Eachtra JournalIssue 13                                                  [ISSN 2009-2237]                 Archaeological E...
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EACHTRAArchaeological Projects                          Archaeological Excavation Report                          Busherst...
Archaeological Excavation Report                                          Busherstown                                     ...
© Eachtra Archaeological Projects 2012  The Forge, Innishannon, Co Cork        Set in 12pt Garamond          Printed in Ir...
Table of Contents     Summary���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������...
Radiocarbondates����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������...
List of FiguresFigure	1:	         The	 route	 of	 the	 N7	 Castletown	 to	 Nenagh	 overlain	 on	 the	 Ordnance	 Survey	   ...
List of Plates     Plate	1:	    View	of	Busherstown	from	north�	����������������������������������������������������������...
List of TablesTable	1	    Dimensions	and	orientation	of	17	cereal-drying	kilns��������������������������������������������...
iSSUE 13: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237   archaEological Excavation rEportvi
bUShErStown-E3661                                       http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3661-busherstown-co-offaly/Su...
Acknowledgements       The project was commissioned by Laois County Council and was funded by the Na-       tional Roads A...
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bUShErStown-E3661                                     http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3661-busherstown-co-offaly/    ...
iSSUE 13: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237                                          archaEological Excavation rEport      ...
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iSSUE 13: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237                               archaEological Excavation rEport              Pla...
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
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Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)
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Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)

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Archaeological excavation of the site at Busherstown revealed a complex multi-period site with six phases of activity. In broad outline they confirmed the use of the area from the Early Neolithic period to the present time. The first period of activity was prehistoric in date and comprised a small assemblage of lithics and a circular structure (Structure A) dated on typological grounds to the Bronze Age. The second phase was dated to the early medieval period, when the area was used for cereal processing, as evidenced by the discovery of at least 17 cereal-drying kilns and a further seven possible kilns. The majority of the kilns were located in a line that extended for a distance of 80 m in a NW-SE direction. The firing chambers of the kiln were for the most part located at the NE. A small number of the kilns were partially enclosed (Structures D and E). The third phase of activity was defined by an enclosure (ditches C.68 and 447) which was probably contemporary with the cereal processing. The continuous use of the area of the enclosure in the medieval period was confirmed when certain areas of the site were enclosed through the construction of deep, wide ditches (ditches C.54 and C.63). The ditches (ditches C.227 and C.78) were re-cut in the later medieval period to function as an annexe to a moated site. A substantial ditch, 5.5 m wide by 1.7 m deep, defined the moated site. Only the southern corner of the moated site was located within the road corridor. However, the entire outline can be clearly seen in aerial photographs of the adjoining field to the north-east. Two structures (C and D) were contemporary with the moated site. The post-medieval period was represented by a large number of furrows crossing the site and material which had been dumped into the top fills of the ditches. The site was levelled in the recent past.
Authors: Ewelina Chrobak, Jacinta Kiely and Tori McMorran

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Archaeological Report - Busherstown, Co. Offaly (Ireland)

  1. 1. Eachtra JournalIssue 13 [ISSN 2009-2237] Archaeological Excavation Report E3661 - Busherstown, Co. Offaly Early medieval kilns and medieval moated site with associated annexe
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  3. 3. EACHTRAArchaeological Projects Archaeological Excavation Report Busherstown Co. Offaly Early medieval kilns and medieval moated site with associated annexe. Date: February 2012 Client: Laois County Council and National Roads Authority Project: N7 Castletown to Nenagh (Contract 1) E No: E3661Excavation Director: Tori McMorran Written by: Ewelina Chrobak, Jacinta Kiely and Tori McMorran
  4. 4. Archaeological Excavation Report Busherstown Co. Offaly Excavation Director Tori McMorran Written By Ewelina Chrobak, Jacinta Kiely and Tori McMorran 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
  5. 5. © Eachtra Archaeological Projects 2012 The Forge, Innishannon, Co Cork Set in 12pt Garamond Printed in Ireland
