Archaeological Excavation Report - E2448 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway

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Excavation Report of archaeological site at Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway. Burnt mound.

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  • what type of stone was found at the site ??. The expression burned stone should be replaced with roasted stone. If limestone is subject to high temparture it is changed to lime in a process known as lime burning
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  • I found good archaeology excavation informative slide presentation. Great presentation, nice information i like this 'Archaeological Excavation Report' presentation slide.


    our archaeology related blog spot is http://archaeologyexcavations.blogspot.com/
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Archaeological Excavation Report - E2448 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway

  1. 1. Eachtra Journal Issue 2 [ISSN 2009-2237] Archaeological Excavation Report E2448- Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway Burnt mound / Fulacht fiadh site
  2. 2. Draft Archaeological Excavation Report, Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway Burnt mound / Fulacht fiadh site June 2009 Client: National Roads Design Office, Galway County Council E No.: E2448 Ministerial Order No.: A024 Licensee: John Tierney Contact details: The Forge, Innishannon, Co. Cork. Written by: Mick Drumm Tel.: 021 470 16 16 David Fallon Fax: 021 470 16 28 E-mail: info@eachtra.ie Web Site: www.eachtra.ie
  3. 3. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Table of Contents i Summary ............................................................................................................ iv ii Acknowledgements ............................................................................................. iv 1 Introduction ........................................................................................................1 2 Site Location, Topography and Soils ....................................................................1 3 Background to the Development .........................................................................1 4 Archaeological and Historical Background .........................................................2 4.1 Prehistoric period ...............................................................................................2 5 Results of Excavation ...........................................................................................5 5.1 Burnt spread.......................................................................................................5 5.2 Water channel ....................................................................................................5 5.3 Artefacts.............................................................................................................5 5.4 Charred plant remains .......................................................................................5 5.5 Charcoal ...........................................................................................................6 5.6 Radiocarbon dates..............................................................................................6 6 Discussion ...........................................................................................................6 7 Bibliography ........................................................................................................9 7.1 Websites ............................................................................................................10 8 Figures ................................................................................................................11 9 Plates .................................................................................................................. 15 10 Appendices .........................................................................................................18 10.1 Appendix 1: Stratigraphic Register ...................................................................19 11.2 Appendix 2: Stratigraphic Matrix .....................................................................21 10.3 Appendix 3: Groups and Sub-groups text ..........................................................22 10.4 Appendix 4: Plant remains analysis ..................................................................25 10.4 Appendix 5: Charcoal analysis ..........................................................................26 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ iii
  4. 4. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 List of Figures Figure 1: Discovery series OS map showing the route of the new N6 Galway to Ballinasloe road (Contract 4) and the location of all excavation sites .............................................................. 10 Figure 2: The route of the new N6 Galway to Ballinasloe road (Contract 4) overlaid on the 1st edition OS map..................................................................................................................... 11 Figure 3: The route of the new N6 Galway to Ballinasloe road (Contract 4) overlaid on the RMP map ............................................................................................................................. 12 Figure 4: Post-excavation plan of the site at Cooltymurraghy E2448 .................................. 13 List of Plates Plate 1: General landscape shot of area around the site ........................................................ 14 Plate 2: Drain to the east of the site, from west ................................................................... 14 Plate 3: Pre-excavation shot of burnt spread (C.7) from west ............................................... 15 Plate 4: Section through burnt spread (C.7) from south ...................................................... 15 Plate 5: Water channel (C.16) cut through burnt spread from north-west ........................... 16 Plate 6: Water channel (C.16) cut through burnt spread from south ................................... 16 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ iv
