Archaeological Report - Drumroe, Co. Offaly (Ireland)

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The excavated remains at Drumroe comprised a Bronze Age house, a group of pits and a number of field boundaries. The area of excavation measured 35 m north-south by 110 m east-west. The Bronze Age house was located at the eastern end of the site. The house measured 7 m in diameter. It was defined by two incomplete rings of post-holes and slot trenches, the inner ring was concentric with the outer. No trace of the rear of the structure survived. The porch measured c. 1 m in width by 1.7 m in length and faced directly east. A widely dispersed group of sixteen pits and field boundaries were recorded in the western portion of the site. The boundaries were of relict field systems. At least three phases of ditches were recorded and a broad typology of ditches can be associated with the three phases.

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Archaeological Report - Drumroe, Co. Offaly (Ireland)

  1. 1. Eachtra JournalIssue 11 [ISSN 2009-2237] Archaeological Excavation Report E3773 - Drumroe, Co. OffalyLate Bronze Age structure, Iron Age pits and late medieval field boundaries
  2. 2. EACHTRAArchaeological Projects Archaeological Excavation Report Drumroe Co Offaly Late Bronze Age structure, Iron Age pits and late medieval field boundaries Date: July 2011 Client: Laois County Council and National Roads Authority Project: N7 Castletown to Nenagh (Contract 1) E No: E3773Excavation Director: John Tierney Written by: Enda OMahony and John Tierney
  3. 3. Archaeological Excavation Report Drumroe Co Offaly Excavation Director John Tierney Written By Enda OMahony and John Tierney 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. 4. © Eachtra Archaeological Projects 2011 The Forge, Innishannon, Co Cork Set in 12pt Garamond Printed in Ireland
  5. 5. Table of Contents Summary���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������iii Acknowledgements�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� iv1 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)�������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 7 �5 Site location and Topography ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 76 Excavation methodology ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 107 Excavation results ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 118 Discussion �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 269 References �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 31Appendix 1 Stratigraphic Index �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 33Appendix 2 Site Matrix �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������34Appendix 3 Groups and subgroups ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 37 �Appendix 4 Lithics report �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 43Appendix 5 Animal bone report ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 45Appendix 6 Plant remains report������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������46Appendix 7 Geophysics report ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������50 i
  6. 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 OF47 showing the location of Drumroe� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 8 Figure 4: Location and extent of Drumroe E3773 on the N7 Castletown to Nenagh� ������������������������� 9 Figure 5: Post excavation plan of Drumroe� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 12 � Figure 6: Post-excavation plan of Structure A at Drumroe� ������������������������������������������������������������������������ 13 � Figure 7: Section and profile plans of hearth and post-hole C�46 and C�66 and post-holes C�150 and C�171 associated with Structure A� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 16 Figure 8: Section and profile plans of pits C�17, C�21 and C�134 at Drumroe� ���������������������������������������� 18 Figure 9: Section and profile plans of ditches C�4 and C�41, ditch C�53 and ditches C�144 and C�50 at Drumroe� ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������20 Figure 10: Map of the geophysical data south of the site at Drumroe� �����������������������������������������������������25 