  6. 6. Table of Contents Summary������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� vii Acknowledgements������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������viii1 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)����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 5 Earlymedievalperiod(c�AD400to1100)����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 5 Highandlatermedievalperiods(c�AD1100to1650)���������������������������������������������������������������� 7 Post-medievalperiod(c�1650tothepresent)�������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 7 �5 Site location and Topography ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 76 Archaeological and Historical Setting ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� 107 Excavation methodology ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 118 Excavation results ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 15 Phase1Prehistoric�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������16 Phase2Earlymedievalactivity��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������18 Phase3High/Latemedieval(firstphase)���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 48 Phase4High/Latemedieval(secondphase)���������������������������������������������������������������������������������53 Phase5Moatedsite��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������55 Phase6Modernactivity�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������599 Specialist Results ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������64 Plantremains��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 64 � Lithicartefacts������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 64 Metalartefacts�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������65 Animalbone�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������65 � Humanremains�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������65 Archaeometallurgy��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 66 Geophysical������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 66 Quernstones��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 66 Charcoal������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 66 i
  7. 7. Radiocarbondates���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 66 10 Conclusion �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������68 NeolithicandBronzeAgeactivity������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 68 Earlymedievalactivity���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������69 Earlymedievalenclosure���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������70 Highmedievalperiod����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������72 Moatedsite��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������73 11 References �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 76 Appendix 1 Stratigraphic Index �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 79 Appendix 2 Site Matrix �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������80 Appendix 3 Groups and Subgroups ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 87 Appendix 4 Plant Remains ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������154 Appendix 5 Lithics Finds Report �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������172 Appendix 6 Metal Artefacts ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������179 Appendix 7 Animal Bone Report ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������182 Appendix 8 Osteological report ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������194 Appendix 9 Metallurgy Report ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������201 Appendix 10 Geophysical Report ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 204 Appendix 11 Quernstone Report ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 219ii
  8. 8. List of FiguresFigure 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� ����������������������������������������������������� 6Figure 3: Portion of the Ist edition Ordnance Survey Map OF47 showing the location of Busherstown� ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 8Figure 4: Topography of the area around Busherstown� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 9Figure 5: Location and extent of Busherstown E3661 on the N7 Castletown to Nenagh� Note the location of the stream� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 12 �Figure 6: Post excavation plan of Busherstown� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 14Figure 7: Post-excavation plan of Structure A at Busherstown� ���������������������������������������������������������������� 16Figure 8: Post-excavation plan of ditches C�447 and C�68 at Busherstown������������������������������������������� 17Figure 9: Section plans of ditches C�68, C�63, C�447 and C�78/127 at Busherstown� ������������������������� 19Figure 10: Post-excavation plan of kilns, location of firing bowl of kilns illustrated, at Busherstown� ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������21Figure 11: Section plan of kilns C�97 and C�74 at Busherstown� ������������������������������������������������������������������27Figure 12: Plan of kilns C�90 and C�97 and associated shelter belt at Busherstown� ���������������������������29Figure 13: Post-excavation plan of kilns located in the northern part of the site at Busherstown� 30Figure 14: Section plan of kiln C�355 and pit C�1043 at Busherstown� ������������������������������������������������������40Figure 15: Post-excavation plan of Buildings C and D within moated site at Busherstown� ������������40Figure 16: Post-excavation plan of Structures E and F at Busherstown� ��������������������������������������������������46Figure 17: Section plans of ditches C�246/C�273 and C�277 and ditches C�54 and C�277 at Busherstown� ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������49Figure 18: Post-excavation plan of the medieval enclosure and moated site at Busherstown� ������52Figure 19: Post-excavation plan of the moated site at Busherstown� �������������������������������������������������������54Figure 20: Section plans of the ditch C�44 of the moated site� ��������������������������������������������������������������������57Figure 21: Section plan of ditch C�8 and C�19 at Busherstown� ��������������������������������������������������������������������58Figure 22: Plan of geophysical testing at Busherstown (Earthsound)� ������������������������������������������������������60Figure 23: Aerial photography of Busherstown showing the extent of moated site in the adjoining field outside the road corridor� ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 61 iii
