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Archaeological Report - Castleroan, Co. Offaly (Ireland)

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Excavations at Castleroan 1 E3909 revealed a prehistoric settlement site, in the form of two Bronze Age houses and an associated group of post-holes, pits and stake-holes. …

Excavations at Castleroan 1 E3909 revealed a prehistoric settlement site, in the form of two Bronze Age houses and an associated group of post-holes, pits and stake-holes.
Structure A was defined by two rings of posts, pits and slot trenches, the inner ring was concentric with the outer. It dated to the Middle Bronze Age. The internal diameter of the house was 7 m and it enclosed an internal area of 32 m 2. The external diameter was 9.5m and it enclosed an area of 65 m 2. The entrance faced east and measured 2 m. Structure B was located 6 m to the south of Structure A and was dated to the Late Bronze Age.
The structure was defined by two incomplete rings of posts. The inner ring comprised six posts and two substantial slot trenches formed the entrance. The entrance was 1.5 m in width and faced north-east. The outer ring was concentric with the inner and was also incomplete. It was defined by a ring of nine posts. The diameter of the house was estimated at 7 m. The interior of the structure enclosed an area of 30 m 2 and the entire structure enclosed an area of 40 m 2.
A small lithic assemblage recorded at the site was dated to the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age (Beaker period) and three sherds of Beaker pottery were recorded. Two Iron Age dates were returned from a pit within Structure A and from a pit located to the north-east of Structure A.

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  • 1. Eachtra JournalIssue 11 [ISSN 2009-2237] Archaeological Excavation Report E3909 - Castleroan, Co. Offaly Bronze Age houses and Iron Age pits
  • 2. EACHTRAArchaeological Projects Archaeological Excavation Report Castleroan Co. Offaly Bronze Age houses and Iron Age pits. Date: July 2011 Client: Laois County Council and National Roads Authority Project: N7 Castletown to Nenagh (Contract 1) E No: E3909Excavation Director: John Tierney Written by: Jacinta Kiely, John Tierney and Ewelina Chrobak
  • 3. Archaeological Excavation Report Castleroan Co. Offaly Excavation Director John Tierney Written By Jacinta Kiely, John Tierney and Ewelina Chrobak EACHTRA Archaeological Projects CORK GALWAY The Forge, Innishannon, Co. Cork Unit 10, Kilkerrin Park, Liosbain Industrial Estate, Galwaytel: 021 4701616 | web: www.eachtra.ie | email: info@eachtra.ie tel: 091 763673 | web: www.eachtra.ie | email: galway@eachtra.ie
  • 4. © Eachtra Archaeological Projects 2011 The Forge, Innishannon, Co Cork Set in 12pt Garamond Printed in Ireland
  • 5. Table of Contents Summary��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� v Acknowledgements�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� vi1 Scope of the project �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 12 Route location��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 13 Receiving environment ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 34 Archaeological and historical background ��������������������������������������������������������������������� 4 Mesolithic(c�8000to4000BC)���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 4 Neolithic(c�4000to2000BC)������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 4 � BronzeAge(c�2000to600BC)����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 4 IronAge(c�500BCtoAD500)����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 6 Earlymedievalperiod(c�AD400to1100)����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 6 Highandlatermedievalperiods(c�AD1100to1650)���������������������������������������������������������������� 7 Post-medievalperiod(c�1650tothepresent)��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 75 Site location and Topography ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 96 Excavation methodology ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 97 Excavation results ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 118 Discussion �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 33 LateNeolithic/EarlyBronzeAge������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������33 BronzeAge���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������33 IronAge����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������369 References �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 37Appendix 1 Stratigraphic Index �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 39Appendix 2 Site Matrix �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������40Appendix 3 Groups and Subgroups ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������44Appendix 4 Lithics Finds Report ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������68Appendix 5 Pottery report ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 71Appendix 6 Plant Remains Analysis ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 75 i
  • 6. List of Figures Figure 1: The route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh overlain on the Ordnance Survey Discovery Series map� ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 2 � Figure 2: The route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh overlain on the Ordnance Survey Discovery Series map with all the excavation sites marked� ����������������������������������������������������� 5 Figure 3: Portion of the Ist edition Ordnance Survey Map TN21 showing the location of Castleroan� ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 8 Figure 4: Location and extent of Castleroan E3909 on the N7 Castletown to Nenagh� �������������������10 Figure 5: Post excavation plan of Castleroan� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 12 Figure 6: Plan of Structure A at Castleroan� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 13 Figure 7: Section plans of pits and postholes C�170, C�151, C�168, C�280, C�191 and C�65 associated with Structure A at Castleroan� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 14 Figure 8: Post-excavation plan of Structure A and B at Castleroan� ��������������������������������������������������������� 16 Figure 9: Plan of Structure B at Castleroan� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������21 Figure 10: Section plans of postholes C�397, C�354, C�394 and C�227 associated with Structure B at Castleroan� ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������22 Figure 11: Section plans of external pits C�8 and C�280 and post-holes C�175 and C�285 at Castleroan� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������24 Figure 12: Post-excavation plans of nine of the Bronze Age houses on the N7� ������������������������������������35ii
  • 7. List of PlatesPlate 1: Aerial photograph montage of Castleroan� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 9Plate 2: Aerial view of the area of excavation at Castleroan from south� �������������������������������������������� 11Plate 3: Aerial view of Structures A and B at Castleroan from south� ��������������������������������������������������� 15 �Plate 4: Slot trench C�351 in Structure A at Castleroan� ����������������������������������������������������������������������������� 17Plate 5: Pits C�270 and C�363 in interior of Stucture A at Castleroan� ��������������������������������������������������� 18 �Plate 6: Pit C170 in the interior of Structure A at Castleroan� ������������������������������������������������������������������� 19Plate 7: Posthole C�401 in the interior of Structure A at Castleroan� ����������������������������������������������������� 19Plate 8: Pit C�8 located to the east of Structure A at Castleroan� ������������������������������������������������������������20Plate 9: Posthole C�394 which formed part of the inner ring of Structure B� �������������������������������������23Plate 10: Mid-excavation of pit C�238 in Structure B� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������25Plate 11: View of 11 stakeholes in the vicinity of post C�81 in Structure B� �������������������������������������������25Plate 12: Area of entrance in Structure B from south-west� �����������������������������������������������������������������������26 �Plate 13: Southern side of entrance in Structure B from west� ������������������������������������������������������������������26Plate 14: View of posthole C�402� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������27Plate 15: Pit C�29� ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������28Plate 16: Slot trench C�490� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������29Plate 17: Postholes 175 and C�326� �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������30Plate 18: Beaker barbed-and-tanged arrowhead E3909:390:1 from Castleroan� ��������������������������������30Plate 19: Rhyolite gaming piece E3909:150:1 from Castleroan� ����������������������������������������������������������������� 31List of TablesTable 1 Dimensions of the post-holes forming the inner ring of Structure A ����������������������������������� 15Table 2 Dimensions of the post-holes, pits and slot trench forming the outer ring of Structure A �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 17Table 3 Dimensions of the post-holes forming the inner ring of Structure B������������������������������������23Table 4 Dimensions of the entrance slot trenches and context numbers of associated post-holes� ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������27Table 5 Dimensions of the post-holes forming the outer ring of Structure B �����������������������������������27Table 6 Dimensions of the post-holes in slot trench C�490 ����������������������������������������������������������������������29Table 7 Radiocarbon dates �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������32 iii
  • 8. iv
  • 9. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/SummaryExcavations at Castleroan 1 E3909 revealed a prehistoric settlement site, in the formof two Bronze Age houses and an associated group of post-holes, pits and stake-holes.Structure A was defined by two rings of posts, pits and slot trenches, the inner ring wasconcentric with the outer. It dated to the Middle Bronze Age. The internal diameter of thehouse was 7 m and it enclosed an internal area of 32 m2. The external diameter was 9.5mand it enclosed an area of 65 m2. The entrance faced east and measured 2 m. StructureB was located 6 m to the south of Structure A and was dated to the Late Bronze Age.The structure was defined by two incomplete rings of posts. The inner ring comprised sixposts and two substantial slot trenches formed the entrance. The entrance was 1.5 m inwidth and faced north-east. The outer ring was concentric with the inner and was also in-complete. It was defined by a ring of nine posts. The diameter of the house was estimatedat 7 m. The interior of the structure enclosed an area of 30 m2 and the entire structureenclosed an area of 40 m2. A small lithic assemblage recorded at the site was dated to the Late Neolithic/EarlyBronze Age (Beaker period) and three sherds of Beaker pottery were recorded. Two IronAge dates were returned from a pit within Structure A and from a pit located to the north-east of Structure A.Road project name N7 Castletown to NenaghSite name Castleroan 1E no. E3909Site director John TierneyTownland CastleroanParish DunkerrinCounty OffalyBarony ClonliskOS Map Sheet No. OF 47National Grid Reference 206324 / 182969Elevation 160 m OD v
  • 10. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Acknowledgements The project was commissioned by Laois County Council and was funded by the Na- tional Roads Authority under the National Development Plan (2000-2006). The project archaeologist was Niall Roycroft. Kildare County Council supervised the archaeological contract with RE staff of Pat Dowling and Colum Fagan. Kildare County Council Senior Executive Engineer was Joseph Kelly and Kildare County Council Senior Engineer was John Coppinger. The senior archaeologist was John Tierney and the post-excavation man- ager was Jacinta Kiely. Illustrations are by Maurizio Toscano, photographs by John Sun- derland and Eagle Photography and aerial photography by StudioLab. Specialist analysis was carried out by Mary Dillon, Penny Johnston, Helen Roche and Eoin Grogan, Farina Sternke and the 14 Chrono Centre at Queen’s University Belfast.vi
  • 11. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/1 Scope of the projectEachtra Archaeological Projects were commissioned by Laois County Council and theNational Roads Authority to undertake archaeological works along 17.1 km (Contact1) of the 35km N7 Castletown to Nenagh (Derrinsallagh to Ballintotty) national roadscheme (EIS approved in November 2005). The scheme runs from the eastern junctionof the present N7 Nenagh Bypass, North Tipperary a tie in to the M7/M8 Portlaoise-Castletown scheme to the south of Borris-in-Ossory in County Laois. The scheme is ap-proximately 191 hectares. Contract 1 comprises the western half of the scheme and runsfrom Clashnevin to Castleroan passing along the Tipperary North and Offaly countyborder regions. The Ministers Direction Number is A38. It was funded by the Irish Government under the National Development Plan 2000-2006. The total archaeological cost was administered by the National Roads Authoritythrough Laois County Council as part of the Authority’s commitment to protecting ourcultural heritage. The purpose of the archaeological services project was to conduct ar-chaeological site investigations within the lands made available for the scheme and toassess the nature and extent of any new potential archaeological sites uncovered. Phase 1 of the project (archaeological testing of the route) was carried out in 2007under licence E3371, E3372 and E3375-8 issued by Department of the Environment Her-itage and Local Government (DoEHLG) in consultation with the National Museumof Ireland. The principal aim of this phase of the project was to test for any previouslyunknown sites by a programme of centreline and offset testing and to test sites of archaeo-logical potential identified in the EIS. Phase 2 of the project (resolution) involved the resolution of all archaeological sitesidentified within the proposed road corridor prior to commencement of the constructionof the road. This phase of the project was carried out from June 2007 to February 2008and excavations were conducted under the management of a Senior Archaeologist. A totalof 27 sites were excavated during this phase of works under separate licences issued byDoEHLG. A post-excavation assessment and strategy document was prepared in Phase 3 of theproject to present a management strategy for dealing with post-excavation work aris-ing from archaeological works along the route of the new N7 Castletown to Nenagh. Itincluded a proposal for post-excavation and archiving work and a budget for the works.2 Route locationThe route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh road is located in Counties North Tipperaryand Offaly (OF) (Figure 1). The project (Contract 1) involves the construction of c. 17.5km of the N7 from Clashnevin east of Nenagh to Castleroan south-east of Dunkerrin. Itpasses through the townlands of Clashnevin, Derrybane, Newtown, Lissanisky, Killeisk,Garavally, Derrycarney, Garrynafanna, Gortnadrumman, Kilgorteen, Falleen, Knock-ane, Clash, Park, Rosdremid (OF), Clynoe (OF), Cullenwaine, Moneygall, Greenhills, 1
  • 12. 182550 198900 2152502 193300 193300 ! ( Nenagh issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 Derg (Lough) 182950 182950 172600 172600 0 5 10 182550 198900 Kilometres 215250 ± Figure 1: The route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh overlain on the Ordnance Survey Discovery Series map� arChaeologiCal exCavation report