Figure 11: Post-excavation plans of eight of the Bronze Age houses on the N7 Castletown to Nenagh� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������27 List of Plates Plate 1: Aerial view of Drumroe from east� ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 11 Plate 2: Post excavation of Structure A at Drumroe looking west� �������������������������������������������������������� 14 Plate 3: Post excavation of Structure looking east, hearth C�46 in foreground at Drumroe� ������� 17 Plate 4: Post-excavation of pit C�21 in Drumroe ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 17 Plate 5: Post-excavation of pit C�134 in Drumroe� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 19 Plate 6: Section of ditches C�4 and C�41 from south at Drumroe� ����������������������������������������������������������21 Plate 7: Section of the ditch C�53 looking east� ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������21 Plate 8: Section of the ditch C�5 looking west� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������22 � Plate 9: Convex End Scraper (E3773:1:2) ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������23 List of Tables Table 1: Dimensions of features associated with Structure A ������������������������������������������������������������������ 14 Table 2 Dimensions of the ditches within the area of excavation ���������������������������������������������������������22 Table 3: Radiocarbon dates from Drumroe ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������24 Table 4: Radiocarbon dates for Bronze Age structures on the route of the N7� ���������������������������������28ii
  7. 7. Drumroe-e3773 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-co-offaly/SummaryThe excavated remains at Drumroe comprised a Bronze Age house, a group of pits anda number of field boundaries. The area of excavation measured 35 m north-south by 110m east-west. The Bronze Age house was located at the eastern end of the site. The housemeasured 7 m in diameter. It was defined by two incomplete rings of post-holes and slottrenches, the inner ring was concentric with the outer. No trace of the rear of the struc-ture survived. The porch measured c. 1 m in width by 1.7 m in length and faced directlyeast. A widely dispersed group of sixteen pits and field boundaries were recorded in thewestern portion of the site. The boundaries were of relict field systems. At least threephases of ditches were recorded and a broad typology of ditches can be associated withthe three phases.Road project name N7 Castletown to NenaghSite name DrumroeE no. E3773Site director John TierneyTownland DrumroeParish CastletownelyCounty OffalyBarony ClonliskOS Map Sheet No. OF47National Grid Reference 205195 / 181703Elevation 155m O.D. iii
  8. 8. 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 Sen- ior Executive Engineer was Joseph Kelly and Kildare County Council Senior Engineer was John Coppinger. The senior archaeologist was John Tierney and the post-excavation manager was Jacinta Kiely. Illustrations are by Maurizio Toscano, photographs by John Sunderland and Eagle Photography and aerial photography by StudioLab. Specialist anal- ysis was carried out by James Bonsall (Earthsound Archaeological Geophysics), Mary Dillon, Penny Johnston, Margaret McCarthy, Farina Sternke and the 14 Chrono Centre at Queen’s University Belfast.iv
  9. 9. Drumroe-e3773 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-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 Heri-tage and Local Government (DoEHLG) in consultation with the National Museum ofIreland. The principal aim of this phase of the project was to test for any previously un-known 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
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. Drumroe-e3773 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-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
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. 190400 196200 202000 207800 Drumroe-e3773 186400 186400 Drumroe 1 Castleroan 1 E 3909 Busherstown 1 E 3661 Loughan 1 Greenhills 3 E 4000 E 3658 Moneygall 2 Culleenwaine 1 E 3635 E 3741 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/e3773-drumroe-co-offaly/5