  9. 9. List of Plates Plate 1: View of Busherstown from north� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 13 Plate 2: Flint scraper E3661:1:5 from Busherstown� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 15 Plate 3: Building A from south-west at Busherstown� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 18 Plate 4: Quern stone E3661:71:1 from Busherstown� �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������20 Plate 5: Kiln C�74 (in foreground) and kiln C�30 from NW at Busherstown� ����������������������������������������23 Plate 6: Kiln C�74 from NE at Busherstown� ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������24 � Plate 7: Mid-excavation view of kiln C�97 in foreground and kiln C�90 in background at Busherstown� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������26 Plate 8: Stone lining in kiln C�90 from east at Busherstown� ��������������������������������������������������������������������33 Plate 9: Bone pin E3661:735:1 from Busherstown� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������34 Plate 10: Mid-excavation view of kiln C�872 at Busherstown� ��������������������������������������������������������������������36 Plate 11: Kiln 989 in ditch C�54 at Busherstown� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������37 Plate 12: View of Building B and kiln C�490 in background from north at Busherstown� ����������������43 Plate 13: View of interior of moated site and ditch C�44 at Busherstown� ��������������������������������������������44 Plate 14: View of Structure E and kilns C�30 and C�74 from north-east at Busherstown� �����������������47 Plate 15: SE facing section of enclosure ditches C�54, C�277 and C�447 at Busherstown�����������������50 Plate 16: View of mid excavation of ditch C�68 from south, excavated ditches C�54 (in foreground) and C�78 (in middle ground) and kiln 189��������������������������������������������������������������51 Plate 17: Mid-excavation view of ditch C�44 of moated site at Busherstown� �������������������������������������56 Plate 18: View of south-eastern corner of moated site, Structure D, and ditches C�8 (left) and C�68 (right) in middle background at Busherstown� �����������������������������������������������������������59 Plate 19: Edward 1 long penny E3661:3:1 from Busherstown� �������������������������������������������������������������������62iv
  10. 10. List of TablesTable 1 Dimensions and orientation of 17 cereal-drying kilns����������������������������������������������������������������24Table 2 Dimensions and orientation of 7 truncated cereal-drying kilns� �����������������������������������39Table 3 Number and date of buildings located at Busherstown ����������������������������������������������������������42Table 4 Dimensions of the slot trenches associated with Structure D �������������������������������������������������44Table 5 Dimensions of the four large pits ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������45Table 6 Phase of ditches associated with enclosure and annexe of moated site �����������������������������48Table 7 Radiocarbon dates from Busherstown ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������67Table 8: Relative abundance of the main domestic animals ��������������������������������������������������������������������73 v
  11. 11. iSSUE 13: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEological Excavation rEportvi
  12. 12. bUShErStown-E3661 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3661-busherstown-co-offaly/SummaryArchaeological excavation of the site at Busherstown revealed a complex multi-period sitewith six phases of activity. In broad outline they confirmed the use of the area from theEarly Neolithic period to the present time. The first period of activity was prehistoric indate and comprised a small assemblage of lithics and a circular structure (Structure A)dated on typological grounds to the Bronze Age. The second phase was dated to the earlymedieval period, when the area was used for cereal processing, as evidenced by the discov-ery of at least 17 cereal-drying kilns and a further seven possible kilns. The majority of thekilns were located in a line that extended for a distance of 80 m in a NW-SE direction.The firing chambers of the kiln were for the most part located at the NE. A small numberof the kilns were partially enclosed (Structures D and E). The third phase of activity wasdefined by an enclosure (ditches C.68 and 447) which was probably contemporary withthe cereal processing. The continuous use of the area of the enclosure in the medieval pe-riod was confirmed when certain areas of the site were enclosed through the constructionof deep, wide ditches (ditches C.54 and C.63). The ditches (ditches C.227 and C.78) werere-cut in the later medieval period to function as an annexe to a moated site. A substan-tial ditch, 5.5 m wide by 1.7 m deep, defined the moated site. Only the southern cornerof the moated site was located within the road corridor. However, the entire outline canbe clearly seen in aerial photographs of the adjoining field to the north-east. Two struc-tures (C and D) were contemporary with the moated site. The post-medieval period wasrepresented by a large number of furrows crossing the site and material which had beendumped into the top fills of the ditches. The site was levelled in the recent past.Road project name N7 Castletown to NenaghSite name BusherstownE no. E3661Site director Tory Mc MorranTownland BusherstownParish CastletownelyCounty OffalyBarony ClonliskOS Map Sheet No. Offaly 47National Grid Reference 20479 / 181806Elevation 145 m OD vii