  • 13. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Drumbaun, Busherstown (OF), Drumroe (OF), Moatquarter, Loughan (OF) and Cas-tleroan (OF). The townlands are located in the parishes of Ballymackey, Cullenwaine,Castletownely, Rathnaveoge, Finglas and Dunkerrin and the baronies of Upper Ormond,Ikerrin and Clonisk, The route begins at the eastern end of the Nenagh bypass at Clashnevin c. 5 km eastof Nenagh and continues eastward on the northern side of the existing N7 in Co. Tip-perary. It crosses a number of third class roads to the north of Toomyvara and 0.7 kmeast of Clash crossroads crosses the Ollatrim River. It extends into County Offaly directlyeast of Park. From here it crosses the R490 0.6 km north of Moneygall. It extends backin County Tipperary and through the demesne of Greenhills before crossing the existingN7 at the junction of Greenhills and Drumbaun townlands. It crosses back into CountyOffaly and climbs east into Busherstown and Drumroe. It crosses the Keeloge Streaminto Moatquarter in County Tipperary and extends northeast back into County Offalythrough the townlands of Loughan and Castleroan 1.4 km southwest of Dunkerrin.3 Receiving environmentNorth Tipperary is bounded on the west by the River Shannon and Lough Derg withthe Silvermines, to the south, and small hills extending towards Devilsbit and BorrisnoeMountains to the east. The mountains are composed largely of Silurian strata and OldRed Sandstone. Copper, silver and lead deposits have been mined in the Silvermines. Thegeology of the lowlands consists of Carboniferous limestone covered by glacial drift inaddition to tracts of raised bog. The western portion of the study area is drained by the Ollatrim River which flowswestwards into the River Ballintotty which in turns drains into the River Nenagh. Theeastern portion is drained by the Keeloge Stream and other small water sources. These risein the foothills of the Silvermine Mountains and flow north. The Keeloge drains into theLittle Brosna River c. 1 km south of Shinrone, Co Offaly. The Brosna turns north anddrains into the Shannon south of Banagher. The largest population centre in the area is Nenagh. The smaller population centres,are Toomyvara, Moneygall and Dunkerrin. The soils on the route are characterised by 80% grey brown podzolics, 10% gleys, 5%brown earths and 5% basis peat. They are derived from glacial till of predominantly Car-boniferous limestone composition. These soils occur in Tipperary and Offaly and have awide use range being suitable for both tillage and pasture (Gardiner and Radford 1980,97-99). Land use along the route was a mix of grassland devoted to intensive dairying andcattle-rearing and tillage. 3
  • 14. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report 4 Archaeological and historical background Archaeological sites of numerous periods were discovered along the route of the new road (Figure 2). The periods are referred to as follows: Mesolithic (c. 8000 to 4000 BC), Neo- lithic (c. 4000 to 2000 BC), Bronze Age (c. 2000 to 600 BC), and Iron Age (c. 500 BC to AD 500), early medieval period (c. AD 500 to 1100), medieval period (c. AD 1100 to 1650), post-medieval period (c. AD 1650 to the present). Mesolithic (c. 8000 to 4000 BC) The earliest known human settlement in Ireland dates from the Mesolithic period (c. 8000 BC - 4000 BC). The majority of the evidence (flint scatters) for Mesolithic occupa- tion has come from the river valleys. No evidence for the Mesolithic was recorded on the route. Neolithic (c. 4000 to 2000 BC) The Neolithic Period is characterised by the introduction of agriculture and the begin- nings of the clearance of the woodlands. The population increased and became more sedentary in nature. The most important Neolithic site in the vicinity was at Tullahedy recorded on the route of the Nenagh by-pass. It was a specialist chert arrow manufactur- ing site. No evidence for a Neolithic site was recorded on the route but stone tools dating to the Neolithic were recorded at Busherstown E3661, Clash E3660, Cullenwaine E3741 and Greenhills 2 and 3 E3637 and E3658. Stone tools dating to the late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age were recorded at Busherstown E3661, Castleroan E3909, Cullenwaine E3741, Derrybane 1 E3585, Drumroe E3773, Greenhills 1 E3638 and Moatquarter E3910. Neo- lithic pottery was recorded at Cullenwaine E3741 and Drumbaun E3912. Bronze Age (c. 2000 to 600BC) The Bronze Age is characterised by the introduction of metallurgy and an increase in settlement and burial sites. Copper ores were mined and copper, bronze and gold items manufactured. The range of burial site types includes cist graves, pit and urn burials, cremation cemeteries, barrows, ring-ditches and wedge tombs. Stone circles and stand- ing stones also date to the Bronze Age. Both enclosed and unenclosed settlement sites are known. The most prolific Bronze Age site type is the fulacht fiadh. These monuments survive as low mounds of charcoal rich black silt, packed with heat-shattered stones, and generally situated close to a water source. Fulachta fiadh are generally classified as ‘cook- ing places’, whereby stones were heated in a hearth and subsequently placed in a trough of water, the water continued to boil with the addition of hot stones and wrapped food was cooked within the hot water. The trough eventually filled with small stones, ash and charcoal that were removed, forming the basis of the familiar mound.4
  • 15. 190400 196200 202000 207800 Castleroan 1 Castleroan-e3909 186400 186400 Castleroan 1 E 3909 Busherstown 1 E 3661 Loughan 1 E 4000 Greenhills 3 E 3658 Culleenwaine 1 Moneygall 2 E 3741 E 3635 Moatquarter 1 Clynoe 2 E 3910 E 3774 181800 181800 Park 1 Drumroe 1 Garravally Kilgorteen 1 E 3659 E 3773 E 3589 E 3739 Drumbaun 2 Derrybane 2 E 3912 E 3591 Greenhills 1 Greenhills 2 E 3638 E 3637 Clashnevin 2 E 3590 Clash 1 Park 2 E 3660 E 3772 Derrycarney 1 E 3740 Clashnevin 1 Derrybane 1 Killeisk 1 E 3586 E 3585 E 3587 177200 177200 0 3 6 Kilometres ± 190400 196200 202000 207800 Figure 2: The route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh overlain on the Ordnance Survey Discovery Series map with all the excavation sites marked� http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/5
  • 16. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Two new fulachta fiadh or burnt mounds were recorded at Clashnevin 1 E3586, Cullenwaine E3741 and six at three separate locations in Greenhills, E3638, E3637 and E3658. Evidence of nine roundhouses or partial round structures were recorded; two at Castleroan E3909, Derrybane 2 E3591 and Drumbaun 2 E3912 and one at Clash E3660, Drumroe E3773 and Moatquarter E3910. Iron Age (c. 500 BC to AD 500) Upto recently there was little evidence of a significant Iron Age presence in Munster. Settlement sites are few and far between as well as being difficult to identify (Woodman, 2000) while the material culture of this period is limited. Linear earthworks, believed to have marked tribal boundaries, and hillforts are two of the most visible monuments of the period. Ten percent of sites excavated on NRA road schemes in recent years have produced Iron Age dates. The dates have led to the identification of 30 new Iron Age sites in Munster from road schemes in counties Cork, Limerick and Tipperary (McLaughlin 2008, 51). These include a ditched enclosure in Ballywilliam and a wooden trackway in Annaholty Bog excavated on the route of the N7 Nenagh-Limerick (Taylor 2008, 54). Three Iron Age dates were returned from pits in Castleroan E3909 and Drumroe E3773 on the route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh (Contract 1). Early medieval period (c. AD 400 to 1100) The early medieval period is characterised by the arrival of Christianity to Ireland. The characteristic monument type of the period is the ringfort. Ringforts are the most nu- merous archaeological monument found in Ireland, with estimates of between 30,000 and 50,000 illustrated on the first edition of the Ordnance Survey 6” maps of the 1840’s (Barry 1987). As a result of continued research, the construction of these monuments has a narrow date range during the early medieval period between the 7th and 9th centuries AD. Although there are some very elaborate examples of ringforts, they often take the form of a simple earth or stone enclosure functioning as settlements for all classes of secu- lar society (Stout 1997). North Tipperary is rich in early ecclesiastical sites and the remains of these religious centres are at the core of some of the towns and villages. Roscrea, for example, was chosen by St Cronan as a location for his monastery in the seventh century as it was located at the crossroads on the Slighe Dála, an important roadway in early medieval times (NIAH 2006, 4-8). Early medieval activity was recorded at five sites on the route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh (Contract 1). A series of corn-drying kilns were recorded at Busherstown E3661. A denuded ringfort (OF046-013) was excavated at Clynoe 2 E3774. An area of iron- working and associated pits was recorded at Drumbaun E3912. Iron working activity, corn-drying kilns and settlement activity was recorded at Park 1 E3659. A group of pits and associated ditch were recorded at Drumroe E3773.6
  • 17. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/High and later medieval periods (c. AD 1100 to 1650)This period is characterized by the arrival of the Anglo-Normans and the building of tow-er houses. The Anglo-Normans obtained charters in the thirteenth century for the townsof Nenagh, Roscrea, Thurles and Templemore and established markets. Nenagh grewrapidly in the aftermath of the granting of the lands of Munster to Theobald fitzWalter in1185 (ibid. 8). Moated sites represent the remains of isolated, semi-defended homesteadsin rural areas. They were build mainly in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth cen-turies in counties, such as Wexford, Kilkenny, Tipperary, mid-Cork and Limerick, thatwere colonised by English settlers (O’Conor 1998, 58). The Archaeological Inventory forNorth Tipperary lists 39 moated sites (2002, 298). A medieval enclosure and associated field systems were recorded at Killeisk E3587. Anewly recorded moated site was excavated at Busherstown E3661. A series of ditches andsettlement activity was recorded at Park 1 E3659.Post-medieval period (c. 1650 to the present).The post-medieval period is characterised by mills, limekilns, workhouses, country hous-es and associated demesnes, vernacular buildings and field systems (Figure 3). A smalldemesne associated with a county house was recorded at Greenhills. 7
  • 18. 204713 2057138 Castleroan LOUGHAN ea m Loughan S tr 182716 182716 e lo g K ee CASTLEROAN issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 Moatquarter BUSHERSTOWN 182066 182066 MOATQUARTER Busherstown Drumbaun 2 DRUMROE 0 300 600 DRUMBAUN Drumroe ¥ Meters 204713 205713 Figure 3: Portion of the Ist edition Ordnance Survey Map TN21 showing the location of Castleroan� arChaeologiCal exCavation report
  • 19. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Plate 1: Aerial photograph montage of Castleroan� Castleroan 1 (E3909) 0 25 50 Meters ±5 Site location and TopographyThe site at Castleroan was located near the summit of a low hill at 160 m OD (Plate 1and 2). The surrounding land was in pasture. An Early Bronze Age site was recorded atLoughan E4000 350 m to the south-west.6 Excavation methodologyThe site was mechanically stripped of topsoil under strict archaeological supervision.Stripping was done with a tracked machine with a flat toothless bucket. Topsoil strippingcommenced in the areas of identified archaeology and continued radially outward untilthe limit of the road take was reached or until the limit of the archaeological remainswas fully defined. A grid was set up in the excavation area(s) and all archaeological fea-tures were sufficiently cleaned, recorded and excavated so as to enable an accurate andmeaningful record of the site to be preserved. The excavation, environmental sampling,site photographs, site drawings, find care and retrieval, on-site recording and site archivewas undertaken as per the Procedures for Archaeological works as attached to the licencemethod statements for excavation licences. The site was excavated from the week of the 19 January 2008 to the week of the 16February 2008. Only areas within the LMA (lands made available) were resolved. (Figure4). The full record of excavated contexts is recorded in the context register and the strati-graphic matrix (Appendix 1). Detailed stratigraphic descriptions are found in the groups 9
  • 20. 205937 206307 206677 1610 40 0 16 30 0 183216 183216 16 20 0 CASTLEROAN 16 10 0 LOUGHAN issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 16 00 0 15 90 0 182986 182986 15 80 0 15 70 0 15 60 0 182756 182756 M O AT Q U A R T E R Castleroan 1 (E3909) 15 50 0 100 200 0 Metres ± 205937 206307 206677 Figure 4: Location and extent of Castleroan E3909 on the N7 Castletown to Nenagh� arChaeologiCal exCavation report
  • 21. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Plate 2: Aerial view of the area of excavation at Castleroan from south�and sub-groups text (Appendix 2). The context register maybe viewed in the EAPOD(Eachtra Archaeological Projects office database) in the accompanying CD.7 Excavation resultsBronze AgeTwo structures dating to the Middle and Later Bronze Age and a group of associated pits,post-holes and slot trenches located to the north and east were excavated at Castleroan(Figure 5, plate 3). Structure B was located 6 m to the south of Structure A.Structure AStructure A was defined by two rings of posts, pits and slot trenches, the inner ring wasconcentric with the outer. The internal diameter of the house was 7 m and it enclosed aninternal area of 32 m2. The external diameter was 9.5m and it enclosed an area of 65 m2.The entrance faced east and measured 2 m in width (Figure 6). The inner circuit comprised nine post-holes (Figure 7). The interval between the post-holes was fairly regular, being on average 2.2 m. A stake-hole C.322 was located besidethe post C.125. The entrance was located between postholes C.359 and C.168. Post-holeC.168 was smaller than the other three features that formed the entrance. 11
  • 22. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report 206336 206357 ± 472183015 183015 375 293 280 262 486 87 4 338 132 Structure A 470 339 180 484 155 102 429 74 164 O 54 175 8 ) 152 138 160 m O.D. 285 126 48 32 98 100 88 71 29 7 Structure B 238 50 468 433 431182980 182980 490 460 408 405 0 10 m 206336 206357 Figure 5: Post excavation plan of Castleroan� 12
  • 23. 206328 206340 ± Castleroan-e3909 Structure A 183002 183002 Hearth 182997 182997 0 5 m 206328 206340 Figure 6: Plan of Structure A at Castleroan� http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/13
  • 24. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation reportN7CN N7CNCastleroan 1 Castleroan 1N facing section of C.170 NE facing section of C.151Structure A Structure A C.169 C.150 C.170 C.151 N7CN N7CN Castleroan 1 Castleroan 1 E facing section of C.168 N facing section of C.286 Structure A Structure A C.284 C.167 C.168 C.286 N7CN N7CN Castleroan 1 Castleroan 1 E facing section of C.191 W facing section of C.65 Structure A Structure A C.52 C.186 C.191 C.69 C.65 0 500 mmFigure 7: Section plans of pits and postholes C�170, C�151, C�168, C�280, C�191 and C�65 associated with Structure A at Castleroan�14