  14. 14. iSSue 11: eachtra Journal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaeological excavation report Two new fulachta fiadh or burnt mounds were recorded at Clashnevin 1 E3586, Cull- enwaine 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 Cas- tleroan 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) Up to 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
  15. 15. Drumroe-e3773 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-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.5 Site location and TopographyThe site at Drumroe 1 was located in the northern portion of the townland (Figure 4).Drumroe townland ranges in height from 136m O.D. to 200m O.D., slopes to the north-east and contains 296 acres of land. The townland name most likely refers to the “RedHill” derived from Drum meaning “hill/ridge” and Roe meaning “Red”. The townland isenclosed by a local tertiary road to the north which facilities a journey between Money-gall and Moatquater. The townland boundary to the east comprised a small stream. Thesouthern and western townland boundaries are field boundaries. The southern, western,and eastern boundaries are also the county boundary between Offaly and TipperaryNorth Riding. In the north eastern corner of the townland there are the remains of aChurch and a Graveyard (OF047-009 and OF047-009001). The townland and the sur-rounding landscape is undulating with both tillage and pastoral agricultural being thepredominant land use. The field boundaries show no significant alterations since the mid-19th century. There is a very gentle gradient in the area of the excavation which slopedfrom south to north. The moated site at Busherstown E3661 was located c. 400m to thewest and downslope of Drumroe. 7
  16. 16. 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 OF47 showing the location of Drumroe� archaeological excavation report
  17. 17. 204840 205210 205580 Drumroe-e3773 K ee 181932 181932 loge St BUSHERSTOWN 14 60 ream 0 14 50 0 144 135 00 00 136 00 137 0 0 143 00 181702 181702 138 0 0 142 00 139 00 140 00 141 00 DRUMROE 181472 181472 Drumroe 1 (E3773) 0 100 200 Metres ± 204840 205210 205580 Figure 4: Location and extent of Drumroe E3773 on the N7 Castletown to Nenagh� http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-co-offaly/9
  18. 18. iSSue 11: eachtra Journal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaeological excavation report 6 Excavation methodology The site was mechanically stripped of topsoil under strict archaeological supervision. Stripping was done with a tracked machine with a flat toothless bucket. Topsoil stripping commenced in the areas of identified archaeology and continued radially outward until the limit of the road take was reached or until the limit of the archaeological remains was fully defined. Two areas were stripped systemically. The area stripped measured ap- proximately 3850sq metres. A grid was set up in the excavation areas and all archaeological features were sufficiently cleaned, recorded and excavated so as to enable an accurate and meaningful record of the site to be preserved. The excavation, environmental sampling, site photographs, site drawings, find care and retrieval, on-site recording and site archive was as per the Procedures for Archaeological works as attached to the licence method statements for excavation licences. The site was excavated from the 17th November 2007 to the 8th December 2007. The crew comprised one director, two supervisors and 8 site assistants. Only areas within the LMA (lands made available) were resolved. 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 and sub-groups text (Appendix 2). The context register maybe viewed in the EAPOD (Eachtra Archaeological Projects office database) in the accompanying CD.10