  5. 5. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 i Summary The sites excavated at Cooltymurraghy E2448 comprised a burnt spread which was cut by a later water channel. Although there was no trough associated with the spread, the site was in- terpreted as a burnt mound and charcoal yielded an Early Bronze Age date, in common with material from other, more conventional burnt mound sites nearby. This is one of five Bronze Age sites excavated along this portion of the new road. Townland Cooltymurraghy Civil Parish Aughrim Barony Kilconnell County Galway Ministerial Order no. A024 E no. E2448 OS Map Sheet GA087 National Grid Co-ordinates 177716 228176 Elevation 70 m OD Site type Burnt mound ii Acknowledgements The licence holder was John Tierney and the fieldwork crew included Mick Drumm, Mar- cella Loughman, David Fallon, Lesley Davidson and Rafal Wolanski. Illustrations are by Ben Blakeman, Lesley Davidson, Enda O’Mahony and Robin Turk. Report compilation was by Anluan Dunne. Specialist analysis was carried out by Mary Dillon and the 14 Chrono Cen- tre at Queen’s University Belfast. The project was commissioned by Galway County Council and was funded the National Roads Authority under the National Development Plan (2000- 2006). The project archaeologist was Jerry O’Sullivan and the assistant project archaeologist was Martin Jones. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ v
  6. 6. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 1 Introduction This report comprises the final excavation report for a burnt mound found at Cooltymur- raghy, Co. Galway during archaeological testing within the lands acquired for the new N6 Galway to Ballinasloe dual carriageway road (O’Donoghue et al. 2006, Figure 1). The site comprised a spread of burnt mound material and a later water channel. Charcoal from the mound yielded an Early Bronze Age radiocarbon date. 2 Site Location, Topography and Soils The site was located in the townland of Cooltymurraghy at NGR 177716, 228176, 1.5 km west of Aughrim. It was identified as A024/035 and was excavated under licence number E2448. The site was located in low-lying pasture land punctuated by limestone outcrops (Plate 1). The area immediately surrounding the site was prone to flooding and a drain to the east of the site (Plate 2) may have been dug to alleviate water-logging. The site was located on soils classified as grey brown podzolics, with associated brown earths, gleys and basin peat. These soils have a moderately wide use range and are good for cereal, fruit and vegetable cul- tivation (Gardiner & Radford 1980). The solid bedrock is Middle to Upper Carboniferous Limestones, with Calp Limestones predominating in the area of this site. The Quaternary deposits in the region are undulating glacial drift with some post-glacial peat and alluvial deposits. Trial pitting for the Environ- mental Impact Assessment report indicated that the subsoil in the area of Cooltymurraghy included both clayey and sandy till. 3 Background to the Development The excavation was undertaken by Eachtra Archaeological Projects for Galway County Coun- cil and the National Roads Authority and forms part of wider programme of archaeological excavations undertaken by Eachtra within approximately 15 km of the proposed N6 Galway to Ballinasloe dual carriageway scheme (Contract 4, Figures 1-3). Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 1
  7. 7. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 4 Archaeological and Historical Background 4.1 Prehistoric period Mesolithic material has now been identified from a small number of sites in western Con- nacht and in particular material has been identified on the major river and lake systems. Lough Corrib stands out as a centre of outstanding importance for looking at both Mesolith- ic settlement and the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition (Gibbons et al. 2004). The artefactual location bias suggests that the Lough Corrib catchment area was a population centre in the later Mesolithic period. The finding of a Bann flake at Oranmore confirms that there was a human presence to the east of the Corrib in the late Mesolithic. No definite Mesolithc site has as yet been identified in east Galway but there are flint artefacts that probably date to the Mesolithic from burnt mound sites excavated by Eachtra Archaeological Projects at Barna- cragh (E2446) and Urraghry (E2449). The Neolithic or new stone age began around 4000 BC when the first farmers came in search of pasture for their livestock and arable land in which to grow their grain. Ireland was then heavily forested so it was necessary for these farmers to engage in forest clearance. This they did with polished stone axeheads hafted in wooden handles. A number of stone axes have been recovered from along the valley of the river Suck and around the Ballinasloe area in general (Henry 1992, 