  • 25. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Plate 3: Aerial view of Structures A and B at Castleroan from south� Context Dimensions (m) (l x w x d) 125 0.25 x 0.2 x 0.13 151 0.33 x 0.33 x 0.2 155 0.3 x 0.3 x 0.13 165 0.2 x 0.2 x 0.15 168 0.2 x 0.2 x 0.15 184 0.34 x 0.34 x 0.08 188 0.35 x 0.3 x 0.13 335 0.16 x 0.15 x 0.15 359 0.6 x 0.5 x 0.16Table 1 Dimensions of the post-holes forming the inner ring of Structure ASix postholes (C.65, C.67, C.82, C.286, C.361 and C.439), five pits (C.4, C.126, C.146,C.180 and C.191) and one slot trench (C.351) constituted the outer circuit of the house(Figure 8). The interval between the features was very irregular. With the exception of thecut features that were located side by side, for examples pits C.180 and C.191 in the area ofthe entrance, the interval between each of the features was generally more than 2 m andwas up to 5 m at the rear of the house. There was a greater concentration of cut featuresat the front half of the house and thence a greater distance between the posts at the rear.A Middle Bronze date of cal BC 1249–1016 (UB–15035) was returned from the fill of pitC.191. 15
  • 26. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report 206330 206340 444 4 78 87 110 338 ± 65 449 470 44 339 450 132 151 335 85 103 422 465 286 401 180 322 125 415 191 63 342 168 270 363183000 183000 Hearth 41 425 386 193 155 20 263 395 189 Structure A 258 215 361 319 329 223 374 429 218 220 279 439 228 359 384 164 197 192 188 225 351 170 54 165 8 184 455 138 175 104 436 82 67 146 285 111 126 453 32 48 326 448 428 438 371 98 379 12 367 345 309 317 442 316 402 100 354 88 336 265 255 320 81 257 55 71 392 243 267 397 288 246 242 29 352 250 283 419 417 7 350 27 418 420 23 25 394 377 421 368 413 414 412 462 Structure B 410 411182985 182985 156 Hearth 238 50 305 301 299 227 297 328 211 445 291 195 199 236 254 433 232 490 209 230 207 431 205 251 203 0 5 m 201 456 458 206330 206340 Figure 8: Post-excavation plan of Structure A and B at Castleroan� 16
  • 27. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Plate 4: Slot trench C�351 in Structure A at Castleroan� Context Dimensions (m) (l x w x d) Feature 4 0.42 x 0.3 x 0.29 Pit 65 0.32 x 0.29 x 0.32 Post 67 0.32 x 0.3 x 0.15 Post 82 0.4 x 0.4 x 0.22 Post 126 0.7 x 0.45 x 0.16 Pit 146 0.54 x 0.36 x 0.09 Pit 180 0.71 x 0.6 x 0.2 Pit 191 0.59 x 0.54 x 0.21 Pit 286 0.24 x 0.19 x 0.22 Post 351 2.16 x 0.5 x 0.2 Slot trench 361 0.62 x 0.56 x 0.19 Post 439 0.18 x 0.13 x 0.17 PostTable 2 Dimensions of the post-holes, pits and slot trench forming the outer ring of Structure AThe pits were slightly different in plan, being wider, shallower and the bases were morerounded, to the post-holes. It is quite likely that many of them, particularly the smallerones, were the base of post-holes rather than actual storage pits. A chert flake and debitage(E3909:121:1-3) were recovered from pit C.126.A slot trench C.351 spanned the area between the entrance posts on the southern side ofthe entrance (Plate 4). It measured 2.16 m by 0.5 m by 0.2 m in depth. A flint barbed-and-tanged arrowhead (E3909:390:1) was recovered from the fill of the slot trench. One 17
  • 28. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Plate 5: Pits C�270 and C�363 in interior of Stucture A at Castleroan� possible pit C.444 and three stake-holes C.44, C.104, and C.465 were located between the two rings of posts. The interior A hearth C.20, eight pits (C.85, C.170, C.189, C.197, C.270, C.319, C.363 and C.386), six post-holes (C.41, C.63, C.103, C.279, C.401 and C.415), 14 stake-holes (C.44, C.192, C.215, C.218, C.220, C.223, C.225, C.228, C.258, C.263, C.329, C.342, C.422, and C.425) and two slot trenches (C.193 and C.374) were located in the interior of Structure A. The hearth C.20 measured 0.7 m in by 0.56 m by 0.2 m in depth. Flecks of unidentifi- able burnt bone were recorded in the fill. Two of the pits (C.270 and C.363) were similar in size to one another (Plate 5). They were located to the east of the hearth. The fills of the pits included a high concentration of small stones. Similar amounts of stones were recorded in the large pit C.189, which was square in plan. Two stake-holes C.215 and C.223 cut the base of pit C.189. The other four pits in the interior were smaller and more insubstantial in size (Plate 6). Three of the post-holes (C.63, C.279 and C.401) were located 1.6m apart, forming three sides of a square and could have functioned as support posts for a roof (Plate 7). The slot trench C.193 could have functioned as the south-eastern corner. One of the other posts C.41 was located adjacent to the hearth. Six of the stake-holes (C.225, C.228, C.218, C.220, C.329 and C.258) formed a screen or internal division measuring 2.6 m in length. Three more of the stake-holes (C.263, C.425 and C.342) may have formed an additional section of the screen, slightly stepped back from main alignment. An Iron Age date of cal BC 165––cal AD 2 (UB–15037) was returned from the fill of pit C.363. Exterior of Structure A Four pits (C.8, C.87, C.138 and C.429), a posthole and three stake-holes were located close to the entrance of Structure A. The fill of pit C.8 included charcoal and a concentra-18
  • 29. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Plate 6: Pit C170 in the interior of Structure A at Castleroan�Plate 7: Posthole C�401 in the interior of Structure A at Castleroan� 19
  • 30. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Plate 8: Pit C�8 located to the east of Structure A at Castleroan� tion of small stones similar to the fill of hearth C.238 associated with Structure B (Plate 8) and to some of the pits in the interior of Structure A. A further seven pits (C.74, C.152, C.280, C.338, C.375, C.470, and C.486), two post- holes (C.339 and C.484) and two stake-holes (C.102 and C.262) were located c. 8 m to the north-east of Structure A (see Figure 11). Several of the pits were located in a line, which extended over a length of 22 m, in a north-west/south-east alignment across the site. Structure B Structure B was located 6 m to the south of Structure A. The structure was defined by two incomplete rings of posts (Figure 9). No trace of the rear (western and south-western sec- tions) of the structure survived. The inner ring comprised six posts (C.81, C.328, C.352, C.394, C.397, and C.445) (Plate 9) and two substantial slot trenches C.491 and C.492, which supported seven and six posts respectively, formed the entrance. The entrance was 1.5 m in width and faced north-east. The outer ring was concentric with the inner and was also incomplete. It was defined by a ring of nine posts (C.55, C.156, C.227, C.254, C.336, C.354, C.392, C.414 and C.417). The diameter of the house was estimated at 7 m. The interior of the structure enclosed an area of 30 m2 and the entire structure enclosed an area of 40 m2. Five post-holes, including C.421 in the slot trench C.492, formed the northern circuit of the inner ring of posts (Figure 10). A group of 11 stake-holes (C.242, C.243, C.246,20
  • 31. 206328 206336 ± Castleroan-e3909 182990 182990 Structure B 182984 182984 Hearth 0 5 m 206328 206336 Figure 9: Plan of Structure B at Castleroan� http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/21
  • 32. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report N7CN N7CN Castleroan 1 Castleroan 1 NE facing section of C.387 NE facing section of C.354 Structure B Structure B C.385 C.344 C.354 C.397 N7CN N7CN Castleroan 1 Castleroan 1 SW facing section of C.394 NW facing section of C.227 Structure B Structure B C.387 C.217 C.393 C.227 C.394 0 500 mmFigure 10: Section plans of postholes C�397, C�354, C�394 and C�227 associated with Structure B at Castleroan� 22
  • 33. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Plate 9: Posthole C�394 which formed part of the inner ring of Structure B�C.250, C.255, C.257, C.265, C.267, C.283, C.288 and C.320) were located in the vicinityof post C.81 (Plate 10). Three post-holes, including C.410 in the slot trench C.491, formedthe south-eastern circuit. A pit C.238, cut by four stake-holes (C.297, C.299, C.301 andC.305) was located between post-hole C.328 and C.410. It measured 0.92 m by 0.74 mand 0.16 m in depth. The fill of the pit included charcoal and a high concentration ofsmall stones (Plate 11). It may have functioned as a hearth. A similar fill was recorded inthe pit C.8 which was located to the east of Structure A. Context Dimensions (m) (l x w x d) 81 0.26 x 0.23 x 0.16 328 0.2 x 0.2 x 0.2 352 0.4 x 0.3 x 0.24 394 0.26 x 0.2 x 0.22 397 0.35 x 0.24 x 0.32 445 0.25 x 0.2 x 0.13Table 3 Dimensions of the post-holes forming the inner ring of Structure B Flint debitage (E3909:340:1) was recovered from the fill of the post C.328. The substantial entrance comprised two parallel L-shaped slot trenches (Plate 12). Theslot trench C.491, formed the southern extent of the entrance (Plate 13). Seven postholeswere recorded in the trench. The postholes measured on average 0.33 m by 0.30 m by 23
  • 34. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report N7CN Castleroan 1 E facing section of C.280 External feature C.278 C.302 C.308 C.280 N7CN Castleroan 1 SW facing section of C.8 External feature C.3 C.34 Natural C.8 N7CN N7CN Castleroan 1 Castleroan 1 SE facing section of C.175 E facing section of C.285 External feature External feature C.177 C.173 C.275 C.178 C.175 C.285 0 500 mmFigure 11: Section plans of external pits C�8 and C�280 and post-holes C�175 and C�285 at Castleroan� 24
  • 35. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Plate 10: Mid-excavation of pit C�238 in Structure B�Plate 11: View of 11 stakeholes in the vicinity of post C�81 in Structure B� 25
  • 36. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Plate 12: Area of entrance in Structure B from south-west� Plate 13: Southern side of entrance in Structure B from west�26
  • 37. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Plate 14: View of posthole C�402� 0.23m in depth. The slot trench C.492, formed the northern extent of the entrance. Thepostholes measured on average 0.30 m by 0.24 m by 0.23 m in depth.Slot trench Dimensions (m) (l x w x d) Postholes491 1.4 x 0.43 x 0.26 0.64 x 0.37 x 0.24 156, 410, 411, 412, 413, 414, 415492 1.46 x 0.4 x 0.25 0.74 x 0.45 x 0.2 55, 417, 418, 419, 420, 421Table 4 Dimensions of the entrance slot trenches and context numbers of associated post-holes� Five post-holes, including C.55 and C.417 in the slot trench C.492, formed the north-ern circuit of the outer ring of posts. Two additional post-holes (C.316 and C.402) mayhave formed additional support or replacement posts in association with the outer ring(Plate 14). Four post-holes, including C.156 and C.414 in the slot trench C.491, formedthe south-eastern circuit. Context Dimensions (m) (l x w x d) 227 0.22 x 0.18 x 0.17 254 0.15 x 0.14 x 0.26 336 0.24 x 0.22 x 0.29 354 0.28 x 0.28 x 0.18 392 0.6 x 0.4 x 0.2Table 5 Dimensions of the post-holes forming the outer ring of Structure B 27
  • 38. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Plate 15: Pit C�29� A small pit C.7, cut by three stake-holes (C.23, C.25 and C.27), was located just out- side the area of the entrance. Three sherds of Beaker pottery were recovered from the pit. A Late Bronze Age date of cal BC 1011–914 (UB–15073) was returned from the fill of post C.227. The interior of Structure B A stake-hole C.350 and two post-holes (C.368 and C.377) were located in the northern section of the interior. They may have been associated with the inner ring of posts as they were positioned on the same arc as the inner ring. No other features were recorded in the interior of Structure B. Features to the north and east of Structure B Two pits (C.29 and C.100), adjacent to one another, were located 5 m east of the entrance (Plate 15). Three stake-holes (C.71, C.88 and C.98) were located 3 m further to the east. Three additional stake-holes 9C.50, C.433 and C.431) were located to the south of the pits. A substantial slot trench C. 490 cut by five post-holes (C.201, C.203, C.205, C.207 and C.209) was located less than 1 m to the south of Structure B (Plate 16). Two stake- holes (C.456 and C.458) were located on the southern edge of the slot and one C.251 to the west. The slot trench measured 2.15 m by 1.3 m and was orientated north-south.28
  • 39. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Plate 16: Slot trench C�490� Context Dimensions (m) (l x w x d) 201 0.37 x 0.27 x 0.33 203 0.26 x 0.20 x 0.42 205 0.18 x 0.15 x 0.25 207 0.1 x 0.1 x 0.05 209 0.34 x 0.33 x 0.47Table 6 Dimensions of the post-holes in slot trench C�490 A group of six stake-holes (C.199, C.195, C.211, C.230, C.232 and C.236) were lo-cated to the north of the slot trench close to the outer wall circuit of Structure B. Two ofthe stake-holes C. 199 and C.211 may have formed part of the outer circuit. A group of 19 post-holes and stake-holes (C.12, C.48, C.175, C.285, C.309, C.316,C.317, C.326, C.345, C.367, C.379, C.422, C.428, C.436, C.438, C.448, C.453 and C.455)and four pits (C.32, C.164, C.316 and C.371) were located in the area between StructuresA and B (see Figure 7). Four of them (C.164, C.175, C.426 and C.32) could have formeda screen, measuring 5 m in length, associated with the outer ring of Structure A (Plate17). Four more of the posts (C.285, C.326, C.371 and C.309) may have formed a secondscreen, measuring 4.2 m in length, parallel to and 2.6 m to the south-west of screen 1.Or the posts may represent the remains of at least one more structure which would havepredated Structures A and B. 29
  • 40. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Plate 17: Postholes 175 and C�326� Plate 18: Beaker barbed- and-tanged arrow- head E3909:390:1 from Castleroan� Burnt bone Tiny amounts of burnt bone were noted in the fills of some of the pits and hearths. It was included in the fills of pits C.170, C.197, C.189 and C.386, hearth C.20 and slot trench C.351 in the interior of Structure A, in the pits C.338 and C.339 to the north-east of Structure A, and from the hearth C.238 and pit C.350 in the interior of Structure B. It did not survive extraction and was not able to be identified.30
  • 41. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/ Plate 19: Rhyolite gaming piece E3909:150:1 from Castleroan�Lithic artefactsThe lithic artefacts were examined by Farina Sternke (Appendix 4). The assemblage hasto be regarded typologically and technologically as dating to the Late Neolithic/EarlyBronze Age (Beaker period). The lithic finds from the archaeological excavation were achert flake, a flint barbed-and-tanged arrowhead, three pieces of debitage and a possiblegaming piece (Plates 18 and 19). The classic barbed-and-tanged arrowhead is missing aportion of one of its barbs and has typical impact wear which includes a broken tip and alongitudinal fracture. The presence of three pieces (one flint and two cherts) of debitagesuggests that knapping or tool resharpening may have taken place at the site.PotteryThe pottery was examined by Helen Roche and Eoin Grogan (Appendix 5). Three sherdsof Beaker pottery were recovered from the pit C.7.Plant remainsThe plant remains were examined by Penny Johnston (Appendix 6). Hazelnut shell frag-ments were recovered from features (C.82, C.170, C.189, C.191 and C.401) associatedwith Structure A and features (C.227 and C.350) associated with Structure B. This sug-gests that hearth waste was widely, albeit thinly, dispersed across the site. Small amounts 31
  • 42. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report of hulled barley and indeterminate cereals were recorded in pit C.386, associated with Structure A and from pits C.8 and C.100 located to the east of the Structures. Charcoal The charcoal was examined by Mary Dillon in advance of radiocarbon dating. 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 P.J. Re- imer) and in conjunction with Stuiver Reimer 1993 and Reimer et al. 2004. Lab Con- Material Un-calibrated δ 13 C 2 sigma calibration Period code text date UB– 186 Hazel nut shell from pit 2918 +/- 26 -28.1 cal BC 1249–1244 Middle 15035 C.191 Structure A 1212–1016 Bronze Age UB– 302 Hazel nut shell from pit 2134 +/- 28 -28.2 cal BC 350–304 Iron Age 15036 C.280 209–86 79–55 UB– 387 Hazel nut shell from pit 2056 +/-26 -27.9 cal BC 165–127 Iron Age 15037 C.386 123–cal AD 2 UB– 217 Pomoideae charcoal 2815 +/-18 -27.5 cal BC 1011–914 Late Bronze 15073 from pit C.227 Struc- Age ture B Table 7 Radiocarbon dates32
