amidst the fayalite and the interstitial glass (black). The cooling, while the exterior shows well grown fayalite with fayalite with interstitial glass and angular hercynite. pitting on the surface is the result of weathering during burial. hercynite growing in between. 4 ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 20
  26. 26. 00E0475 Figure 2. SEM-EDAX images of samples 245.02 (Bricketstown). Dungeer, Co. Wexford SASAA 245.02.5: SEM-BS image showing another area SASAA 245.02.4: SEM-BS image showing partially reduced ore SASAA 245.02.2: SEM-BS image showing dendrites of wustite in the highlighting the reduction process; it should be emphasised that amidst the fayalite and interstitial glass; the analysis showed iron course of formation. Analysis of individual dendrites show alumina Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ some of the areas which appear ‘reduced’ might be the result of silica and alumina with some phosphorus. and silica as well as iron reflecting the original ore. combined reduction and weathering. 5 ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 21
  27. 27. 00E0475 Discussion On slag mineralogy: Dungeer The two samples of slag analysed (SASAA 245.01 and SASAA 245.03) are similar in typology (amorphous, black, dense and porous) but not in mineralogy. With reference to SASAA 245.03, four phases are evident: the predominant phase is fayalite, an iron silicate, (2FeO.SiO2); minor phases are hercynite, (Al2O3.FeO), an aluminium iron oxide, wustite, an iron oxide (FeO) and interstitial glass. Some traces of metallic iron are also evident. The co- existence of the four phases points to the slags being of the smelting type; hercynite probably derives either from the ore or the lining of the furnace, or a combination of both. The slags cooled slowly within the furnace, (they were not tapped), as suggested by the well-formed fayalite; they may have been removed in the process of bloom extraction and forging and perhaps – given the absence of slag scatter or indeed any other feature in the immediate vicinity- they were thrown back in it after the bloom was removed. Dungeer, Co. Wexford In reference to SASAA 245.01, four phases are evident: the predominant phase is fayalite, an iron silicate, (2FeO.SiO2); minor phases are hercynite, (Al2O3.FeO), an aluminium iron oxide; wustite, an iron oxide (FeO) and interstitial glass. Some traces of metallic iron are also evident. The co-existence of the four phases points to the slag being of the smelting type as described in the other Dungeer (SASAA 245.03) example above. The ore used was almost certainly of the bog ore variety, where iron exists as a non-crystalline oxy-hydroxide (Hall and Photos-Jones 1998). Manganese would have been added in the form of manganese oxide nodules, as flux to make the slag free running. Manganese oxides nodules have been found in association with metal working sites (Photos-Jones 2006). Bog iron ore is elusive (Hall and Photos-Jones 1998), primarily on account of the fact that it is Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ regenerative; in other words it reproduces itself (probably ‘quietly’ even today) at different locations, over a number of years. We are currently analysing some of these “modern” sources at a site presently under investigation. The similarities in mineralogy between the two fragments of slag from Dungeer suggest smelting slags. They have been recovered from two different pits; it does not, however, necessarily follow that both pits were smelting pits (see section below). On furnace description: Dungeer Pits C3 and C4 were indeed bowl furnaces used in the making of iron. There is no evidence of copper melting or smelting within the samples examined. Each furnace contains only a single fill. The presence of slag in both furnaces and the observed heating of the pit walls indicate that both pits were used for metalworking. Two-bowl (see Figure 3, middle) or even three-bowl furnace clusters are beginning to be increasingly evident in Ireland like the one at Derrinsallagh 4, Co Laois, excavated by ACS Ltd earlier this year, (A-M Lennon, pers comm.). Magnetic susceptibility measurements of one such two-pit bowl furnace within this site showed that the temperatures reached within were different (Wilson 2006); it follows that the function of the two bowls was different. This may or may have not been the case at Dungeer. We suggest that it is difficult to conclude whether two bowls situated next to each other may have been part of a cluster, each dedicated to a specific function or whether they represent two different trials without the use of ancillary scientific testing. As bowl furnaces, the Dungeer ones survive to an exceptionally shallow depth (7-8cm). Normally bowl furnaces would be expected to have a depth of c.30cm below the area where the tuyere would have been positioned. For example, the furnace at AR29 (Figure 3 right) survived to a depth that reflects closely the original one (the upper width of the furnace was c.50cm). The small amount of slag and charcoal recovered from the Dungeer furnaces suggests 6 ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 22