37-38), indicating activity in the area during the Neolithic. The Neolithic period also saw new developments in ritual activity, in particular the build- ing of megalithic tombs. Only seven Neolithic tombs are recorded for the whole of north Galway (as defined by Vol 2 of the Archaeological inventory of Co. Galway), which includes the barony of Clonmacowen, and these are limited to court tombs and wedge tombs (Alcock et al. 1999, 1). There is no published inventory for south Galway. No megalithic tombs are recorded from the area around Balinasloe and Aughrim; the closest concentration is a group of four tombs identified around the limestone plains of Monivea. The erection of large more or less unhewn stones, often in prominent locations, was a wide- spread custom in prehistoric Ireland and elsewhere in western Europe. These take the form of stone circles, stone rows, stone pairs and single or isolated standing stones. Single standing stones may have had a wide variety of uses ranging from route or boundary markers to burial memorials. Two standing stones (RMP GA098:031 and GA087:023) are located around Aughrim, one of which is reputed to be associated with a stone axehead (Alcock et al. 1999, Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 2
  8. 8. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 17). During the Bronze Age metal was extracted and worked for the first time. Bronze Age axes and a dagger have been found in the area round Ballinasloe and a bronze spear head (NMI 1986:19) and dirk (NMI 1986:16) were recovered from the river Suck during drainage opera- tions in the 1880s (information from the National Museum of Ireland Topographical files). Underwater investigation of the site of Correen Ford, on the river Suck, identified a Late Bronze Age sword which was found close to a portion of a pottery vessel, perhaps of the same age (Kelly 1989). Coreen Ford was probably one of the main crossing points on the Suck in prehistory and early history. A variety of burial monuments date to the Bronze Age period, including cairns, tumuli and barrows. A cairn is a mound of stone often used to cover burials, and a tumulus is a mound of earth used for the same purpose. Barrows are burial monuments which usually consist of a circular central area, which may be flat or slightly dished (a ring ditch), or domed (a ring barrow), and which is enclosed by a ditch and occasionally by an external bank. Excavated Bronze Age burials include interments in cists, in pits lined with stone flags, and in simple pits, some of which were accompanied by pottery or other grave goods. These can be placed in tumuli, cairns or barrows, but can also be set within ‘natural’ monuments, such as sand ridges, or can appear in flat cemeteries, with no above ground marker at all (Waddell 1990, 1). A total of 22 cairns and tumuli, 10 isolated cist and pit graves and 31 barrows are known from north Galway (Alcock et al. 1999, 4 & 12). A significant concentration of Early Bronze Age features can be recognised in the area between Athenry, Tuam and Headford; however, very few burials or cairns have been identified in the areas around Ballinasloe and Aughrim. The most common Bronze Age monuments are burnt mounds. They are represented by small mounds of burnt stone, which were fired in order to heat water in a pit dug into a marshy area, the stones being discarded once they had cooled. The function of these monuments has been the source of much debate with various theories being expounded including cooking, washing and relaxation. Three burnt mounds have been excavated by Eachtra Archaeological Projects at this site at Cooltymurraghy (E2448), Barnacragh (E2446) and Urraghry (E2449). A Bronze Age settlement site (E2445) was also excavated in Mackney townland and Bronze Age dates were retrieved from another site in Mackney (E2443). These are important addi- Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 3
  9. 9. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 tions to the recorded prehistoric landscape in east Galway. We know almost nothing of Irish Iron Age settlement and burial outside the major complexes of royal ritual sites and a small number of burial sites that may be Iron Age in date. Deficien- cies in our knowledge of the settlements and habitations of ordinary people are so marked that Raftery referred to the majority of the population as the ‘invisible people’ (1994, 112). The majority of the evidence for the Iron Age period consists of finds of La Tène decorated metalwork and some pieces of stone sculpture. Examples of La Tène artefacts/monuments from east Galway include the Turoe Stone located close to Loughrea and a Late La Tène metal artefact found at. Rahally hillfort. This hillfort was excavated along the route of the new N6 Galway to Ballinalsoe road (Contract 3) and the evidence indicates settlement in prehistoric and medieval times (Mullins in progress). Iron Age radiocarbon dates were ob- tained from excavations at an enclosure site at Loughbown 2, also excavated along the route of the new N6 Galway to Ballinasloe road (Contract 4). However, medieval dates were also obtained from Loughbown 2 and the exact nature of occupation at the site during the Iron Age is uncertain. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 4