  19. 19. Drumroe-e3773 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-co-offaly/Plate 1: Aerial view of Drumroe from east�7 Excavation resultsA Bronze Age structure, a cluster of pits and medieval ditches were excavated at Drumroe1 (Figure 5 and Plate 1).Habitation AreaThe remnants of a house, Structure A, were identified in the eastern portion of the site.The structure was defined by an arc of posts, a porch and two slot trenches. Only the east-ern portion or front of the structure survived. The reason for this is unclear. The groundsurface was level, the topsoil was a similar depth across the site and the subsoil showedno signs of significant alterations from activities such as deep ploughing, furrows or landreclamation. The rear of the structure may not have survived if the foundations had notpierced the subsoil, the basic elements of the structure may have been only been driveninto the topsoil.Structure AStructure A was located on the eastern edge of the site (Figure 6 and Plate 2). It was de-fined by two incomplete rings of post-holes and slot trenches, the inner ring was concen-tric with the outer. No trace of the rear (western and northern sections) of the structure 11
  20. 20. 205200 20524012 ± 140 181700 181700 82 134 81 105 133 iSSue 11: eachtra Journal - iSSn 2009-2237 5 50 4 153 41 149 O ) 17 19 159 m O.D. 21 18 53 73 27 52 75 112 63 97 Structure 28 32 3 99 49 181675 181675 113 144 0 25 m 205200 205240 Figure 5: Post excavation plan of Drumroe� archaeological excavation report
  21. 21. Drumroe-e3773 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-co-offaly/ ± 112 180 96 123 185 66 200 187 46 198 142 104 48 Structure 128 173 116 161 195 162 172 150 165 193 171 164 204 209 206 208 191 3 188 124 2010 2.5 mFigure 6: Post-excavation plan of Structure A at Drumroe�survived. The estimated internal diameter of the structure measured 7 m and had an in-ternal floor space of c. 38sq m (Area = π x R2). The inner ring comprised six postholes (C.112, C.188, C.171, C.173, C.198, C.123 andC.112). Three of the posts (C.198, C.123 and C.112) were located on the northern circuitof the inner ring and three (C.173, C.171 and C.188) on the southern. The interval be-tween the posts was reasonably regular with the exception of one posthole (C.112) whichwas located on the northern circuit 4.8 m northwest of post C.123. Stake-hole C.200 waslocated adjacent to post C.198 and stake-holes C.172 and C.206 adjacent to post C.171. The outer ring comprised two slot trenches (C.180 and C.201) which measured morethan 2.5 m in length. One post-hole C.209 was located in the slot trench C.180 and twopost-holes (C.185 and C.187) in the slot trench C.201. Each of the slot trenches termi-nated in a post-hole (C.104 and C.116 respectively) which formed the western end of theentrance porch. Post-holes (C.128 and C.150) which were located 1.7 m to the east formed 13
  22. 22. iSSue 11: eachtra Journal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaeological excavation report Plate 2: Post excavation of Structure A at Drumroe looking west� the eastern end of the entrance porch. The porch measured c. 1 m in width by 1.7 m in length and faced directly east. Three other features, a post-hole (C.142) located on the northern side of the porch and two stake-holes (C.193 and C.195) located on the southern side, were associated with the porch. Structure A Context Dimensions (mm) C.188 0.26 X 0.2 X 0.2 C.171 0.3 X 0.26 X 0.3 C.173 0.21 X 0.19 X 0.15 C.198 0.26 X 0.23 X 0.23 C.123 0.17 X 0.15 X 0.30 C.112 0.32 X 0.24 X 0.27 C.185 (in slot trench C.180) 0.08 X 0.06 X 0.12 C.187 (in slot trench C.180) 0.25 X 0.2 X 0.21 C.209 (in slot trench C.201) 0.2 X 0.18 X 0.17 C.104 (Porch) 0.26 X 0.25 X 0.31 C.116 (Porch) 0.29 X 0.2 X 0.4 C.128(Porch) 0.33 X 0.28 X 0.3 C.150(Porch) 0.26 X 0.26 X 0.36 C.180 (slot trench) 2.8 X 0.15 X 0.12 C.201 (slot trench) 2.7 X 0.18 X 0.12 Table 1: Dimensions of features associated with Structure A14
  23. 23. Drumroe-e3773 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-co-offaly/ A post-hole C.124 and a stake-hole C.191 were located on the exterior of the slottrench C.201 2 m south of the porch. A radiocarbon date from the external slot trench (C.201) returned a Late Bronze Agedate of cal BC 899-815 (UB-15085) from alder charcoal.Internal FeaturesTwo post holes (C.48 and C.66) and a pit (C.46) were located in the centre of the struc-ture (Plate 3). One of the postholes C.66 was located on the western edge of the pit andthe other was located 0.5 m to the south. The pit measured 1 m in width by 0.33 m indepth and may have functioned as a hearth. The post-holes may have served a structuralpurpose associated with the roof or