  • 43. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/8 DiscussionLate Neolithic/Early Bronze AgeA small lithic assemblage dated to the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age and three sherdsof Beaker pottery were recovered from the area of Structure A and Structure B. The mate-rial maybe regarded as residual on a Middle–Late Bronze Age settlement site. The presence of three pieces of debitage suggests that knapping or tool resharpeningmay have taken place at the site. The lithics and the debitage were recovered from a smallnumber of post-holes associated with both Structures A and B. A small number of lithics dating to the same period were recovered from a Bronze Agesettlement site at Moatquarter, 500 m to the south-west of Castleroan.Bronze AgeThe main phase of activity at the site dated to the Bronze Age. The remains of at leasttwo structures were located side by side in the southern section of the site. The partialfootprint of at least one other structure, earlier in date, was probably located in the areabetween Structures A and B. Structure A was dated to the Middle Bronze Age and Struc-ture B to the Late Bronze Age on the basis of a single radiocarbon date returned fromeach structure. Structure A was defined by two concentric rings. The inner ring comprised nine posts,regularly spaced, and was complete. The posts probably supported the roof. The outer ringcomprised 12 features, six posts, five pits and one slot trench. The interval between thefeatures, particularly towards the rear of the structure, was irregular. The internal diam-eter of the structure was 7 m and it enclosed an area of 32 m2. The entrance to the housefaced east. It comprised four post-holes quite unlike the substantial entrance associatedwith Structure B. The interior of the house was partially divided into two sections and anumber of pits and a hearth were recorded within. Structure B was located 5 m to the south of Structure A. The structure was definedby two incomplete rings of posts. No trace of the rear of the structure had survived. Theinner ring comprised six posts and two substantial slot trenches formed the north-eastfacing entrance. The outer ring was defined by a ring of nine posts. The internal diameterof the house was estimated at 7 m and it enclosed an area of c. 46 m2. Few features werelocated in the interior. No trace of an internal division or central hearth was recorded inthe interior. A pit on the line of the inner ring of posts may have functioned as a hearth. Many of the features classified as small pits in Structures A and B are likely to be thebasal section of post-holes. There are two main hypotheses relating to the construction of the houses. Firstly, thatan internal ring of posts supported the roof and immediately outside this a clay wall wasbuilt. No evidence for the clay wall, except for the empty space, survived. Directly outsidethe clay wall further roof support was offered by external support posts and associated 33
  • 44. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report slot trenches. The relationship between the external and internal posts may indicate the location of the wall top cross beams. The second hypothesis is that a clay wall was built outside and against the inner ring of posts which formed part of a wattle screen and that this wall ran along the line of the outer ring of posts and pits. A recent survey of Bronze Age houses in southern Ireland lists a total of 41 Bronze Age sites where 81 individual structures have been recorded (Doody 2007, 86–7). How- ever, surveys are quickly out of date at the moment, since development-led archaeology has resulted in an explosion of Bronze Age archaeology (Bruck 2009a, xvi). The excava- tion of ten Bronze Age houses on the route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh will further increase the number of houses. Radiocarbon dates have been obtained for eight of the ten structures on the N7 from the townlands of Clash, Castleroan, Derrybane, Drumbaun, Drumroe and Moatquarter. Site Name E No. Structure Calibrated BC 2-sigma dates No of dates Period Clash E3660 Structure 1 1111-920 and 895-800 2 MBA-LBA Castleroan E3909 Structure A 1249-1016 1 MBA Castleroan E3909 Structure B 1011-914 1 LBA Derrybane E3591 Structure 1 741-406 and 833-797 2 LBA Derrybane E3591 Structure 2 794-550 1 LBA Derrybane E3591 Structure 3 1929-1773 1 EBA Drumbaun E3912 Structure A 1436-1316 1 MBA Drumbaun E3912 Structure B 1520-1442 1 MBA Drumroe E3773 Structure 1 895-815 1 LBA Moatquarter E3910 Structure 1 1495-1321, 1432-1316 and 1429-1315 3 MBA Table 10 Radiocarbon dates for Bronze Age structures on the route of the N7� There is an apparent diversity in house size, internal pattern and construction materi- als. In Britain there appears to be a number of regionally distinct house styles (Doody 2007, 97) but there is no established evidence for regional variation amongst Irish ex- amples as yet. However, the discovery of axial symmetry in several houses excavated in Tipperary and North Cork has been noted (Tierney and Johnston 2009, 105). A similar phenomenon has also been identified in Britain (Guilbert 1982, 68– 9; Brück 1999). Three of the round post-built structures, the two in Drumbaun, and one in Derry- bane excavated on the N7 were constructed along the principle of axial symmetry (Figure 12). This means that house was arranged on an axis between the entrance and a post-hole directly opposite it, two post-holes flank the entrance and the remaining post-holes have a corresponding partner at either side of the axis. The distance between the post-holes on either side of the axis is roughly the same (Tierney and Johnston ibid). Three other incomplete structures, may have originally been constructed along the same principles. Internal hearths were recorded in four of the structures illustrated in Figure 12, in Structure A Castleroan, Structure B Drumbaun, Structure 1 Derrybane 2 and Moat- quarter and a possible hearth in Structure B Castleroan. Hearth-side furniture including stakes which formed tripods, were associated with the internal hearths in Derrybane 2 and Moatquarter.34
  • 45. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/ Drumbaun ± Structure A Derrybane 2 Structure 1 Drumbaun Structure B Derrybane 2 Structure 2 Castleroan Structure A Castleroan Structure B Moatquarter Drumroe Hearth0 10 mFigure 12: Post-excavation plans of nine of the Bronze Age houses on the N7� 35
  • 46. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report The front section of the house at Clash, Drumroe and Structure B Castleroan was recorded but the no trace of the rear had survived. No evidence of definite central roof support posts were recorded in any of the structures. Internal divisions were recorded in both structures in Drumbaun, in one of the structures in Castleroan and evidence of multi screens or phases of screens were recorded at Moatquarter. External slot trenches, which followed the curve of the inner ring of posts, were re- corded at both Structures 1 and 2 in Drumbaun and at Drumroe. These extended from one or both sides of the entrance posts for lengths of upto 6 m. They may have functioned as drip gullies for water from the roof or they may have been part of a revetment for the outer face of a clay wall which would have been positioned between the inner ring of posts and the slot trench itself. In the majority of cases the slot trench tails off and was not re- corded at the rear of the house. An exception was recorded at Moatquarter where the slot trench encircled the rear rather than the entrance to the house. No direct evidence for clay walls were recorded at any of the Bronze Age settlement sites on the N7 but clay walls do not generally leave any trace in the archaeological record. The average space between the inner and outer ring at Structure A Castleroan was 1.4 m. The average space between the inner ring of posts and the slot trenches at Drumbaun was between 0.9-1.4 m. The distance was narrower, 0.5 m at Drumroe. The limited recovery of charred plant remains from Bronze Age house sites was quite common, along the route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh road scheme. Small assem- blages were recovered from Bronze Age settlement sites at Castleroan, Moatquarter and Drumroe. The small quantities of plant remains from these sites probably represent piece- meal and small-scale charring during cooking and domestic activity. Iron Age Two Iron Age dates were returned from the site at Castleroan. One from a pit in the inte- rior of Structure A and one from a pit located 6 m to the north-east of Structure A. It is however impossible to determine how many of the actual features recorded at Castleroan are associated with the Iron Age phase of activity. The features, seven pits, two post-holes and two stake-holes located to the north-east of Structure A may have been associated with this phase of activity at Castleroan. Only one other Iron Age date was recorded on the route of the N7 (Contract 1). An Iron Age date was returned from a pit at Drumroe E3773 located c. 70 m to the west of a late Bronze Age house.36
  • 47. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/9 ReferencesBruck, J. (2009a) Overview of findings, pp. xvi – xviii in McQuade, M., Molloy, B. and Moriarty, C. In the Shadow of the Galtees. Archaeological excavations along the route of the N8 Cashel to Mitchelstown Road Scheme. Dublin, National Roads Authority.Doody, M. (2007) Excavations at Curraghatoor, Co. Tipperary, University College Cork.Farrelly, J., and O’Brien, C. (2002) Archaeological Inventory of County Tipperary Vol. 1 - North Tipperary, The Stationery Office Dublin.Gardiner, M.J. and Radford,T. (1980) Soil Assocaitions of Ireland and Their Land Use Potential. Dublin, An Foras Talúntais.Guilbery, G. (1982) ‘Post-ring symmetry in roundhouses at Moel y Gaer and some other sites in prehistoric Britain’, in P J Drury (ed), Structural Recognition: approaches to the interpretation of excavated remains of buildings, 67 – 86. British Archaeological Reports 110.McLaughlin, M. and Conran, S. (2008) ‘The emerging Iron Age of South Munster’ in Seanda, Issue 3, 51-53. Dublin.National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (2006) An Introduction to the Architectural Heritage of North Tipperary. Government of Ireland.O’Conor, K.D. (1998) The Archaeology of Medieval Rural Settlement in Ireland, Discovery Programme Monographs No 3, Discovery Programme/Royal Irish Academy Dublin.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.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.Stout, M. (1997) The Irish Ringfort. Dublin, Four Courts Press. 37
  • 48. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Taylor, K. (2008) ‘At home and on the road: two Iron Age sites in County Tipperary’ in Seanda, Issue 3, 54-55. Dublin. Woodman, P.C. (2000) ‘Hammers and Shoeboxes: New Agendas for Prehistory’., pp. 1 -10 in Desmond, A., Johnson, G., McCarthy, M., Sheehan, J. and Shee Twohig, E. New Agendas in Irish Prehistory. Papers in commemoration of Liz Anderson. Bray, Wordwell.38
  • 49. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Appendix 1 Stratigraphic IndexPlease see attached CD. 39
  • 50. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation reportAppendix 2 Site Matrix40
  • 51. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/ 41
  • 52. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report42
  • 53. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/ 43
  • 54. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Appendix 3 Groups and Subgroups Group Description Subgroup No. Description Context No. No. 1 Natural Topsoil C.1 Deposits Subsoil C.2 2 Structure A 2a Outer line of the 6 postholes, 5 pits, 1 slot C.65, C.67, C.82, C.286, C.361, C.439, structure trench C.4, C.126, C.180, C.191, C.146 and C.351 2b Inner circuit of 1 stakehole, 8 postholes C.223, C.165, C.184, C.188, C.155, structure C.125, C.335, C.151 and C.168 2c Internal features 2 slot trenches, 9 pits, 6 C.193, C.374, C.444, C.85, C.197, postholes, 15 stakeholes C.270, C.319, C.363, C.386, C.170, C.189, C.41, C.63, C.103, C.279, C.401, C.415, C.44, C.104, C.465, C.422, C.342, C.258, C.322, C.329, C.220, C.218, C.263, C.228, C.225, C.192 and C.425 2d Hearth 1 hearth C.20 2e External features 4 pits, 1 postholes, 3 C.8, C.87, C.138, C.429, C.132, C.54, to the east stakeholes C.449 and C.450 3 Structure B 3a Inner circuit of 2 slot trenches, 6 post- C.491 and C.492, C. 81, C.397, C.352, the structure holes, 2 pits, 4 stakeholes C.394, C.328, C.445, C.238, C.301, C.299, C.328 and C.445 3b Outer circuit of 5 postholes C.392, C.336, C.354, C.227 and C.254 the structure 3c Internal features 1 stakehole, 2 postholes C.350, C.368 and C.377 3d Stakeholes 12 stakeholes C.242, C.243, C.246, C.250, C.255, C.257, C.265, C.267, C.283 C.288, C.320 and C.291 3e External features 2 pits, 14 stakeholes, 1 C.7, C. 405, C.23, C.25, C.27, C.195, slot trench, 5 postholes C.199, C.211, C.230, C.232, C.236, C.251, C.456, C.458, C.462, C.408 C.490, C.201, C.203, C.205 and C.207 4 Features to the 3 postholes, 3 stakeholes, C.50, C.431, C.433, C.71, C.88, C.98, east of structure 3 pits C.29, C.100 and C.468 B 5 Features 5 postholes, 4 pits, 6 C.175, C.436, C.285, C.309, C.316, between pit/ poss. postholes, 6 C.164, C.32, C.371, C.12, C.48, C.428, structures stakeholes C.448, C.326, C.367, C.402, C.317, C.422, C.453, C.438, C.455 and C.345 6 Features in the 7 pits, 2 postholes, 2 C.74, C.152, C.280, C.338, C.375, northeast part stakeholes C.470, C.486, C. 339, C.484, C.102 and of the site C.262 7 Furrow and 2 ditches,1 furrow C.293, C.472 and C.13 ditches Group 1 Natural Deposits This group describes the natural geological deposits identified across the area of excavation. Topsoil C.1 The topsoil was covering the archaeological features on the site. It was dark greyish brown silty sand with occasional pebbles and small and medium stones. The maximum depth of topsoil was 0.5 m.44
  • 55. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Subsoil C.2The subsoil was light brownish yellow compact clayey sand with moderate pebbles, small,medium and big stones inclusions. This is the natural subsoil which occurs under thefeatures and is found across whole site.Group 2 Structure AStructure A was a sub-circular house that was located in the northwest part of the site.It was defined by two rings of posts. The inner ring comprised eight postholes (C.184,C.188, C.155, C.125, C.335, C.151, C.168 and C.165) and stakehole C.223. The outerring consisted five pits (C.4, C.180, C.191, C.146, C.67) and six postholes (C.65, C.67,C.82, C.286, C.361 and C.439). The postholes C.359 and C.361 were situated within slottrench C.351. The inner ring measured 6 m in diameter. The outer ring measured 10 m indiameter. The structure had 2.4m width east facing entrance. The entrance was definedby posthole C.359 and C.168 in inner ring and pit C.191 and posthole C.361 in outerring. The interior was characterised by a hearth (C.20), eight pits (C.85, C.197, C.270,C.319, C.363, C.386, C.170 and C.189), six postholes (C.41, C.63, C.103, C.279, C.401and C.415), eleven stakeholes (C.422, C.342, C.258, C.329, C.220, C.218, C.263, C.228,C.225, C. 192 and C.425) and a slot trench (C.374).Subgroup 2a Outer line of the structureThe outer line of structure was composed of six postholes (C.65, C.67, C.82, C.361, C.439and C.286) and five pits (C.4, C.126, C.146, C.180 and C.191).Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description Typetext length x (m) plan with width (m)4 0.42x0.3 0.29 Irregular Moderate stepped Concave 5 Soft, dark black clay Pit at NW, moderate with moderate small irregular at SE, moder- stones and charcoal ate concave at NE, flecks vertical stepped at 17 Firm, mid greyish red SW clay with occasional small stones65 0.32x0.29 0.32 Irregular Moderate concave Tapered 52 Firm, dark brown clay Post- at NE, steep smooth rounded with occasional small hole at SE, moderate pointed and big stones convex at SW, steep 69 Firm, mid greyish red concave at NW clay with occasional peb- bles and small stones126 0.7x0.45 0.16 Sub-oval Steep smooth Flat 121 Soft mid yellowish Pit brown sandy silt with moderate pebbles, small and medium stones and charcoal flecks180 0.71x0.6 0.2 Oval Gentle concave at Concave 174 Firm dark black clay Pit S, vertical concave with occasional small elsewhere stones 179 Firm light brown clay with occasional pebbles 45