  10. 10. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 5 Results of Excavation This site comprised a burnt mound (a concentration of heat-shattered stone) and a later wa- ter channel. These were found within an area of excavation that measured 150 sq m (Figure 4). There was no evidence for a trough or any ancillary features under the mound or in the surrounding area. Full details are recorded in the stratigraphic index (Appendix 1), the strati- graphic matrix (Appendix 2) and the groups and sub-groups text (Appendix 3). The following is an interpretative summary of the archaeological remains from the site. 5.1 Burnt spread The burnt spread (C.7) measured 5.26 m east/west and 3.40 m north/south and ranged in depth from 0.06 to 0.17 m (Plate 3). The spread consisted of dark black sandy silt with fre- quent angular heat-shattered stone fragments and small charcoal flecks (Plate 4). Specialist analysis of the charcoal from a bulk sample of the burnt spread identified oak, alder, and ash (Appendix 5). The burnt spread was cut by a water channel (C.16) which ran north-west to south-east. This burnt spread has been interpreted as the remains of a burnt mound or fulacht fiadh, but there is no evidence for the associated trough which is usual at such sites. 5.2 Water channel The water channel (C.16) ran north-west to south-east across the site and it truncated the earlier burnt mound (Plates 5 and 6). It continued to the north and south beyond the area of excavation. It ranged in width from 0.36 m to 0.69 m and had an average depth of 0.1 m. The sides of the channel or cut had a gentle slope and the base was relatively flat. The chan- nel probably formed naturally as a result of water action; there is no evidence that it was a deliberately cut drain. 5.3 Artefacts No artefacts were recovered from this site. 5.4 Charred plant remains A total of four samples from this site were examined for charred plant remains by Mary Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 5
  11. 11. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Dillon (Appendix 4). No seeds were found. This is a common result from burnt mound deposits. 5.5 Charcoal Charcoal from this site was identified by Mary Dillon. Details of samples and results are presented in Appendix 5. A total of six samples were examined and the most frequent char- coal type was ash, followed in descending frequency by alder, oak, hazel, holly and apple type. These charcoal types (particularly ash, alder, oak and hazel) are common at burnt mound sites. They must have been common components of the forest canopy in Bronze Age Ireland. 5.6 Radiocarbon dates Radiocarbon analysis was carried out by the 14 Chrono Centre in Queen’s University Belfast. Dates were calibrated using Calib Rev5.0.2 (©1986-2005 M.Stuiver and P.J. Reimer) and in conjunction with Stuiver and Reimer 1993 and Reimer et al. 2004. Full details are presented in Appendix 6. Lab. Context Sample Material Un-calibrat- δ 13 1 sigma 2 sigma Period code (charcoal) ed date C calibrated calibrated date date UB- 7 8 Alder, 3768 +/-35 -26.0 cal BC 2293- Early 7359 8 frags, cal BC 2122 Bronze 0.83g 2278-2251 2093-2042 Age 2229-2221 2210-2137 6 Discussion Comparatively few burnt mound sites have been excavated in County Galway to date and the excavations dataset for the period 1970-2003 (www.excavations.ie combined with Excava- tions 2003, Bennett 2006) lists only five excavations in the county. These included one burnt mound at Brackernagh, one at Perssepark and three at Doughiska. There is also a record of a possible burnt mound at Bredagh and a threatened site at Frenchfort that was not excavated as the development was changed to avoid the site. Archaeological inventories for the county Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 6
  12. 12. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 list only six examples in West Galway, including one of the excavated examples at Doughiska (Gosling1993) and 17 are known in the north (Alcock et al. 1999). The inventory for the south of the county is not yet published. Large scale archaeological works such as the N6 Galway to Ballinasloe road scheme demonstrate that these numbers are under-representative: this project (Contracts 1-4) involved the excavation of 12 burnt mound sites: at Doughiska, Furzypark, Clogharevaun, Killescragh, Newford, Caraun More, Barnacragh, Urraghry and Cooltymurraghy. The distance between the easternmost burnt mound at Barnacragh and the westernmost site at Doughiska was 47 km and the burnt mounds were spread across almost the entire length of the new road. However, they were concentrated within land covered by Contracts 2, 3 and 4, within areas of low-lying damp ground, a characteristic location for most burnt mound sites. 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 main- tained at this heat by occasional additions 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) has 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 pro- duction 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 partly 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 (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 aims of the process. There was no evidence for a trough at Cooltymurraghy and no indication that the site ex- tended beyond the limit of the excavation. The absence of a trough at this site suggests that the purpose of hot stone technology at this site was not associated with heating water unless water was held in a vessel above ground. On the other hand, this site was situated in damp and low-lying ground typical of sites where troughs are generally found and the radiocarbon date from Cooltymurraghy fits in with the Early Bronze Age dates obtained from nearby Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 7