they may have been related to domestic activates(Figure 7). A group of six stake-holes (C.161, C.162, C.164, C.165, C.204 and C.206) were lo-cated to the south of the hearth and may have formed, albeit a slightly irregular, internalscreen or division. A small slot trench C.208 was located to the west of the screen. The pit C.46 was sampled and returned an early medieval date of cal AD 681-778(UB–15087).Pits and stakeholesA widely dispersed group of sixteen pits (C.17, C.19, C.21, C.32, C.49, C.52, C.63, C.75,C.81, C.99, C.113, C.133, C.134, C.140, C.149 and C.153) and two stake-holes (C.82 andC.97) were recorded in the western portion of the site (see Figure 5). Small quantities ofcharred plant remains were recovered from six of the pits (C.17, C.21, C.52, C.75, C.81and C.140). A relatively large portion of charred hazelnut shell fragments were retrievedfrom pits C.75 and C.81. Small amounts of cereal grains, oat and barley were also recov-ered. Three animal bones from a large mammal were recovered from pit C.21. Three of the pits (C.49, C.63 and C.75) were located 24 m to the west of the structure.Pit C.75 was the largest of the three pits and the deepest of the pits recorded in the west-ern section of the site. A single stake-hole was located on the south-eastern edge of the pit. Five of the pits (C.19, C.21, C.52, C.149 and C.153) were located in a north-southorientated line, spanning a distance of 12 m. Two of them C.21 and C.52 were located oneither side of the ditch C.18, 4 m to the east of the eastern ditch terminal (Plate 4). A large shallow pit C.134 was located 9 m to the north of the line of five pits on thenorthern edge of the area of excavation (Plate 5). Three other pits (C.32, C.99 and C.113) were located on the southern side of ditchC.18. Two of them were small in size and could have been the base of post-holes. Theywere located within 1.5 m of one another and 7.5 m west of the third pit C.113. Four pits were located at the eastern end of the site. Three (C.81, C.133 and C.140)were located on the western side of the ditch C.5 and one, C.17, on the eastern side. PitC.17 was the largest of the pits recorded in this area (Figure 8). An Iron Age date of cal BC 386–204 was returned from pit C.81 (UB–15044). 15
  24. 24. 16 N7CN Drumroe 1 South facing section of Posthole C.150 N7CN Drumroe 1 Profile of Pit C.44 and C.66 C.148 # C.66 C.46 # iSSue 11: eachtra Journal - iSSn 2009-2237 # # C.150 N7CN Drumroe 1 East facing section of Pit C.46 Drumroe 1 N7CN SW facing section of posthole C.171 # # # # C.47 # # # C.59 # # # # C.62 # # C.61 # C.182 # # C.46 # # # # # 0 1000 mm C.171 0 500 mm Figure 7: Section and profile plans of hearth and post-hole C�46 and C�66 and post-holes C�150 and C�171 associated with Structure A� archaeological excavation report
  25. 25. Drumroe-e3773 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-co-offaly/Plate 3: Post excavation of Structure looking east, hearth C�46 in foreground at Drumroe�Plate 4: Post-excavation of pit C�21 in Drumroe 17
  26. 26. 18 N7CN N7CN Drumroe 1 Drumroe 1 West facing section of Pit C.134 North facing section of C.21 C.3 6 C.38 C.143 # # # # C.37 C.35 C.134 C.21 iSSue 11: eachtra Journal - iSSn 2009-2237 N7CN Drumroe 1 NW facing section of Pit C.17 C.22 C.23 C.17 0 1000 mm Figure 8: Section and profile plans of pits C�17, C�21 and C�134 at Drumroe� archaeological excavation report
  27. 27. Drumroe-e3773 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-co-offaly/Plate 5: Post-excavation of pit C�134 in Drumroe�Field BoundariesThere were no extant field boundaries recorded within the area of excavation but a seriesof back filled field boundaries (C.3, C.4, C.5, C.18/C.53, C.41, C.50, C.105 and C.144)were recorded at Drumroe. The ditches were all broad U-shaped in plan. Four of theditches (C.4, C.41, C.50 and C.144) were orientated north-south. They extended beyondthe area of excavation to the south and north and were recorded in the field to the southby the geophysical survey (see figure 10). Ditch C.144 and C.41 formed two segments ofone ditch, C.41 was the northern section and C.144 the southern section (Plate 6). Therewas a gap of 1 m between the terminals of the two segments of the ditch. The ditch C.144 and C.41 