  • 56. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report 191 0.59x0.54 0.21 Oval Moderate smooth Concave 186 Dark brown firm clay Pit at NE, moderate with occasional small concave elsewhere stones and moderate flecks of charcoal 361 0.62x0.56 0.19 Oval Moderate concave at Concave 362 Mid orange brown Post- S, vertical concave soft clayey silt with hole elsewhere occasional small and medium stones and flecks of charcoal 146 0.54x0.36 0.09 Oval Vertical smooth Flat 153 Soft dark brownish Pit at N and S, steep grey sandy silt with smooth at E and W occasional pebbles, small and medium stones, medium char- coal pieces and large burnt stones 82 0.4x0.4 0.22 Circular Steep undercut at N, Flat 83 Soft greyish brown Post- steep smooth at S, sandy silt with oc- hole Vertical smooth at E casional pebbles, me- and W dium and large stones, flecks and medium pieces of charcoal 67 0.32x0.3 0.15 Sub- Steep undercut at Concave 68 Soft, mid greyish Post- circular S, Steep smooth black sandy silt with hole elsewhere occasional pebbles, small stones and flecks and small pieces of charcoal 439 0.18x0.13 0.17 Circular Vertical smooth Tapered 440 Grey brown loose silty Post- pointed sand hole 286 0.24x0.19 0.22 Oval Vertical smooth Flat 284 Mid brown grey very Post- soft silty clay with hole occasional pebbles, flecks of charcoal and flecks of burnt bone Table of features forming outer line of Structure A Within the fill of pit C.126 had been found two pieces of debitage chert and one chert flake. Slot trench C.351 filled with C.390 and C.391. The slot trench was curvilinear in plan. It measured 2.16m in length by 0.5m in width and 0.2m in depth. The break of slope at the top and at the base was sharp. The sides were vertical and concave at north and south, steep and concave at east and west. The base was linear in plan and flat in profile. The fill C.391 was mid yellow brown firm clayey silt with occasional pebbles, small stones, flecks of charcoal and flecks of burnt bone. The slot trench was truncated by two postholes C.359 and C.361. The posthole C.361 was in turn truncated by stakehole C.384. Stakehole C.384 filled with C.383 The stakehole was circular in plan with rounded corners. It measured 0.13m in length by 0.11m in width and 0.16m in depth. The break of slope at the top was sharp. The sides were vertical and smooth. The break of slope at the base was gradual. The base was circu- lar in plan and a tapered blunt point in profile. The fill was mid brown orange soft clay. The stakehole cut posthole C.361.46
  • 57. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Subgroup 2b Inner line of the structureThe inner ring of structure A comprised a ring of eight postholes (C.359, C.165, C.184,C.188, C.155, C.125, C.335, C.151, C.168 and C.165).Context Dimension/ Depth Plan Sides Base Filled Fill description Type length x width (m) with (m)359 0.6x0.5 0.16 Oval Verti- Oval 360 Soft mid orange brown clayey Post- cal silt with occasional pebbles and hole concave flecks of charcoal165 0.20x0.20 0.15 Circular Vertical Tapered 166 Soft mid brownish black sandy Post- smooth rounded silt with pebbles, flecks and hole point small charcoal pieces and oc- casional small burnt stones184 0.34x0.34 0.08 Sub- Moder- Flat 183 Soft mid yellow grey brown Post- circular ate sandy silt with occasional peb- hole smooth bles, flacks and small pieces of charcoal188 0.35x0.30 0.13 Oval Steep Concave 185 Soft dark brown black clayey Post- smooth peat with occasional small hole stones and frequent flecks and occasional small pieces of charcoal155 0.30x0.03 0.13 Sub- Steep Concave 143 Spongy mid brownish black Post- circular smooth clayey peat with occasional hole small stones, flecks and small and medium charcoal pieces125 0.25x0.2 0.13 Circular Steep Concave 119 Spongy mid brownish black Post- smooth clayey peat with occasional hole small stones, flecks and small pieces of charcoal335 0.16x0.15 0.15 Circular Vertical Flat 327 Soft dark grey black silty clay Post- smooth with occasional pebbles and hole frequent flecks of charcoal 334 Soft mid grey brown silt with occasional pebbles and moderate flecks of charcoal151 0.33x0.33 0.2 Circular Steep Concave 150 Firm dark brown clay with Post- concave occasional pebbles hole168 0.20x0.20 0.15 Sub- Steep Concave 167 Firm dark brown clay with Post- circular concave small and medium stones holeTable of features forming inner ring of structure A Inside the posthole C.151 had been found gaming stone.Subgroup 2c Internal featuresThe interior of the structure was characterised by a hearth C.20 (subgroup 2d), nine pits(C.444, C.85, C.197, C.270, C.319, C.363, C.386, C.170 and C.189), six postholes (C.41,C.63, C.103, C.279, C.401 and C.415), fifteen stakeholes (C.44, C.104, C.465, C.422,C.322, C.342, C.258, C.329, C.220, C.218, C.263, C.228, C.225, C.192 and C.425) anda slot trench (C.374). Two pits C.170 and C.197 were situated along the south part of inner line of structure.Pit C.85 was placed along northwest part of inner ring. Three pits C.270, C.363 and C.319were located in the centre of the house, close to the hearth C.20. Pit C.386 truncatedslot trench C.374. Pit C.189 were sited in the entrance of the house. Pit C.189 was cut by 47
  • 58. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report stakehole C.223. All these pits contained pieces of charcoal and flecks of burnt bones and were probably used as refuse pits. One pit C.444 was located between two post-line of structure, close to the posthole C.4. Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape Sides Base Filled Fill description text length x (m) in plan with width (m) 85 0.56x0.3 0.15 Oval Gentle Concave 80 Spongy mid brownish black clayey concave peat with occasional small stones, flecks and small pieces of charcoal 197 0.43x032 0.22 Oval Gentle Concave 196 Mid brown black soft clayey peat smooth with occasional small stones, frequent flecks, occasional small and medium pieces of charcoal and flecks and small pieces of burnt bone 270 0.5x0.43 0.38 Oval Gentle Concave 268 Dark grey black soft clay with concave frequent small and medium stones, flecks and small pieces of charcoal and flecks and small piece of burnt bone 319 0.37x0.27 0.1 Irregular Moderate Undulating 312 Mid brown soft sandy silt with oc- irregular casional pebbles and flecks and small pieces of charcoal 363 0.72x0.68 0.2 Sub- Gentle Concave 356 Mid grey black soft clay with frequent circular concave small, medium and coarse stones and occasional flecks and moderate small pieces of charcoal 189 1.24x0.84 0.23 Square Steep Flat 181 Soft mid brownish black clayey silt concave at with occasional pebbles, small and W, vertical medium stones, flecks and small irregular pieces of burnt bone, frequent flakes elsewhere and moderate small and medium pieces of charcoal 170 0.54x0.36 0.18 Sub- Vertical Concave 169 Soft mid greyish black silt with occa- oval smooth at sional pebbles, small stones, medium E, steep and large charcoal pieces and flakes of smooth burnt bones elsewhere 386 0.35x0.34 0.18 Circular Vertical Flat 387 Dark brown soft sandy silt with mod- irregular At erate pebbles and small stones flecks S, vertical of charcoal and occasional flecks of smooth burnt bone elsewhere 444 0.49x0.28 0.13 Circular Steep Concave 426 Mid brown firm clay. Occasional small smooth angular stones. Occasional flecks of charcoal. Table of pits inside structure A The posthole C.41 was situated in the center of the house, next to the hearth C.20 and was probably a central post to support a roof structure. Four of the postholes (C.63, C.103, C.401 and C.415) were concentrated in the north part of the house. Posthole C.279 was located next to the slot trench C.374.48
  • 59. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Context Dimension/ Depth Shape Sides Base Filled Fill description length x (m) in plan with width (m)41 0.22x0.18 0.18 Sub- Vertical Concave 38 Soft mid brownish black peaty circular smooth clay with occasional small and medium stones and flecks and small pieces of charcoal63 0.26x0.2 0.11 Oval Steep Concave 59 Soft mid brownish black clay smooth with occasional small stones, flecks and small pieces of charcoal103 0.14x0.14 0.15 Circular Vertical Concave 97 Spongy mid brownish black smooth clayey peat with occasional small stones, flecks and small pieces of charcoal279 0.33x0.26 0.16 Sub- Steep Flat 274 Mid black brown soft sandy silt circular smooth at with moderate pebbles, flecks E, vertical and small pieces of charcoal smooth elsewhere401 0.32x0.23 0.29 Sub- Vertical con- Concave 400 Mid brown firm clay. Oc- circular cave at NE and casional angular small stones. SW, vertical Occasional flecks of charcoal. stepped at NW, steep convex at SE192 0.08x0.06 0.12 Circular Steep Tapered 187 Mid grey brown firm sandy silt smooth rounded with occasional pebbles and pointed flecks of charcoal415 0.41x0.38 0.25 Sub- Vertical Concave 407 Mid grey brown soft clayey silt circular smooth with occasional small stones and flecks of charcoalTable of postholes inside structure A Five of the stakeholes (C.218, C.220, C.225, C.228 and C.329) composed straight linefrom structural posthole C.188 to pit C.319, which could serve as an internal division ofthe house. The screen/ wall, created by stakeholes, was situated in the southwest part ofthe structure. It might be connected with two more stakeholes C.258 and C.263. The restof the stakeholes inside the house don’t make any obvious pattern. Four stakeholes (C.44, C.104 C. 322 and C.465) were situated between two post-linesof structure A. The stakehole C.44 were located in the north part of the structure, closeto the pit C.444. The stakehole C.465 was sited near the pit C.180, close to the entranceof the house. The stakehole C.104 was located in the south part of the structure, close tothe posthole C.82. The stakehole C.322 was next to the posthole C.125. 49
  • 60. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description text length x (m) plan with width (m) 218 0.07x0.07 0.09 Circular Vertical Con- 219 Mid grey brown soft clay smooth cave with occasional flecks of charcoal 220 0.07x0.07 0.09 Circular Vertical Con- 221 Mid grey brown soft clay smooth cave with occasional flecks of charcoal 225 0.08x0.08 0.1 Circular Vertical Con- 226 Mid grey brown soft clay smooth cave with occasional flecks of charcoal 228 0.09x0.09 0.11 Circular Vertical Con- 229 Mid grey brown soft clay smooth cave with occasional flecks of charcoal 258 0.1x0.1 0.1 Circular Steep Con- 259 Mid grey brown soft silty smooth cave clay with occasional flecks of charcoal 263 0.1x0.1 0.1 Circular Vertical Con- 264 Mid grey brown soft clayey smooth cave silt with occasional flecks of charcoal 322 0.07x0.07 0.15 Circular Vertical Con- 311 Mid brown grey loose silty smooth cave clay 329 0.14x0.11 0.17 Circular Steep Ta- 323 Mid brown soft sandy smooth pered silt with occasional small pointed stones, flecks of charcoal and burnt bone 342 0.08x0.07 0.1 Circular Steep Con- 343 Mid orange brown soft silt smooth cave with occasional flecks of charcoal 422 0.07x0.7 0.13 Circular Steep Con- 423 Mid grey brown soft sand smooth cave with occasional flecks of charcoal 425 0.09x0.09 0.08 Circular Steep Con- 424 Mid brown soft sandy silt smooth cave 44 0.08x0.08 0.18 Sub- Steep Con- 45 Firm dark brownish black circular smooth cave clay with charcoal flecks 104 0.06x0.06 0.12 Circular Vertical Con- 105 Firm, mid brown sandy silt smooth cave with occasional pebbles and charcoal flecks 465 0.08x0.06 0.1 Oval Vertical Ta- 464 Mid grey brown firm sand silt smooth pered blunt pointed Table of stakeholes inside structure A Slot trench C.374 filled with C.355 The slot trench was linear in plan with rounded corners. It measured 1.56m in length by 0.49m in width and 0.1m in depth. The break of slope at the top and at the base was gradual. The sides were gentle and irregular. The base was linear in plan and undulating in profile. The fill was mid brown soft sandy silt with moderate pebbles, occasional small stones and flecks of charcoal. The slot was truncated by pit C.386.50
  • 61. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Subgroup 2d HearthHearth C.20 filled with C.11The hearth was sub-circular in plan. It measured 0.7m in length by 0.56m in width and0.2m in depth. The break of slope at the top and at the base was gradual. The sides weresmooth and sloped gently. The base was sub-circular in plan and concave in profile. Thefill was soft, mid brownish black peaty clay with occasional inclusions of small, mediumand large stones, flecks, small and medium pieces of charcoal and flecks of burnt bone.The hearth was located in the centre of the house, next to the central post C.41.Subgroup 2e External featuresFour pits (C.8, C.87, C.138 and C.429), one posthole (C.132) and one stakehole (C.54)were in vicinity of structure A. They were situated in the front of the entrance to thehouse.Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description Typetext length x (m) plan with width (m)87 0.82x0.4 0.2 Oval Moderate Con- 99 Firm mid brown Pit concave cave clay with occasion- al small stones132 0.21x0.15 0.17 Irregular Steep Con- 142 Firm mid brown Post-hole concave cave clay with pebbles8 1x0.9 0.46 Sub- Moderate Con- 3 Soft dark brown- Stone circular concave at cave ish black clayey silt lined fire S, moderate with frequent small related smooth stones, flecks pit or elsewhere and small pieces hearth of charcoal, and moderate medium stones 34 Soft light yellow- ish brown clayey silt with occasional small and medium stones and frequent flecks and small pieces of charcoal138 0.6x0.38 0.19 Sub- Gentle Con- 134 Firm mid brown Pit circular smooth at cave clayey silt with N, moderate occasional pebbles, at E, vertical small and medium elsewhere stones and charcoal flecks429 1.15x0.5 0.25 Oval Vertical Flat 430 Mid orange brown Pit concave at soft clayey silt with SW, gentle occasional pebbles concave at NW, steep concave at SE54 0.11x0.1 0.29 Sub- Vertical Point- 51 Soft dark blackish Stake-hole circular smooth ed brown clayey siltTable of external features of structure A 51
  • 62. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Group 3 Structure B Structure B was a sub-circular house that was located in the southwest part of the site, approximately 5m to the south of Structure A. The marks of the structure were incom- plete. The possible structure comprised ring of posts C.81, C.397, C.352, C.394, C.328, C.445 and two stakeholes C.301 and C.299. The slot trenches C.491 and C.492 probably formed the entrance 1.4m wide. The hearth (C.238), two postholes (C.328 and C.445) and stakehole (C.291) might be a part of inner ring of posts. The base of the hearth was cut by four stakeholes (C.297, C.299, C.301 and C.305). Subgroup 3a Inner Ring of the structure B The line of structure B comprised two slot trenches (C.491 and C.492), six postholes (C. 81, C.397, C.352, C.394, C.328 andC.445) and a pit C.238 cut by four stakeholes ( C.299, C.301, C.328 and C.445). Slot trench C.491 filled with C.409 Slot trench was L-shaped in plan and was composed of seven postholes C.156, C.410, C.411, C.412, C.413, C.414 and C.415 cut into the base. The slot trench was 1.4m long northeast -southwest and 0.95m north -south with 0.43m width. The postholes measured in average 0.33m in length by 0.30m in width and 0.23m in depth. Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Post Filled Fill description text length x (m) plan pipe with width (m) cut 156 0.64x0.37 0.24 Oval Concave Oval 162 Mid red brown silty smooth sand. 410 0.40x0.35 0.34 Oval Vertical Concave 115 409 Mid grey brown firm smooth silty sand with occa- 411 0.25x0.25 0.17 Oval Steep Flat 118 409 sional pebbles and flecks smooth of charcoal 412 0.36x0.20 0.20 Oval Steep Concave 130 409 smooth 413 0.28x0.22 0.24 Oval Steep Concave 141 409 smooth 414 0.30x0.30 0.15 Oval Steep Concave 148 409 smooth 415 0.41x0.38 0.25 Sub-circular Steep Concave 407 Mid grey brown soft smooth clayey silt with occasional small stones and flecks of charcoal Table of postholes inside slot trench C�491 Slot trench C.492 filled with C.398/416. Slot trench was L-shape in plan and was composed of six postholes C.55, C.376/417, C.418, C.419, C.420 C.421 cut into the base. The slot trench was 1.38m long NE-SW and 0.95m N-S with 0.56m in width. The postholes measured in average 0.30m in length by 0.24m in width and 0.23m in depth.52