  13. 13. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 burnt mound sites at Urraghry E2449 and Barnacragh E2446 and troughs were excavated at both of these sites. The concentration of Early Bronze Age dates is interesting as most dated burnt mound sites have a focus of activity in the Middle to Late Bronze Age (Brindley & Lanting 1990; and see graph of dates in Ó Néill 2004). However, Early Bronze Age dates were returned from four of the nine burnt mound sites excavated along the route of the N25 Kilmacthomas realign- ment (Tierney in prep.) and a burnt mound sites at Doughiska, Co. Galway yielded a Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age date (Fitzpatrick & Crumlish 2000). The three burnt mound sites at Urraghry, Barnacragh and Cooltymurraghy and other Bronze Age sites at Mackney E2445 and E2443 are found within an area where most of the known monuments date to the historic period (see Figure 3). The results from these sites provide a starting point for an exploration of Bronze Age settlement and landscape use in this part of East Galway. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 8
  14. 14. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 7 Bibliography Alcock, O., de hOra, K. and Gosling, P. 1999 Archaeological Inventory of County Galway, Vol. 2 North Galway. Dublin, The Stationery Office. Bennett, I. (ed.) 2006 Excavations 2003. Bray, Wordwell. Brindley, A.L. and Lanting, J.N. 1990 The dating of fulachta fiadh, in Buckley, V. (ed.) Burnt Offerings. International contributions to burnt mound archaeology, 55-56. Dublin, Wordwell. Fitzpatrick, M. and Crumlish, R. 2000 The excavation of three burnt mounds on the outskirts of Galway city, Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society 52, 135-143. Gardiner, M.J. and Radford, T. 1980 Soil Associations of Ireland and Their Land Use Potential. Dublin, An Foras Talúntais. Gibbons, M., Gibbons, M. and Higgins, J. 2004 Mapping the Mesolithic in Western Connacht, IQUA Newsletter 32, 4-7 Gosling, P. 1993 Archaeological Inventory of County Galway: Vol. 1 West Galway. Dublin, The Stationery Office. Henry, M. 1992 Prehistoric Life in Co. Galway: A Distributional Analysis, Journal of the Galway Hist and Archaeol Society, Vol. 44 (1992), 29-46. Kelly, E.P. 1989 Ford, in Bennett, I. (ed.) Excavations 1989. Bray, Wordwell. Mullins, G. In progress Rahally, in Bennett, I. (ed.) Excavations 2006. O’Donoghue, J., Tierney, J. and Doolan, A. 2006 N6 Galway to Ballinasloe test excavations report, Centreline testing 4.0, Contract 4 Cloghagalla Eighter Co. Galway to Beagh, Co. Roscommon. Unpublished report for Eachtra Archaeological Projects submitted to the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Ó Drisceoil, D. 1988 Burnt mounds: cooking or bathing? Antiquity Vol. 62, 671-680). O’Kelly, M.J. 1954 Excavations and experiments in Irish cooking places, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland Vol. 84, 105-156. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 9
  15. 15. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Ó Néill, J. 2003/2004 Lapidibus in igne calefactis coquebatur: The historical burnt mound ‘tradition’, Journal of Irish Archaeology Vol. XII & XIII, 79-86. Raftery, B. 1994 Pagan Celtic Ireland: the enigma of the Irish Iron Age. London, Thames and Hudson. Reimer, P.J., Baillie, M.G.L., Bard, E., Bayliss, A., Beck, J.W., Bertrand, C., Blackwell, P.G., Buck, C.E., Burr, G., Cutler, K.B., Damon, P.E., Edwards, R.L., Fairbanks, R.G., Friedrich, M., Guilderson, T.P., Hughen, K.A., Kromer, B., McCormac, F.G., Manning, S., Bronk Ramsey, C., Reimer, R.W., Remmele, S., Southon, J.R., Stuiver, M., Talamo, S., Taylor, F.W., van der Plicht, J. and Weyhenmeyer, C.E. 2004 IntCal04 Terrestrial Radiocarbon Age Calibration, 0–26 Cal Kyr BP, Radiocarbon 46, 1029-1058. Wadddell, J. 2000 The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland. Bray, Wordwell. Stuiver, M., and Reimer, P.J. 1993 Extended (super 14) C data base and revised CALIB 3.0 (super 14) C age calibration program, Radiocarbon 35, 215-230. Tierney, J. In preparation. Excavations along the route of the N25 Kilmacthomas Realignment. 7.1 Websites Database of Irish excavations www.excavations.ie Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 10
  16. 16. N E2448 | A024 8 Figures E2443 A024/31 Mackney Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway Pits & ditches E2449 A024/36 Urraghy E2442 A024/09 Burnt mound Loughbown I E2447 A024/34 Ringfort & forge Coololla Lime kiln & forge E2444 A024/10 Mackney Ringfort with skeletal remains Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ E2448 A024/35 Cooltymurraghy E2445 A024/32 Burnt mound Mackney Pits E2054 A024/21 E2446 A024/33 Loughbown II Barnacragh Ringfort Burnt mound 0 2km Figure 1: Discovery series OS map showing the route of the new N6 Galway to Ballinasloe road (Contract 4) and the location of all excavation sites 11 ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237
  17. 17. E2448 | A024 E2449 A024/36 Urraghy Burnt mound E2442 A024/09 Loughbown I Ringfort & forge Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway E2447 A024/34 Coololla Lime kiln & forge E2448 A024/35 Cooltymurraghy Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ Burnt mound E2054 A024/21 Loughbown II E2446 A024/33 Ringfort Barnacragh Burnt mound Figure 2: The route of the new N6 Galway to Ballinasloe road (Contract 4) overlaid on the 1st edition OS map 12 ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237