  28. 28. 00E0475 demolition/truncation either by the smith himself or as part of a later event. While there were no archaeological indications of above ground structures around these pits, it is possible that a low clay wall (rather than a dome) was used to contain the charcoal and to ‘secure’ the positioning of the tuyere. On slag mineralogy: Bricketstown With reference to SASAA 245.02 two main phases are obvious, fayalite and interstitial glass; wustite is scarce and hercynite is absent. The phases that appear as wustite shown in the SEM images of Figure 2, we suggest are wustite ‘in the making’ i.e. in the process of formation. We had originally assumed that this was wustite which had undergone severe weathering; however closer SEM-EDAX analysis showed that the ‘wustite in the making’ areas contain a considerable amount of silica and alumina which must reflect the original ore. It is suggested that this slag formed as part of the roasting - more accurately drying /consolidating - of the alumina-rich ferruginous materials that formed the raw material for this smelt. The ore would have contained amorphous iron oxide, goethite. Dungeer, Co. Wexford The slag is also devoid of manganese. Given that only one sample was available for examination from the above site, it is not possible to ascertain how metalworking practices at Bricketown would have differed from those at Dungeer. There is no reported associated furnace feature with this sample (Eachtra 2006). Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ Figure 3. Left: Pits C3 and C4 at Dungeer, Co. Wexford (Eachtra 2006). Compare with (centre) double furnace (C5) at Derrinsallagh 4, Co. Laois (Wilson 2006) and (right) typical furnace fills in Feature 5, AR 29, Trantstown (N8 Glanmire-Watergrasshill Road Scheme) (Sherlock 2001). 7 ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 23
  29. 29. 00E0475 Future work Although slag analysis from within a furnace can in principle identify the nature of the activities within, it merely ‘scratches’ the proverbial ‘surface’; slag analysis can only take the archaeological evidence so far – analysis of the associated soils, be they the silts/clays, can shed light into the raw materials used. In Dungeer, both pits contained ‘dark black silty clay with many angular and sub-angular pebble and stones’. Are these silty clays merely post depositional or do they contain information that might prove vital to the interpretation of the workings within the furnace and by extension practices lost? It is unfortunate that metallurgical waste analysis traditionally focuses on slag alone. It is suggested that soil micromorphology takes place (sampling using a Kubiena tin), next time a similar feature is excavated. Having said that, it is acknowledged that the shallowness of the pits C3 and C4 at Dungeer points to considerable disturbance, rendering the results of any detailed investigation rather unreliable. Dungeer, Co. Wexford Please note: photographs and drawings originating from sources other than SASAA are not to be reproduced in any form without the written permission of SASAA. E. Photos-Jones SASAA Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ Glasgow, October 2006 8 ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 24
  30. 30. 00E0475 Acknowledgements SASAA would like to acknowledge the assistance of the following people in preparation of this report: • Gert Petersen (SASAA). • Peter Chung (Dept of Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow). References Dungeer, Co. Wexford Eachtra Archaeological Projects. 2006. Background information on Dungeer and Bricketstown, Co. Wexford. Eachtra, unpublished information. Sherlock R. 2001. N8 Glanmire – Watergrasshill Road Scheme: Archaeological Excavation at Killydonoghoe, Ballinvinny North & Trantstown, Co Cork, Site Numbers AR 3, AR 4, AR 5, AR 6, AR 10, AR 11, AR 12, AR 13, AR 26 & AR 29, Sheila Lane & Associates Consultant Archaeologists’ Interim Report: December 2001, Licence Number 01E0501. Photos-Jones E. 2006. Stepaside, Kilgobbin: Industrial Waste Examination & Analysis. SASAA Report 227. Wilson L. 2006. Derrinsallagh 4, Co. Laois, Eire (Site Licence 05E2180): In-Situ Magnetic Susceptibility Data Collection: A Preliminary Report. SASAA Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e0475-dungeer-co-wexford/ Report 204.1. 7 Belgrave Terrace| Glasgow | G12 8JD | Scotland |UK +44(0)141 337 2623 | enquiries@sasaa.co.uk | www.sasaa.co.uk 9 ISSUE 4: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 25

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