  • 63. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Post Filled Fill descriptiontext length x width (m) plan pipe with (m) cut55 0.74x0.45 0.2 Oval Steep Oval 61 62 5658 smooth417 0.22x0.22 0.16 Oval Steep Concave 122 398/416 Mid grey brown firm smooth sandy silt with oc-418 0.22x0.20 0.18 Oval Steep Concave 113 398/416 casional pebbles and smooth flecks of charcoal419 0.38x0.25 0.22 Oval Steep Concave 106 398/416 smooth420 0.30x0.30 0.2 Oval Steep Concave 95 398/416 smooth421 0.38x0.25 0.4 Oval Steep Concave 93 398/416 undercut at NE, steep smooth elsewhereTable of postholes inside slot trench C�492 Four postholes C.81, C.397, C.352 and C.394 formed north wall of structure B. Theywere placed to the northwest of slot trench C.492.Con- Dimension/ Depth (m) Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill descriptiontext length x width plan with (m)81 0.26x0.23 0.16 Sub- Concave Flat 84 Compact, mid greyish circular moderate at black brown silty sand SW, vertical with occasional pebbles smooth and frequent small pieces elsewhere of charcoal397 0.35x0.24 0.32 Oval Vertical Con- 385 Mid firm clay silt with smooth cave occasional pebbles small stones352 0.4x0.30 0.24 Oval Vertical Con- 347 Mid grey brown loose smooth cave silty sand with occasional pebbles394 0.26x0.20 0.22 Oval Vertical Flat 382 Mid brown grey soft clayey smooth silt with occasional pebbles at N S, flecks of charcoal steep 393 Light yellow brown soft sandy concave at clay with occasional pebbles E, vertical small stones concave at WTable of structural postholes to the northwest of slot trench C�492 Two postholes C.328 and C.445 and two stakeholes C299 and C.301 formed north-east wall of structure B. They were placed to the south of slot trench C.491. 53
  • 64. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description Type text length x width (m) plan with (m) 328 0.2x0.2 0.2 Circular Vertical Concave 340 Mid brown grey soft sandy Post- smooth silt with occasional pebbles hole flecks of charcoal 445 0.25x0.2 0.13 Sub-circular Vertical Concave 446 Mid brown grey soft sandy Post- smooth silt with occasional pebbles hole flecks of charcoal 299 0.15x0.11 0.12 Oval Vertical Concave 298 Mid grey brown soft silty Stake- smooth sand with occasional fine hole pebbles 301 0.12x0.08 0.16 Oval Vertical Concave 300 Mid grey brown soft silty Stake- smooth sand with occasional fine hole pebbles Tables of structural features to the south of slot trench C�491 Inside posthole C.328 were found debitage flint. Pit C.238 filled with C.237 The pit was sub-rectangular in plan with rounded corners. It measured 0.92m in length, 0.74m in width and 0.16m in depth. The break of slope at the top was sharp. The sides were steep and smooth at north and south, vertical smooth at west, east side of the hearth was truncated. The break of slope at the base was sharp at west and gradual else- where. The base was sub-rectangular in plan and flat in profile. The fill was mid yellow black firm sandy silt with a large amount of pebbles, small stones and occasional medium stones. It contained moderate flecks, small, medium and large pieces of charcoal with moderate inclusions of flecks of bone. Four stakeholes cut the base of the pit. Four stakeholes (C.297, C.299, C.301 and C.305) cut the base of the hearth C.237 Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description text length x (m) plan with width (m) 297 0.07x0.07 0.07 Circular Vertical Concave 296 Mid grey brown soft silty sand smooth with occasional fine pebbles 299 0.15x0.11 0.12 Oval Vertical Concave 298 Mid grey brown soft silty sand smooth with occasional fine pebbles 301 0.12x0.08 0.16 Oval Vertical Concave 300 Mid grey brown soft silty sand smooth with occasional fine pebbles 305 0.07x0.07 0.11 Circular Vertical Concave 304 Mid grey grey soft silty sand with smooth occasional fine pebbles Table of stakeholes cut into the base of the hearth C�238 Pit C.238 was interpreted as a hearth during excavation. Subgroup 3b Outer ring of Structure B The outer ring comprised five postholes (C.392, C.336, C.354, C.227 and C.254) in ad- dition to the four postholes that formed part of the entrance slot trenches. Three (C.336,54
  • 65. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/C.354, C.392) were located on the northern circuit and two (C.227 and C.254) on thesouth-eastern.392 0.6x0.4 0.2 Oval Vertical Flat 389 Mid grey brown loose Post-hole smooth at N clayey sand with flacks and S, vertical of charcoal concave elsewhere336 0.24x0.22 0.29 Circular Steep Concave 330 Mid firm sandy silt Post-hole concave at with occasional pebbles SW, vertical and small stones smooth elsewhere354 0.28x0.28 0.18 Circular Steep Concave 344 Mid grey brown soft Post-hole smooth clayey silt with oc- casional pebbles, small and medium stones and flecks of charcoal227 0.22x0.18 0.17 Circular Vertical Oval Mid brown soft sandy Stake-hole smooth silt254 0.15x0.14 0.26 Circular Steep Tapered 248 Mid brown soft silty Stake-hole smooth rounded clay pointedTable of structure postholes on outer circuit of structure BSubgroup 3c Internal featuresTwo postholes (C.350 and C.368) and one stakehole (C.377) were situated inside possiblestructure B.Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description Typetext length x (m) plan with width (m)350 0.18x0.18 0.24 Circular Steep Flat 337 Mid brown grey soft Post- concave at clayey silt with pebbles, hole S, steep flecks and small pieces undercut at of charcoal and flecks of N, vertical burnt bone smooth at E and W368 0.23x0.2 0.13 Oval Moderate Con- 364 Mid grey brown soft Post- concave at cave clayey silt with occa- hole NW, vertical sional pebbles and flecks smooth at of charcoal SW, steep concave at NE and SE377 0.12x0.11 0.2 Circular Steep Con- 378 Light brown grey soft Stake- smooth at cave silty clay with occasional hole N, steep pebbles undercut at S, vertical smooth at E and WTable of features inside structure B 55
  • 66. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Subgroup 3d Stakeholes Twelve stakeholes could be connected with the post -line of structure B. Eleven of them (C.242, C.243, C.246, C.250, C.255, C.257, C.265, C.267, C.283 C.288 and C.320) were located next to posthole C.81. Stakehole C.291 was situated next to the postholes C.445 and C.328. Con- Dimensions Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description text (m) (m) plan with 242 0.08x0.08 0.13 Circular Verti- Rounded 239 Mid grey brown soft silty cal pointed clay with occasional pebbles smooth and flecks of charcoal 243 0.1x0.1 0.16 Circular Verti- Tapered 240 Mid grey brown soft silty cal rounded clay with occasional pebbles smooth pointed and flecks of charcoal 246 0.07x0.06 0.04 Circular Verti- Concave 241 Mid grey brown soft silty cal clay with occasional pebbles smooth and flecks of charcoal 250 0.06x0.06 0.11 Circular Verti- Tapered 249 Mid grey brown soft silty cal rounded clay with occasional pebbles smooth pointed and flecks of charcoal 255 0.06x0.06 0.1 Circular Steep Rounded 252 Mid grey brown soft silty smooth pointed clay with occasional pebbles and flecks of charcoal 257 0.07x0.07 0.07 Circular Steep Rounded 253 Mid grey brown soft silty smooth pointed clay with occasional pebbles and flecks of charcoal 265 0.07x0.07 0.12 Circular Verti- Concave 260 Mid brown soft clayey silt cal with occasional pebbles and smooth flecks of charcoal 267 0.07x0.05 0.11 Oval Verti- Tapered 266 Mid grey brown soft silty cal rounded clay with occasional pebbles smooth pointed and flecks of charcoal 283 0.07x0.07 0.32 Circular Verti- Tapered 282 Mid grey brown soft clayey cal rounded silt with occasional pebbles smooth pointed 288 0.09x0.08 0.11 Circular Verti- Tapered 281 Mid grey brown soft silty cal pointed clay with occasional pebbles smooth and flecks of charcoal 320 0.09x0.09 0.22 Circular Verti- Tapered 315 Mid grey brown soft clayey cal rounded silt with occasional charcoal smooth pointed flecks 291 0.09x0.08 0.11 Oval Verti- Concave 292 Grey brown silty compact sand cal with occasional pebbles smooth Table of stakeholes connected with post-line of structure B Subgroup 3e External features One pit C.7 truncated by three stakeholes, ten stakeholes (C.195, C.199, C.211, C.230, C.232, C.236, C.251, C.456, C.458 and C.462) and slot trench C.490 cut by four post- holes and one stakehole (C.201, 203, 205, 207 and 209) were located to the south and east of structure B. One more pit C.405 and stakehole C.408 were located to the south west of structure B.56
  • 67. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/ Pit C.7 was situated in front of the entrance of structure B. The pit was interpreted aspossible refuse pit. The pottery and hazelnut shell were found in the fill of the pit. The pitwas truncated by three stakeholes: C.23, C.25 and C.27.Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description Typetext length x (m) plan with width (m)7 0.62x0.6 0.2 Oval Steep Concave 18 Firm mid Pit smooth at brownish black S, steep silty sand with irregular at occasional peb- E, moderate bles and small smooth stones and mod- at N and W erate charcoal flecks 19 Firm dark brown silty sand with occasional pebbles, small stones and char- coal flecks23 0.08x0.05 0.18 Oval Vertical Concave 24 Firm mid brown Stake- smooth clay with occa- hole sional pebbles25 0.09x0.05 0.12 Oval Vertical Concave 26 Firm mid brown Stake- smooth clay with occa- hole sional pebbles27 0.05x0.05 0.11 Circular Vertical Concave 28 Firm mid brown Stake- smooth clay with occa- hole sional pebblesTable of dimensions of pit C�7 and stakeholes C�23, C�25 and C�27 Nine stakeholes (C.195, C.199, C.211, C.230, C.232, C.236, C.251, C.254, C.456 andC.458) and a slot trench C.490 cut by four postholes and one stakehole were situated tothe south of structure B. The stakehole C. 426 was located east of the slot trench C.491.Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill descriptiontext length x (m) plan with width (m)195 0.07x0.07 0.1 Circular Vertical Tapered 194 Mid grey brown firm sandy silt smooth rounded with occasional pebbles, flecks pointed and medium pieces of charcoal199 0.08x0.08 0.15 Circular Vertical Tapered 198 Mid grey brown firm sandy silt smooth pointed with occasional pebbles, flecks and medium pieces of charcoal211 0.08x0.08 0.1 Circular Vertical Rounded 210 Mid grey brown firm sandy silt smooth pointed with occasional pebbles, flecks and medium pieces of charcoal230 0.05x0.05 0.14 Circular Vertical Tapered 224 Mid grey brown firm sandy silt smooth at N blunt with occasional pebbles, flecks and S , steep pointed and medium pieces of charcoal undercut at W232 0.05x0.05 0.08 Circular Vertical Concave 231 Mid grey brown soft clay with smooth occasional pebbles and flecks of charcoal 57
  • 68. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description text length x (m) plan with width (m) 236 0.08x0.06 0.09 Oval Vertical Tapered 235 Light grey brown soft silty clay smooth pointed with occasional pebbles and flecks of charcoal 251 0.11x0.09 0.18 Circular Vertical Tapered 247 Mid grey brown soft clayey silt smooth at N, rounded S and E, un- pointed dercut at W 254 0.15x0.14 0.26 Circular Steep Tapered 248 Mid brown soft silty clay smooth rounded pointed 456 0.12x0.1 0.17 Circular Vertical Rounded 457 Mid brown soft clayey silt with smooth pointed occasional flecks of charcoal 458 0.09x0.08 0.11 Circular Vertical Tapered 459 Mid brown soft clayey silt with smooth rounded occasional charcoal flecks pointed 462 0.1x0.1 0.2 Circular Vertical Tapered 463 Mid grey brown firm sandy silt smooth rounded with occasional pebbles and pointed flecks of charcoal Table of stakeholes to the south of structure B Slot trench C.490 filled with C.175 and C.245 It was sub-circular in plan. It measured 2.16m in length by 1.47 in width. The fill C.245 was mid brown soft clayey silt with occasional pebbles and moderate flecks of charcoal. The slot trench was cut by four postholes (C.201, C.203, C.205 and C.209) and one stakehole (C. 207). Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description text length x (m) plan with width (m) 201 0.37x0.27 0.33 Circular Moderate smooth at Flat 200 Mid brown very soft E, vertical smooth silty clay with occasional elsewhere pebbles, small stones and flecks of charcoal 203 0.26x0.2 0.42 Circular Vertical smooth at Flat 202 Mid brown very soft N and W, moderate silty clay with occasional smooth at S and E pebbles, small stones and flecks of charcoal 205 0.18x0.15 0.25 Circular Vertical smooth Flat 204 Mid brown very soft silty clay with occasional peb- bles and small stones 209 0.34x0.33 0.47 Circular Vertical smooth Flat 208 Mid brown very soft silty clay with moderate pebbles 207 0.1x0.1 0.05 Circular Vertical smooth Rounded 206 Mid brown very soft pointed silty clay with moderate pebbles Table of features cut into slot trench C�490 One more pit C.405 and stakehole C.408 were located further south west of structure B.58
  • 69. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Pit C.405 filled with C.406The pit was oval in plan with rounded corners. It measured 0.31m in length by 0.2m inwidth and 0.13m in depth. The break of slope at the top and at the base was gradual.The sides were vertical and smooth at southeast, moderate and concave at northwest andnortheast, moderate and stepped at southwest. The base was oval in plan and concave inprofile. The fill was mid yellow brown soft clayey silt with occasional pebbles and flacksof charcoal.Stakehole C.408 filled with C.399The stakehole was circular in plan with rounded corners. The sides were vertical andsmooth. The base was oval in plan and concave in profile. The fill was loose grey brownsandy clay.Group 4 Features to the east of structure BThree postholes (C.50, C.431 and C.433), three stakeholes (C.71, C.88 and C.98) andthree pits (C.29, C.100 and C.468) were situated to the east of structure B.Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description Typetext length x (m) plan with width (m)50 0.22x0.19 0.17 Circular Steep smooth Con- 43 Firm dark black Post- at N, vertical cave silty sand with hole smooth at pebbles and S, moderate moderate me- undercut at E, dium charcoal vertical under- pieces cut at W431 0.19x0.16 0.19 Circular Vertical Ta- 432 Grey brown Post- smooth pered soft clayey silt hole round- ed pointed433 0.2x0.19 0.16 Circular Vertical Ta- 434 Grey brown Post- smooth pered soft clayey silt hole round- with occa- ed sional flecks of pointed charcoal71 0.12x0.11 0.23 Circular Steep smooth Con- 64 Firm brown Stake- at NE and NW, cave sandy silt hole vertical smooth at SE and SW 88 0.14x0.09 0.19 Circular Steep smooth Con- 76 Firm brown Stake- at NE and NW, cave sandy silt hole vertical smooth at SE and SW 98 0.16x0.11 0.22 Circular Steep smooth Con- 90 Firm brown Stake- at NE and NW, cave sandy silt hole vertical smooth at SE and SWTable of postholes and stakeholes to the east of structure B Stakeholes and postholes could (?) create two separated wind screens. 59