  18. 18. E2448 | A024 E2442 A024/09 Loughbown I Ringfort & forge E2443 A024/31 Mackney E2447 A024/34 Pits & ditches Coololla Lime kiln & forge E2449 A024/36 Urraghy Burnt mound E2444 A024/10 E2448 A024/35 Mackney Cooltymurraghy Ringfort with skeletal remains Burnt mound E2445 A024/32 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway E2054 A024/21 Mackney Loughbown II Pits Ringfort E2446 A024/33 Barnacragh Burnt mound Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ Legend Canal Folly Togher Earthwork Field system Burial Ground/Graveyard Ecclesiastical Site/Holy well Castle/Tower Stone Group/Inscibed Stone Ringfort Enclosure Motte Monument 0 Km 2 Km Figure 3: The route of the new N6 Galway to Ballinasloe road (Contract 4) overlaid on the RMP map 13 ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237
  19. 19. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 N 2m 0 50 cm 10N 10E 05N 10E C.16 Figure 4: Post-excavation plan of the site at Cooltymurraghy E2448 C.7 10N 05E 05N 05E Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 14
  20. 20. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 9 Plates Plate 1: General landscape shot of area around the site Plate 2: Drain to the east of the site, from west Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 15
  21. 21. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Plate 3: Pre-excavation shot of burnt spread (C.7) from west Plate 4: Section through burnt spread (C.7) from south Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 16
  22. 22. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Plate 5: Water channel (C.16) cut through burnt spread from north-west Plate 6: Water channel (C.16) cut through burnt spread from south Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 17
  23. 23. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 10 Appendices Appendix 1 Stratigraphic index Appendix 2 Stratigraphic matrix Appendix 3 Groups and sub-groups text Appendix 4 Plant remains analysis Appendix 5 Charcoal analysis Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 18
  24. 24. 10.1 Appendix 1: Stratigraphic Register E2448 | A024 Context No. Area/GS Drawing No. Type Dimensions (metres) Description Environmental material 1 Site Topsoil 19 x 14.20 x 0.15 Mid brown, firm, clayey silt. Occasional medium sub-angu- No samples lar pebble inclusions. Overlays (004), (005), (003), (013). 2 Site Bedrock/under- Site Bedrock/underlying geology No samples lying geology 3 Site 1 Alluvial deposit 9.0 x 14.20 x 0.16 Light greyish brown, hard silt with 20% orange mottling due SS07 to iron panning. Overlays (017), underlays (001). 4 1 Natural deposit 1.20 x 0.12 x 0.1 Very thin layer of iron panning. Overlays (003), underlays No samples Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway (001) 5 1 Natural deposit 1.0 x 0.8 x 0.1 Very thin layer of iron panning. Overlays (003), underlays No samples (001) 6 NE of 1,5 Alluvial deposit 1.90 x 1.80 x 0.14 Mid greyish brown, stiff clayey silt with 25% orange mottling No samples site due to iron panning. Overlays (007), underlays (003). 7 1, 3 ,4 Charcoal rich 3.40 x 3.0 x 0.17 Dark black, firm, peat. Moderate fine sand inclusions. 25% SS08 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ burnt mound angular and sub-angular heat effected stones. Overlays SS09 (008), underlays (006), (016). 8 3,4 Alluvial deposit 1.50 x 1.80 x 0.05 Mid-dark greyish brown, firm, clayey silt. No inclusions. No samples Overlays (009), underlays (007). 9 4 Organic deposit 3.8 x 2.3 x 0.2 Mid brown, firm, clayey silt. No inclusions. Overlays (015), SS10 underlays (008). 11 6 Geological 1.35 x 0.75 x 0.12 Light white, firm, clayey silt. Moderate large sub-rounded No samples deposit and rounded stone inclusions. Overlays (014), underlays (013), (012) 12 6 Natural alluvial 8.0 x 5.4 x depth Mid-dark grey, firm, sandy silt. 50% large sub-angular and No samples deposit unclear sub-rounded stones. Overlays (011), underlays (003). 13 6 Geological Length unclear x Mid grey, stiff, clayey silt. Occasional large sub-rounded No samples deposit 0.16 x 0.07 stones. Overlays (011), underlays (003). 14 6 Geological Length unclear x Mid grey, compact, fine sand. No inclusions. No samples deposit 0.07 x 0.04 19 ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237
  25. 25. Context No. Area/GS Drawing No. Type Dimensions (metres) Description Environmental material E2448 | A024 15 6 Geological 10.0 x 8.0 x depth Light yellowish, brownish grey, stiff, silt. Frequent large sub- No samples deposit unknown rounded and sub-angular stone inclusions. Overlays (019), underlays (009) 16 6 Natural 9.0 x 0.69 x 0.15 Linear palaeochannel. Break of slope top varies along length, palaeochannel gradual-sharp. Irregular sides, break of slope base varies along length, gradual-sharp. Undulating base. Filled by (017), (003). 17 6 Alluvial deposit 15.0 x 0.54 x <0.1 Light orangish grey, loose, pebbley, coarse sand. 20% me- No samples dium angular and sub-angular pebble inclusions. Overlays [016], underlays (003). Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway 18 6 Fossils 0.26 x 0.24 x 0.10 Tubular fossil “worms” SS13 19 6 2.50 x 0.50 x depth Light brownish grey, compact, silty, fine sand. No inclusions. No samples. unclear Underlays (015) SS = Soil sample Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ [ ] = Cut ( ) = Fill 20 ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237
  26. 26. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 10.2 Appendix 2: Stratigraphic Matrix 1 topsoil iron pan 4 5 iron pan 3 alluvial deposit alluvail deposit 17 6 alluvial deposit water channel 16 7 burnt mound 8 alluvial deposit 9 silt deposit 15 natural deposit 19 alluvial deposit 2 bedrock Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 21