were recut by ditches C.50 and C.4 respectively (Figure9). The two latter ditches were orientated north-south and were located parallel to oneanother. There was a distance of c. 2m between them. A field bank was probably locatedin this intervening space but no trace of the bank was recorded. Ditch C.18 and C.53 were orientated east-west and formed two segments of one ditch(Plate 7). They curved across the site and were not cut in the same straight manner as themodern ditches (C.3 and C.5) on site. They were probably associated with ditches C.41and C.144 as the eastern terminal of ditch C.18 was located between the gap in ditchC.41 and C.144. The western terminal of the ditch C.18 was located 0.7 m from the ter-minal of ditch C.53. This gap was slightly staggered, that is to say that the terminals ofthe two segments extended beyond one another. 19
  28. 28. 20 N7CN N7CN Drumroe 1 Drumroe 1 North facing section of Ditch C.4 and C.41 NE facing section of Ditch C.53 C.15 C.70 # C.42 C.72 # C.16 C.71 C.43 C.4 C.41 C.53 iSSue 11: eachtra Journal - iSSn 2009-2237 N7CN Drumroe 1 North facing section of Ditch C.144 and C.50 C.146 C.145 C.76 C.64 C.147 C.77 C.50 C.144 0 1000 mm Figure 9: Section and profile plans of ditches C�4 and C�41, ditch C�53 and ditches C�144 and C�50 at Drumroe� archaeological excavation report
  29. 29. Drumroe-e3773 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-co-offaly/Plate 6: Section of ditches C�4 and C�41 from south at Drumroe�Plate 7: Section of the ditch C�53 looking east� 21
  30. 30. iSSue 11: eachtra Journal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaeological excavation report Plate 8: Section of the ditch C�5 looking west� An early medieval date of cal AD 897–1017 (UB–15086) was returned from charcoal from a fill of ditch C.18. Two of the ditches (C.3 and C.5) were orientated NE–SW (Plate 8). Ditch C.3 was located at the eastern end of the site and ditch C.5 at the western end, c. 50 m apart. Frag- ments of clay pipe stems were recorded in the ditch fills. Ditch C.5 was marked on the first edition of the Ordnance Survey map OF 47. Context Dimensions (m) (l x w x d) Orientation Associated with Period C.3 23 x 2.4 x 0.6 NE-SW C.5 Modern C.4 29.7 x 1.7 x 0.54 N-S C.41, C.50 and Late C.144 medieval? C.5 43.5 x 1.7 x 0.65 NE-SW C.3 and C.105 Modern C.18 30 x 0.89 x 0.32 E-W C.53 Early medieval? C.41 20 x 0.75 x 0.3 N-S C.4, C.50 and Late C.144 medieval? C.50 32 x 0.97 x 0.34 N-S C.4, C.41 and Late C.144 medieval? C.53 35 x 1.3 x 0.5 E-W C.18 Early medieval? C.105 18 x 0.85 x 0.45 N-S C.5 Modern C.144 6 x 1.01 x 0.47 N-S C.4, C.41 and Late medieval? C.50 Table 2 Dimensions of the ditches within the area of excavation22
  31. 31. Drumroe-e3773 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-co-offaly/Plate 9: Convex End Scraper (E3773:1:2) The earlier ditches were slightly curved in form in comparison to the straighter mod-ern ditches, some of which were parallel to one another with space between for an inter-vening bank.Lithic artefactsThe lithic artefacts were examined by Farina Sternke (Appendix 4). A flint convex endscraper (E3773:1:2) (Plate 9) were recovered from the topsoil. The assemblage dates to theLate Neolithic or Early Bronze Age period.Bone remainsThe bone samples were examined by Margaret McCarty (Appendix 5). Three bone frag-ments were recovered from one of the pits C.21. The bones belonged to a large-sizedanimal such as cattle or horse.Plant remains The plant remains were examined by Penny Johnston (Appendix 6). The cereals fromthis site were identified as barley (3 grains were recovered) and a single grain each ofemmer wheat and oat. Most of the cereals were not identifiable to type because of thepoor state of preservation of the assemblage. Hazelnut shell fragments were found in themajority of the samples, nine samples in total. Tiny amounts of plant remains, mostlyhazelnut shell fragments, and indeterminate cereal grains and one grain of emmer wheat 23