  • 70. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description text length x (m) plan with width (m) 29 0.63x0.63 0.39 Circular Moderate Concave 30 Compact mid greyish brown stepped at N, mod- silty sand with occasional erate smooth at pebbles, small and medium E, vertical ir- stones and flecks and small regular at S and W pieces of charcoal 39 Compact mid grey silty sand with occasional pebbles, small, medium and large stones, medium charcoal pieces and moderate flecks and small pieces of charcoal 40 Firm mid brown clayey sand with occasional pebbles, small stones and charcoal flecks 100 0.66x0.57 0.2 Irregular Moderate ir- Concave 92 Compact dark greyish regular at N, steep brown silty sand with oc- smooth at S, casional pebbles, stones and gentle irregular flecks and small pieces of at E, moderate charcoal smooth at W 468 0.95x0.82 0.53 Sub-circular ides are steep and Concave 469 Light grey brown loose silty smooth at N and E, sand with moderate pebbles, steep and concave small stones, occasional at S and W. medium and large stones, moderate flecks and small pieces of charcoal 478 Mid brown very soft clayey silt with moderate pebbles, small and medium stones and occasional flecks of charcoal Table of pit to the east of structure B Pits C.29 and C.100 were located 4.5m to the east of pit C.7 and 5.5m to the east of entrance of Structure B. Pit C.29 contained a single large stone on the base, which was interpreted as probably used for production purposes (a hazelnut shell was found within this pit as well). Group 5 Features between structures Five postholes (C.175, C.436, C.285, C.309, and C.316), four pits (C.164, C.32, C.371 and C.12), six pits/possible postholes (C.48, C.428, C.448, C.326, C.367 and C.402) and six stakeholes (C.317, C.422, C.453, C.438, C.455 and C.345) were situated between structure A and B.60
  • 71. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description Typetext length x (m) plan with width (m)175 0.4x0.34 0.2 Circular Gentle Con- 177 Soft mid greyish Post-hole smooth cave brown clayey silt with occasional pebbles, charcoal and bone flecks 173 Spongy mid to dark brown- ish black clayey peat with occasional pebbles, small stones, flecks, small and big pieces of charcoal and bone flecks 178 Soft mid greyish brown clayey silt with occasional pebbles, charcoal flecks and burnt bone flecks436 0.16x0.13 0.12 Circular Vertical Flat 435 Mid brown very soft Post- smooth silty clay hole285 0.24x0.19 0.22 Sub- Vertical Con- 275 Mid brown firm sandy Post- circular smooth cave silt with occasional hole pebbles, small stones, flecks and small pieces of charcoal309 0.47x0.42 0.17 Oval Gentle Con- 310 Mid yellow brown Post- concave cave soft clayey silt with hole occasional pebbles and flecks of charcoal392 0.6x0.4 0.2 Oval Verti- Flat 389 Mid grey brown loose Post- cal clayey sand with hole smooth at flacks of charcoal N and S, vertical concave elsewhere336 0.24x0.22 0.29 Circular Steep Con- 330 Mid firm sandy silt Post- concave cave with occasional peb- hole at SW, bles and small stones vertical smooth elsewhere354 0.28x0.28 0.18 Circular Steep Con- 344 Mid grey brown soft Post- smooth cave clayey silt with oc- hole casional pebbles, small and medium stones and flecks of charcoal316 0.32x0.25 0.22 Oval Vertical Con- 306 Mid grey brown soft Post- smooth cave clayey silt with occa- hole sional small, medium and large stones and flecks of charcoal164 0.35x0.25 0.15 Circular Gentle Con- 157 Spongy mid brown- Pit smooth cave ish black clayey peat with occasional small stones and flecks and small pieces of charcoal 61
  • 72. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description Type text length x (m) plan with width (m) 32 0.3x0.3 0.11 Circular Gentle Con- 33 Very soft mid brown- Pit smooth cave ish black sandy silt with occasional pebbles, flecks, small and large pieces of charcoal 36 Soft dark yellowish greyish brown sandy silt with oc- casional pebbles, flecks and small pieces of charcoal 371 0.65x0.35 0.22 Oval Moderate Con- 372 Mid yellow brown Pit smooth cave soft clayey silt with at NW, occasional pebbles, vertical small, medium and smooth large stones, flecks at SE, and small pieces of steep charcoal concave at SW, gentle smooth at NE 12 0.6x0.6 0.21 Circular Gentle Con- 6 Soft dark greyish Pit smooth cave brown sandy silt with moderate pebbles and flecks and small pieces of charcoal 16 Soft, dark brown sandy silt with moderate pebbles, small stones, flecks, small and medium pieces of charcoal 48 0.33x0.33 0.12 Circular Vertical Flat 46 Soft mid brownish Pit/PH smooth black sandy silt with at N, occasional pebbles, steep at E small stones, flacks, and W small and medium pieces of charcoal 49 Soft dark yellowish brown sandy silt with occasional pebbles and charcoal flecks 428 0.4x0.3 0.11 Oval Vertical Flat 427 Mid brown grey soft Pit/PH smooth clayey silt with oc- casional pebbles and flecks of charcoal62
  • 73. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description Typetext length x (m) plan with width (m)448 0.38x0.37 0.2 Circular Moderate Flat 447 Mid grey brown soft Pit/PH smooth clayey silt with pebbles at NE and flecks of charcoal and NW, vertical smooth at SE and SW326 0.44x0.38 0.3 Oval Vertical Undu- 303 Dark grey brown Pit/PH smooth lating compact silty sand at N, with pebbles with vertical flecks of charcoal undercut elsewhere 331 Mid yellow brown weakly cemented silty sand with moderate pebbles, small stones and flecks of charcoal 332 Mid pink brown weakly cemented clayey sand with occasional pebbles and moderate small stones367 0.5x0.35 0.16 Sub- Verti- Flat 348 Mid grey brown loose Pit/PH circular cal clayey sand with concave at moderate small pieces N and W, of charcoal steep concave at E and S402 0.56x0.49 0.4 Sub- Vertical Con- 388 Mid grey brown loose Pit/PH circular smooth cave silty sand with oc- at N, casional pebbles, small steep stones and flecks, concave at small and medium S and E, pieces of charcoal steep 403 Mid brown loose silty sand undercut with occasional pebbles, at W small stones, flecks and small pieces of charcoal317 0.1x0.1 0.15 Circular Vertical Ta- 318 Mid yellow brown Stake- smooth pered soft clayey silt with hole round- occasional flecks of ed charcoal point- ed422 0.07x0.07 0.13 Circular Steep Con- 423 Mid grey brown soft Stake- smooth cave sand with occasional hole flecks of charcoal453 0.06x0.06 0.1 Circular Vertical Con- 452 Mid grey brown firm Stake- smooth cave sandy silt with oc- hole casional pebbles438 0.08x0.08 0.16 Circular Vertical Ta- 437 Grey brown compact Stake- smooth pered silty sand with oc- hole point- casional pebbles ed 63
  • 74. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description Type text length x (m) plan with width (m) 455 0.06x0.05 0.13 Oval Vertical Con- 454 Mid grey brown Stake- smooth cave firm sandy silt with hole occasional flecks of charcoal 345 0.08x0.06 0.21 Oval Steep Ta- 346 Mid yellow brown Stake-hole smooth pered soft clayey silt with round- occasional flecks of ed charcoal point- ed Table of features situated between structure A and B Posthole C.309 was cut by two stakeholes C.317 and C.345. The above features could be divided by their proximity to either of the two structures into two groups. One connected with structure B comprised contexts C.392, C.402, C. 336, C.354, C.316, C.442, C.309 and one connected with structure A composed of con- texts C.164, C.175, C.436, C.32 and C.455. The alignment of the pit and the postholes indicate possible existence of earlier struc- ture in this part of the site. Two semi-circular structures could be considered in this area. One of the structures could have been composed of contexts: C.286, C.125, C.63, C.41, C.279, C.184, C.67, C.32, C.48 and C.285. The second possible structure could com- prise contexts: C.32, C.48, C.326, C.367, C.402, C.352 and C.368. Both structures would probably pre-dated Structure A and Structure B. Group 6 Features in the northeast part of the site Eleven pits (C.74, C.152, C.280, C.338, C.375, C.470 and C.486), two postholes (C.339 and C.484) and two stakeholes (C.102 and C.262) were situated northeast of the struc- ture A and B. The postholes and stakeholes were connected with the pits. The pits are elongated northwest-southeast and seem to form northeast border line of the main activ- ity on the site. Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description text length x width (m) plan with (m) 74 1.77x1.73 0.45 Irregular Vertical Flat 70 Soft dark brownish black clayey silt concave with occasional pebbles, small and medium stones and large charcoal pieces. Moderate inclusions of charcoal flecks 73 Very soft light brownish yellow clay with occasional small stones and flecks and small pieces of charcoal64
  • 75. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill descriptiontext length x width (m) plan with (m)152 0.8x0.6 0.3 Oval Vertical Con- 145 Soft dark brownish black clayey concave cave silt with occasional pebbles, small stones and flecks and small pieces of charcoal 171 Soft light yellowish brown clayey silt with occasional pebbles, small and medium stones and charcoal flecks280 0.99x0.55 0.25 Oval Moderate Flat 278 Mid brown firm clay with oc- convex casional pebbles, small stones and at NE flecks of charcoal and SW, moderate 302 Dark black stiff clay with moderate concave at pebbles, small and medium stones SE, steep and occasional flecks of charcoal irregular at NW 308 Light grey firm clay with oc- casional pebbles338 1.44x0.65 0.3 Oval Steep Flat 314 Dark grey brown soft clayey concave at silt with occasional flecks NE, steep and moderate small pieces of smooth charcoal and occasional small elsewhere flecks of burnt bone375 0.49x0.36 0.19 Sub- Moderate Con- 373 Dark black firm clay with moderate circular convex cave pebbles and frequent large pieces of at NE, charcoal moderate concave at SE and 381 Light orange firm clay with SW, steep occasional pebbles and flecks concave of charcoal at NW470 0.55x0.4 0.18 Oval Steep Flat 479 Mid yellow grey soft sandy silt with smooth occasional pebbles and flecks of charcoal 471 Mid grey soft sandy silt with occasional pebbles, small stones and flecks of charcoal 65
  • 76. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description text length x width (m) plan with (m) 486 1.15x0.67 0.38 Oval Steep Flat 487 Mid brown grey compact silty sand smooth at with moderate pebbles and occa- N and S, sional small stones steep irregular at E and W 488 Mid yellow grey compact silty sand with occasional pebbles and small stones Table of pits in the northeast part of the site The pit C.338 was truncated by posthole C.339. To the northeast of this pit was lo- cated stakehole C.262. Posthole C.484 and stakehole C.102 were situated close to the pit C.74. The pit C.74 was interpreted as possibly modern pit. Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description text length x (m) plan with width (m) 339 0.29x0.2 0.23 Oval Moderate Flat 314 Dark grey brown soft smooth clayey silt with occasional at NE, flecks and moderate small vertical pieces of charcoal and concave at occasional small flecks of SE, vertical burnt bone smooth 358 Packing stones at SW, steep smooth at NW 484 0.4x0.31 0.2 Circular Steep Con- 485 Mid brown grey soft concave cave clayey silt with occasional small stones and flecks of charcoal Table of postholes in the northeast part of the site Con- Dimension/ Depth Shape in Sides Base Filled Fill description text length x width (m) plan with (m) 102 0.13x0.12 0.31 Circular Vertical Pointed 101 Soft, dark black smooth brown clayey silt with occasional stone and charcoal flecks 262 0.1x0.08 0.11 Circular Vertical un- Tapered 261 Mid brown firm dercut at W, ver- rounded clay tical smooth pointed elsewhere Table of stakeholes in the north east part of the site Group 7 Ditches and furrow Two ditches (C.293 and C.472) and one furrow (C.13) run across the site.66
  • 77. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Ditch C.293 filled with C.294, C.466 and C.467A modern ditch located north-east of the structures aligned north-east to south-west. Theditch measured c.7.4m in length (within area of excavation), 1m in width and maximum0.7m in depth. The break of slope at the top was gradual. The sides were concave andmoderate. The break of slope at the base was gradual. The base was linear in plan andconcave in profile. The upper fill C.294 was llight grey brown very soft silty clay withmoderate small stones, occasional medium stones and moderate small pieces of charcoalinclusions. The middle fill C.466 was mid grey brown very soft sandy clay with moderatemedium stones and occasional small pieces of charcoal inclusions. The basal fill C.467was mid grey brown soft silty clay with moderate medium stones inclusions.Ditch C.472 filled with C.473A ditch located north-east of the structures aligned north – east. The ditch measured4.4m in length (within area of excavation), 0.7m in width and maximum 0.52m in depth.The break of slope at the top was sharp. The sides were vertical and concave at west, steepand concave at east. The break of slope at the base was gradual at east, and sharp at west.The base was linear in plan and concave in profile. The fill was mid grey brown soft clayeysilt with occasional pebbles, small and medium stones.Furrow C.13 filled with C.14 and C.15An agricultural furrow runs across the site in the north-east direction. The furrow waslinear in plan. It measured 25m in length by 0.58m in width and 0.29m in depth. Thebreak of slope at the top was imperceptible. The sides were irregular and sloped gently.The break of slope at the base was gradual. The base was linear in plan and concave inprofile. The upper fill C.14 was compact light brown silty sand with pebbles. The lowerfill C.15 was loose silt with pebbles and small stones. At least three more furrows run across the site. One of them truncated slot trenchC.490 and hearth C.238. The other one cut slot trench C.491. 67
  • 78. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Appendix 4 Lithics Finds Report by Farina Sternke Introduction Six lithic finds from the archaeological investigations of a prehistoric site at Castleroan 1, Co. Offaly were presented for analysis (Table 1). The finds are associated with a large number of pits, post holes, stake holes, hearths and slot trenches. Thickn. (mm) Find Number Length (mm) Width (mm) Condition Complete Material Retouch Context Cortex Type E3909:121:1 121 Chert Flake Yes Slightly Rolled 27 19 10 Yes No E3909:121:2 121 Chert Debitage E3909:121:3 121 Chert Debitage E3909:150:1 150 Rhyolite Gaming No Slightly Weathered 20 11 10 Yes No Piece? E3909:340:1 340 Flint Debitage E3909:390:1 390 Flint Retouched No Slightly Patinated 19 16 4 No Bifa- Artefact cial Table 1 Composition of the Lithic Assemblage from Castleroan 1 (E3909) Methodology All lithic artefacts are examined visually and catalogued using Microsoft Excel. The fol- lowing details are recorded for each artefact which measures at least 2 cm in length or width: context information, raw material type, artefact type, the presence of cortex, arte- fact condition, length, with and thickness measurements, fragmentation and the type of retouch (where applicable). The technological criteria recorded are based on the terminol- ogy and technology presented in Inizan et al. 1999. The general typological and morpho- logical classifications are based on Woodman et al. 2006. Struck lithics smaller than 2 cm are classed as debitage and not analysed further, unless they are retouched or of specific significance, e.g. cores etc. The same is done with natural chunks. Quantification The artefacts are two flaked pieces of flint (E3909:340:1 and E3909:390:1), three flaked pieces of chert (E3909:1:1-3) and one modified piece of what appears to be rhyolite. Three artefacts are larger than 2 cm in length and width or are of typological and technological significance and were therefore recorded in detail.68