  27. 27. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 10.3 Appendix 3: Groups and Sub-groups text 10.3.1 Geological deposits This group describes the natural geological deposits identified within the excavated area. 10.3.1.1 Bedrock C.2 Description: Bedrock Interpretation: This describes the natural bedrock. 10.3.1.2 Alluvial deposits C.3, C.6, C.8, C.12 Description: Deposits of silt, some with orange mottling caused by iron panning (see sub- group 1.3). There are very few inclusions in any of these deposits. These deposits were laid down naturally due to water activity in the area. 10.3.1.3 Iron pan deposits C.4, C.5 Description: Thin layers of iron panning underlying the topsoil and overlying some alluvial deposits. 10.3.1.4 Geological deposits C.9, C.11, C.13, C.14, C.15 Description: These were clayey silts that ranged in colour from grey to white. Some of the deposits contained rounded stones. Interpretation: These deposits were natural geological deposits. Group 1 Interpretation These deposits were naturally laid down. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 22
  28. 28. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 10.3.2 Burnt mound This group describes the burnt mound deposit identified during excavation. 10.3.2.1 Burnt mound deposit C.8 Description: This was a peaty charcoal rich deposit of burnt material which includes large amounts of angular heat-affected stones. It measured 3.40 m in length by 3.0 m wide and it was 0.17 m high. Interpretation: This deposit represents a burnt mound material where the remains of hot stone technology was used at the site. As there was no trough at the site, the stones were prob- ably not used to heat water. Group 2 Interpretation This group describes the burnt mound material which was the only deposit of anthropogenic origin at the site. Such deposits of heat-affected stone and charcoal are indicative of the use of hot stone technology at the site, but there is no suggestion as to the purpose of this activity at the site. 10.3.3 Palaeochannel This group describes the natural palaeochannel and deposits associated with it. 10.3.3.1 Palaeochannel C.16 Fills C.17 Description:A linear palaeochannel (C.16) had irregular sides and an undulating base. It was very shallow (less than 0.1 m). It was filled by an alluvial deposit (C.17) with light coarse sand and inclusions of pebbles. Interpretation: This was a natural water channel, since dried up, which traversed the area of excavation. It was later than the activity at the burnt mound, and it is likely that the channel was not open for a very long as it was very irregular and shallow. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 23
  29. 29. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Group 3 Interpretation This natural water channel post-dated the burnt mound activity at the site. As the evidence suggests that the channel was not in use for very long it may simply have carried the water from one period of heavy rains before it dried up. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 24
  30. 30. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 10.4 Appendix 4: Plant remains analysis By Mary Dillon 10.4.1 Introduction Four samples were submitted for plant remains analysis from the excavation of a burnt mound site at Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway. 10.4.2 Methodology Bulk soil samples were collected on site and were processed post-excavation using a simple flotation method. Each sample was saturated in water to allow the carbonised plant material to float, this was then poured off into a series of sieves (1 mm and 250 µm), trapping the ‘flot’ (floating material) which was air-dried and stored in air-tight plastic bags. The flots were sort- ed and scanned for plant material and charcoal using a low-powered binocular microscope (magnification x 10 to x 40). Nomenclature and taxonomic orders follows Stace (1997). 10.4.3 Results None of the samples produced plant remains. 10.4.4 Discussion and Conclusion The lack of plants remains from this site is not altogether surprising. Burnt mounds and troughs, although commonly excavated, have yielded practically no plant remains (Penny Johnston, pers. comm.). 10.4.5 References Stace, C.A. 1997 New Flora in the British Isles (2nd edition), Cambridge, Cambridge Uni- versity Press. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 25
  31. 31. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 10.5 Appendix 5: Charcoal analysis By Mary Dillon 10.5.1 Introduction Site E2448 is located in the townland of Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway. The site comprised a spread of burnt mound material. Charcoal from the site yielded an Early Bronze Age ra- diocarbon date. This report deals with the charcoal retrieved from the site and looks at the information produced on environment and selective use of wood types. 