  32. 32. iSSue 11: eachtra Journal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaeological excavation report were recovered from five contexts (C.46, C.104, C.112, C.180 and C.198) associated with the house. This suggests that only small-scale domestic debris was charred at the house. 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 no. Context Material Un-calibrated δ 13 C Calibrated BC 2– Period date sigma dates UB– C.85 Hazel charcoal 2230 +/- 27 -28.1 cal BC 386-343 Late Bronze Age/ 15044 from pit C.81 325-204 Iron age UB– C.202 Alder charcoal 2708 +/ - 18 -25.2 cal BC 899-815 Late Bronze Age 15085 from slot trench C.201 Structure A UB– C.33 Charcoal (Hazel) 1074 +/ - 21 -27.3 cal AD 897-922 Early medieval 15086 from ditch C.18 942-1017 period UB– C.61 Charcoal (Prunus) 1259 +/- 17 -29.3 cal AD 681-778 Early medieval 15087 from pit C.46 period Table 3: Radiocarbon dates from Drumroe Geophysical Testing Some geophysical testing, a magnetic gradiometer survey and a magnetic susceptibil- ity survey, was undertaken by Earthsound Archaeological Geophysics (Appendix 7) at Drumroe. The work was undertaken in the field to the south which bordered the Lands Made Available (Figure 10). A number of ditches were detected across the survey area. Some of the ditches represent a continuation of modern north-south field boundaries. The edge of the probable zone of archaeological activity was also established with the detection of an arcing enclosure ditch, which was broadly aligned east-west. A number of single and interconnecting ditches were also detected which may be archaeological or agricultural in origin.24
  33. 33. 205171 205242 ± Drumroe-e3773 Medieval boundary Post medieval boundary 181680 181680 Structure 181640 181640 Gradiometer interpretation Ditch Plough furrows 0 50 m 205171 205242 Figure 10: Map of the geophysical data south of the site at Drumroe� http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-co-offaly/25
  34. 34. iSSue 11: eachtra Journal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaeological excavation report 8 Discussion Excavations at Drumroe revealed an area of settlement that comprised one structure that was dated to the Later Bronze Age. In addition to the structure, a group of pits and a series of field boundaries were recorded in the area of the excavation. Bronze Age Settlement site The partial remnants of a Late Bronze Age structure were located in the southeastern corner of the site. The structure was defined by two incomplete rings, which constituted about two thirds of the structure, the rear or western section of the structure had not survived. The inner ring comprised six post-holes. The outer ring comprised two slot trenches. A porch formed by four post-holes, two of which were located in the terminals of the slot trenches, faced east and extended beyond the outer ring of the structure. A pit, which was interpreted as a hearth and two associated postholes were located in the interior of the structure. Charcoal from the base of the hearth was dated to the early medieval period. Two scenarios are possible either the hearth was not associated with the structure, despite the apparent central location in the interior of Structure A or there was a problem with the charcoal. There are two main hypotheses relating to the construction of the houses. Firstly, that an internal ring of posts supported the roof and immediately outside this a clay wall was built. No evidence for the clay wall, except for the empty space, survived. Directly outside the clay wall further roof support was offered by external support posts and associated 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 this number (Figure 11). Radiocarbon dates have been obtained for eight of the ten structures on the N7 from the townlands of Clash, Castleroan, Derrybane, Drum- baun, Drumroe and Moatquarter. There is a diversity in house size, internal pattern and construction materials. In Brit- ain 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 examples 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, Structure 1 in Derrybane and two in Drumbaun, excavated on the N7 were constructed along the principle of axial symmetry. This means that house26
  35. 35. Drumroe-e3773 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3773-drumroe-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 11: Post-excavation plans of eight of the Bronze Age houses on the N7 Castletown to Nenagh� 27

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