  • 79. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/ProvenanceThe finds were recovered from various pit and post hole fills.ConditionThe recorded lithics survive in slightly patinated (E3909:390:1), slightly weathered(E3909:150:1) and slightly rolled (E3909:121:1) condition. One artefact (E3909:390:1) isincomplete and another (E3909:121:1) bear the remnants of cortex.Technology/MorphologyThe lithics are a flake (E3909:121:1), three pieces of debitage (E3909:121:2-3 andE3909:340:1), a retouched artefact (E3909:390:1) and a possible gaming piece (E3909:150:1).FlakesThe flake is made of chert and was detached from a bipolar core. It measures 27 mm, 19mm and 10 mm thick. The flake probably dates to the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Ageperiod.DebitageThe presence of three pieces (one flint and two cherts) of debitage suggests that knappingor tool resharpening may have taken place at the site.Retouched ArtefactThe retouched artefact is made of flint and is a classic barbed-and-tanged arrowhead.The arrowhead is missing a portion of one of its barbs and has typical impact wear whichincludes a broken tip and a longitudinal fracture. The arrowhead measures 19 mm inlength, 16 mm in width and 4 mm in thickness. It is a typical Beaker period example.Miscellaneous ArtefactsArtefact E3909:150:1 is a possible gaming piece. It is made of what appears to be rhyoliteand is shaped and polished into a short cylinder. It measures 20 mm long and 11 mm indiameter. It most likely also dates to the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age period.DatingThe assemblage can be regarded as technologically and typologically diagnostic and datesto the second half of the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age (Beaker period).ConservationLithics do not require specific conservation, but should be stored in a dry, stable environ-ment. Preferably, each lithic should be bagged separately and contact with other lithicsshould be avoided, so as to prevent damage and breakage, in particular edge damage 69
  • 80. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report which could later be misinterpreted as retouch. Larger and heavier items are best kept in individual boxes to avoid crushing of smaller assemblage pieces. Discussion Flint is available in Co. Offaly in the form of remanié pebbles. The predominant use of the abundant local chert is a direct result of the flint scarcity. Flint does not appear to have been brought to Castleroan 1, but flint artefacts were introduced in the form of finished tools. However, local chert appears to have been knapped in situ. Conclusion The lithic finds from the archaeological excavation at Castleroan 1, Co. Offaly are a chert flake, a flint barbed-and-tanged arrowhead, three pieces of debitage and a possible gam- ing piece. The assemblage is technologically and typologically diagnostic and dates to the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age (Beaker period). This site makes a minor contribution to the evidence for prehistoric settlement in Co. Offaly. Bibliography Inizan, M.-L., M. Reduron-Ballinger, H. Roche and J. Tixier, 1999. Technology and Terminology of Knapped Stone 5. CREP, Nanterre. Woodman, P. C., Finlay, N. and E. Anderson, 2006. The Archaeology of a Collection: The Keiller-Knowles Collection of the National Museum of Ireland. National Museum of Ireland Monograph Series 2. Wordwell, Bray.70
  • 81. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Appendix 5 Pottery reportHelen Roche and Eoin GroganBeaker VesselA bodysherd and two fragments representing a finely constructed Chalcolithic (c. 2450–2300 BC) Beaker vessel was found within a pit C.18 and appears to represent residualmaterial on a Middle to Late Bronze Age site. The thin-walled, well-fired fabric ranges inthickness between 6.5mm and 7.0mm and weighs 39g. The fabric is hard and compactwith a high content of what appear to be dolerite inclusions. The surfaces are somewhatabraded. The sherds have an orange exterior surface, a grey-brown core and a browninterior surface. Decoration is present on the exterior surface in the form of horizontalpanels of incised criss-cross and filled triangle motifs. The decorative panels are borderedwith horizontal incised lines. A constricted waist is present on the bodysherd indicatingit represents a biconical vessel. Such vessels conform to Case’s Style 3, an insular formprobably dating to the latter stages of this period of prehistory and can be compared topots from Largantea, Co. Derry (Case 1993, 259; Waddell 1998, fig. 47). In the past theseforms and decorative styles have generally been assigned to Clarke’s (1970) northern Brit-ish types. More recently, following reviews by, for example, Lanting and van der Waals(1972), there has been a greater recognition of the regional development of Beaker. Case’s(1993) simpler threefold scheme, and its specific application to the Irish material, providesa straightforward medium for insular comparison (Case 1995). The distribution of Beaker pottery in Ireland is mainly concentrated in eastern Ulster,extending down through Leinster, increasing in numbers in north Leinster and extendingacross into Munster but until recent years they were rare in the region under discussion.Closely comparable material has come from sites on the Fermoy to Mitchelstown bypass,at Caherdrinny 3, Gortnahown 2 and Ballynamona 2 and sites on the Rathcormac toFermoy Bypass (Roche and Grogan 2009a-c; Grogan and Roche 2007). New discoveriesalso include Ross Island, Co. Kerry (O’Brien 1995), Barnagore 2, Carrigohane 4, Cur-raheen 1, Co. Cork (Danaher 2004a; 2004b; 2004c), Graigueshoneen and Ahanaglogh,Co. Waterford (Tierney et al. 2002). 71
  • 82. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report References Case, H. 1993 Beakers: Deconstruction and After, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 59, 241–68. Case, H. 1995 Irish Beakers in their European Context. In J. Waddell and E. Shee Twohig (eds), Ireland in the Bronze Age, 14–29. Stationery Office, Dublin. Clarke, D.L. 1970 Beaker Pottery of Great Britain and Ireland. Gulbenkian Archaeological Series, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Danaher, E. 2004a Barnagore 2. Bronze Age cremation pit, Co. Cork. In I. Bennett (ed.), Excavations 2002, 59–60. Wordwell, Bray. Danaher, E. 2004b Carrigohane 4. Circular pit with Beaker pottery, Co. Cork. In I. Bennett (ed.), Excavations 2002, 64. Wordwell, Bray. Danaher, E. 2004c Curraheen 1. Multi-phases settlement, Co. Cork. In I. Bennett (ed.), Excavations 2002, 74–76. Wordwell, Bray. Grogan, E. and Roche, H. 2007 The prehistoric pottery from the N8 Rathcormac to Fermoy Bypass. Unpublished Report for Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd. Lanting, J. and van der Waals, D. 1972 British Beakers as seen from the Continent, Helenium 12, 20-46. O’Brien, W. 1995 Ross Island – the beginning, Archaeology Ireland 31, 24–27. Roche and Grogan 2009a The prehistoric pottery from Caherdrinny 3, Co. Cork. Unpublished Report for Eachtra Archaeological Projects. Roche and Grogan 2009b The prehistoric pottery from Gortnahown 2, Co. Cork. Unpublished Report for Eachtra Archaeological Projects. Roche and Grogan 2009c The prehistoric pottery from Ballynamona 2, Co. Cork. Unpublished Report for Eachtra Archaeological Projects. Tierney, J., Richardson, A. and Frazer, B. 2002 Ahanaglogh-Graigueshoneen. Prehistoric. In I. Bennett (ed.), Excavations 2000, 328–31. Wordwell, Bray.72
  • 83. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Waddell, J. 1998 The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland. Galway University Press, Galway. 73
  • 84. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Catalogue The excavation number E3909 is omitted throughout; only the deposit number followed by the find number is included. Where the pottery is listed in the catalogue the context numbers are in bold: e.g. bodysherds: 18:1. The colour reference refers to the outer sur- face/core/inner surface, e.g. orange/grey/black. The thickness refers to an average dimen- sion; where relevant a thickness range is indicated. Beaker Vessel Vessel 1. Represented by bodysherd 18:1 and two fragments 18:2, 19:1 that appear to be from the same vessel. The bodysherd is from the area below the rim and a constricted waist is present. Thin -walled, hard, well-fired fabric with a high content of dolerite inclusions (≤ 3.1mm). The surfaces are slightly weathered although the exterior surface had originally been care- fully smoothed. Decoration is present on the exterior surface in the form of horizontal panels of incised criss-cross and filled triangle motifs. The decorative panels are bordered with horizontal incised lines. Colour: orange/grey-brown/brown. Thickness: 6.5–7.0mm. Weight: 39g.74
  • 85. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Appendix 6 Plant Remains AnalysisBy Penny JohnstonIntroductionThis report details the results of plant remains analysis from Castleroan, Co. Tipperary(E3909). A small amount of the samples from this site contained the remains of charredplant remains. Most of the plant remains were associated with Structure A. Radiocarbondates indicated activity that dated from the Middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age.MethodologyThe samples were collected on site as bulk soil and were processed using machine-as-sisted floatation (following guidelines in Pearsall 2000). The floating material (or ‘flot’)from each sample was collected in a stack of geological sieves (the smallest mesh size was250mm). When all the carbonised material was collected the flot was then air-dried inpaper-lined drying trays prior to storage in airtight plastic bags. The processed sampleswere scanned under low-powered magnification (x 10 to x 40) using a binocular micro-scope. Nomenclature and taxonomic order follows Stace (1997).ResultsThe results of preliminary scanning are presented in Table 1 at the end of this report. Atotal of 13 out of the 57 scanned samples. As plant remains were low, all samples withplant remains were selected for further analysis. Identifications are listed in Table 2 at theend of this report. Most of the retrieved plant remains were identified as hazelnut shell fragments. Theseare ubiquitous finds in Irish archaeological deposits. The hazel tree was highly valued inthe past because the nuts were valuable for food and because the tree was suitable for cop-picing and therefore for timber and stakes (Geraghty 1996, 43). The nut shell fragmentscollected from archaeological sites usually represent waste as the shell fragments were castaside after the nut kernel was consumed (Monk 2000, 75). The remaining plant remains were identified as hulled barley and some indeterminatetypes of cereals. The recovery of hulled barley from Middle to Late Bronze Age sites isrelatively common across N7 Castletown to Nenagh sites, for example barley was recov-ered from Bronze Age and prehistoric occupation deposits at Clashnevin 2, Derrybane 2,Drumbaun, Drumroe and Moatquarter. Barley was the most frequent type of cereal atChabcellorsland Site A (McClatchie 2008, 475), Curraghatoor (McClatchie 2007, 64), onsites along the route of the N8 Cashel to Mitchelstown (Halwas 2009, 265) in Co. Tip-perary and from sites along the route of the gas pipeline to the west (Johnston 2007, 70).However, in general the plant remains from Castleroan were only found in quite smallamounts and it is difficult to generalise about what types of plants were most importantin the Bronze Age economy based on such a small assemblage of charred remains. 75
  • 86. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Contexts The plant remains from Castleroan were taken from pit (C.8, C.82, C.100, C.170, C.189, C.191, C.280 and C.386), post-holes (C.227, C.328, C.350 and C.401) and a slot trench (C.351). Almost all of these contained the remains of hazelnut shell fragments, apart from the deposit from post-hole (C.328). This suggests that hearth waste was widely, albeit thinly, dispersed across the site. The cereal were recovered from this site indicate that hulled barley and indeterminate cereals were found from pit C.386, associated with Struc- ture A, indeterminate cereals were also found from a post-hole associated with Structure B, and hulled barley and indeterminate cereals were also found in the isolated pits C.100 and C.8. The limited recovery of charred plant remains from Bronze Age house sites is quite common, particularly along the route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh road scheme. Similar small assemblages have also been recovered from Moatquarter and Drumroe. The small quantities of plant remains from Castleroan probably represent piecemeal and small-scale charring during cooking and domestic activity.76
  • 87. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/ReferenceGeraghty, S. 1996 Viking Dublin: Botanical Evidence from Fishamble Street. Medieval Dublin Excavations 1962-81 Series C, vol. 2 Dublin: Royal Irish Academy.Halwas, S. 2009 Macro-plant remains, pp. 262–275 in McQuade, M., Molloy, B. and Moriarty, C. In the Shadow of the Galtees. Dublin, National Roads Authority.Johnston, P. 2007 Analysis of carbonised plant remains, pp. 70–79 in Grogan, E., O’Donnell and Johnston, P. The Bronze Age Landscapes of the Pipeline to the West. Dublin, Wordwell.McClatchie, M. 2008 Plant remains from Site A, pp. 473 – 478 in Doody, M. The Ballyhoura Hills Project. Dublin, Discovery Programme Monograph No.7.McClatchie, M. 2007 The plant remains, pp. 62–67 in Doody, M. Excavations at Curraghatoor, Co. Tipperary. Cork, UCC Department of Archaeology Archaeological Monograph 2007.Monk, M. 2000 ‘Seeds and soils of discontent: an environmental archaeological contribution to the nature of the Early Neolithic,’ 67–87 in Desmond, A., Johnson, G., McCarthy, M., Sheehan, J. and Shee Twohig, E. (eds) New Agendas in Irish Prehistory. Bray, Wordwell.Pearsall, D. 2000 Paleoethnobotany: a Handbook of Procedures. New York, Academic Press.Stace, C.A. 1997 (second edition) New Flora in the British Isles, Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. 77
  • 88. issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 arChaeologiCal exCavation report Table 1: Scanned samples from Castleroan 1 Sample Context Seeds 1 3 Absent 2 11 Absent 4 16 Absent 13 34 Low 14 33 Absent 17 38 Absent 20 39 Absent 21 40 Absent 25 59 Absent 26 42 Absent 33 68 Absent 38 80 Absent 40 73 Absent 41 84 Absent 42 83 Low 46 97 Absent 47 86 Absent 48 92 Low 60 121 Absent 65 134 Absent 72 153 Absent 73 145 Absent 74 143 Absent 77 157 Absent 80 166 Absent 82 169 Low 83 173 Absent 85 176 Absent 87 179 Absent 89 185 Absent 90 181 Low 92 186 Low 94 196 Absent 100 200 Absent 101 208 Absent 106 217 Low 113 237 Absent 128 268 Absent 137 308 Absent 139 347 Absent 143 312 Absent 147 302 Low 152 310 Absent 157 340 Low 160 337 Low 162 314 Absent 164 360 Absent 168 364 Absent 171 362 Absent78
  • 89. Castleroan-e3909 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3909-castleroan-co-offaly/Sample Context Seeds172 355 Absent174 387 Low179 391 Low181 389 Absent182 385 Absent186 400 Low190 409 Absent193 416 Absent 79
  • 90. 80 Table 2: Identified plant remains from Castleroan, Co� Tipperary (E3909) Context type pit pit pit pit pit pit post- pit post- post- pit Slot post- hole hole hole trench hole Cut 8 82 100 170 189 191 227 280 328 350 386 351 401 Context 34 83 92 169 181 186 217 302 340 337 387 391 400 Sample 13 42 48 82 90 92 106 147 157 160 174 179 186 Hazelnut shell fragments (Corylus avellana L.) 1 1 1 47 2 8 2 7 1 12 1 1 issUe 11: eaChtra JoUrnal - issn 2009-2237 Hulled barley grains (Hordeum vulgare L.) 1 1 Barley/Wheat (Hordeum/Triticum) grain 1 Indeterminate cereal grains (Ceralia) 1 1 Weed seeds 1 Possible weed seed 1 arChaeologiCal exCavation report