10.5.2 Methodology Bulk soil samples were collected on site and were processed post-excavation using a simple flotation method. Each sample was saturated in water to allow the carbonised plant material to float, which was then poured off into a series of sieves (1 mm and 250 µm), trapping the ‘flot’ (floating material). This was air-dried and stored in air-tight plastic bags. The flots were sorted and scanned for plant material and charcoal using a low-powered binocular micro- scope (magnification x 10 to x 40). All charcoal fragments of 2 mm or greater were identified. Each fragment was prepared for microscopic examination by fracturing it by hand and there- by exposing a clean surface along transverse, radial and tangential planes. All three planes were examined at a range of magnifications (x 5 to x 100) under a Nikon stereo microscope. For reference literature the website ‘wood anatomy’ was consulted. The number and weight of fragments were recorded for each charcoal type. 10.5.2 Results In all, 81 charcoal fragments were identified from six samples (Table 1). In Figs 1 and 2 per- centage frequencies of the various charcoal types based on fragment count and dry weight, respectively, are shown. The most frequent charcoal type overall is ash at 40% or 51% by weight. This is followed in descending frequency by alder 22% / 17%, oak 19% /7%, hazel 16% / 22%, holly 3% / 2 % and pomoideae 1% / 1%. When considered on a weight basis the results change slightly (Fig. 2). 10.5.3 Discussion Burnt mounds are a common feature of the Irish landscape. Charcoal analysis from burnt mounds excavated along the Gas Pipeline to the West demonstrates that a range of trees Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 26
  32. 32. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 were gathered as firewood, particularly alder (Alnus glutinosa), hazel (Corylus avellana), oak (Quercus spp.) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior) (O’Donnell 2005). O’Donnell’s studies suggest the same wood types were utilized as fuel in burnt mounds across the country, which suggest that a selection process of some kind was in place. These trees were also common at Kiltotan Colinstown burnt mound in Co. Westmeath (Dillon 2006) and nearby burnt mound sites at Barnacragh E2446 and Urraghry E2449 (Dillon 2007a and 2007b). However, the assem- blage at Cooltymurraghy also contained holly and pomoideae wood types, which were not found at Barnacragh or Urraghry. Ash was the most common wood type in the Cooltymurraghy assemblage. It makes great fuel, burned green or dead, and this may have influenced its selection. According to the pol- len diagram it was readily available in the locality. Alder was the second most common wood type. Alder is quite common in the local dia- gram, but was probably largely confined to damp/wet areas. Given that burnt mounds are often suggested as places where dyeing may have been carried out (Waddell 1998, 177), it is interesting to note that alder bark and catkins were used to make a black dye in the past. This could be a reason for the abundance of alder wood that is associated, not just with this particular site, but with burnt mounds countrywide. Oak was the third most common wood type. It is slow burning and gives out substantial heat as it burns which would have made it a natural choice for a fire. Hazel was also represented. It was widely exploited in both prehistory and historical times for its nutritious nuts and supple rods which were widely used for building. Its coppice-like growth form makes it relatively easy to cut and there are normally substantial quantities of dead wood available near ground level for fuel wood. A pollen diagram from Mongon Bog near Clonmacnoise in Co. Offaly (Parkes & Mitchell 2000) indicates that during the Bronze Age hazel was one of the most abundant trees. Holly and pomoideae (includes Crataegus (hawthorn), Sorbus (rowan & whitebeam) and Malus sylvestris (crabapple) Formed a small percentage of the assemblage. It is not uncommon to find these wood types in burnt mound assemblages. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 27
  33. 33. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 Holly Hazel 2.47% 16.05% Oak 18.52% Pomoideae 1.23% Alder 22.22% Ash 39.51% Fig. 1 Percentage fragment frequency of wood types from Cooltymurraghy E2448 Holly Oak 1.56% 7.27% Hazel 22.49% Alder 17.47% Pomoideae 0.52% Ash 50.69% Fig. 2 Percentage weight of wood types from Cooltymurraghy E2448 Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 28
  34. 34. E2448 | A024 Cooltymurraghy, Co. Galway ISSUE 2: Eachtra Journal - ISSN 2009-2237 10.5.4 Summary The charcoal assemblage from Cooltymurrghy E2448 was made up of a majority of ash wood. It was a fairly typical burnt mound assemblage, but with a wider range of trees repre- sented than at Barnacragh or Urraghry. Table 1 Frag. Count Sample Context Oak Alder Ash Pomoideae Hazel Holly 8 7 4 8 7 10 9 2 4 5 1 9 7 9 6 20 13 2 Weight in grams Sample Context Oak Alder Ash Pomoideae Hazel Holly 8 7 0.39 0.83 0.98 10 9 0.03 0.18 0.04 0.03 9 7 1.91 1.3 0.09 10.5.5 References Dillon M. 2006 Analysis of charcoal assemblages from Kiltotan Collinstown 12. Unpublished report produced for Eachtra Archaeological Projects. Dillon M. 2007a Analysis of a charcoal assemblage from Barnacragh E2446, Co. Galway. Unpublished report produced for Eachtra Archaeological Projects. Dillon M. 2007 Analysis of a charcoal assemblage from Urraghry E2449, Co. Galway. Unpublished report produced for Eachtra Archaeological Projects. O’Donnell, L. 2005 Environmental Archaeology from the Gas Pipeline to the West. On http://www.mglarc.com. Parkes H.M and Mitchell FJG 2000 Vegetation History at Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly in Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 100B, No. 1, 35-40. Waddell, J. 1998. The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland. Galway University Press, Galway. ‘Wood Anatomy’ at http//:www.woodanatomy.ch. Permalink: http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2448-cooltymurraghy-co-galway/ 29

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