  13. 13. 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 Anne Carey, Mary Dillon, Earthsound Geophysics, Jonny Geber, Penny Johnston, Margaret McCarthy, Órla Scully, Farina Sternke, Tim Young and the 14 Chrono Centre at Queen’s University Belfast.viii
  14. 14. bUShErStown-E3661 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3661-busherstown-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
  15. 15. 182550 198900 2152502 193300 193300 ! ( Nenagh iSSUE 13: 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
  16. 16. bUShErStown-E3661 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3661-busherstown-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
  17. 17. iSSUE 13: 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
  18. 18. bUShErStown-E3661 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3661-busherstown-co-offaly/ 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 andE3658. Evidence of nine roundhouses or partial round structures were recorded; two atCastleroan 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, believedto have marked tribal boundaries, and hillforts are two of the most visible monumentsof the period. Ten percent of sites excavated on NRA road schemes in recent years haveproduced Iron Age dates. The dates have led to the identification of 30 new Iron Age sitesin Munster from road schemes in counties Cork, Limerick and Tipperary (McLaughlin2008, 51). These include a ditched enclosure in Ballywilliam and a wooden trackway inAnnaholty 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 DrumroeE3773 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. Thecharacteristic monument type of the period is the ringfort. Ringforts are the most nu-merous archaeological monument found in Ireland, with estimates of between 30,000and 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 hasa narrow date range during the early medieval period between the 7th and 9th centuriesAD. Although there are some very elaborate examples of ringforts, they often take theform 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 religiouscentres are at the core of some of the towns and villages. Roscrea, for example, was chosenby St Cronan as a location for his monastery in the seventh century as it was located atthe crossroads on the Slighe Dála, an important roadway in early medieval times (NIAH2006, 4-8). Early medieval activity was recorded at five sites on the route of the N7 Castletownto Nenagh (Contract 1). A series of cereal-drying kilns were recorded at BusherstownE3661. A denuded ringfort (OF046-013) was excavated at Clynoe 2 E3774. An area ofiron-working and associated pits was recorded at Drumbaun E3912. Iron working activ-ity, cereal-drying kilns and settlement activity was recorded at Park 1 E3659. A group ofpits and associated ditch were recorded at Drumroe E3773. 5
  19. 19. 190400 196200 202000 2078006 Busherstown 1 186400 186400 Castleroan 1 E 3909 Busherstown 1 E 3661 Loughan 1 iSSUE 13: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 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� archaEological Excavation rEport
  20. 20. bUShErStown-E3661 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3661-busherstown-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. Aseries of ditches and settlement 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 is located in the townland of Busherstown, in the Parish of Castletownely andthe barony of Clonlisk. It is located to the south of the present N7 and at the time of ex-cavation accessed by a small by-road linking the N7 at Moneygall to the third class roadlinking the village of Dunkerrin and the town of Templemore, east of Clonakenny andsouth of Quinlisk’s Cross roads. The site at Busherstown was situated on and around the summit of a low hill on thenorthern edge of the rolling uplands of North Tipperary and South Offaly (Figure 4). Thesite is surrounded on three sides by higher ground being open to the North with excellentviews across the vast expanse of the Offaly bogs and lowlands. The Slieve Bloom moun-tains are visible to the North East. To the west the ground rises gently and levels out, where the prehistoric settlementevidence at Drumbaun 2 E3912 was located, before dropping sharply down to the presentN7 on the north-east side of the village of Moneygall. To the north-west a hill rises steeplyto approximately 175m OD. The lower slopes of this hill are containing a number of ring-forts and enclosures. To the east the landscape rises and gently undulates through thetownlands of Moatquater and Castleroan before rising steeply in the townland of Rathna-veoge Lower. To the south-east, south and south-west the ground rises steeply throughdensely wooded areas through the townland of Durmroe to the source of the Suir Riverjust below the summit (460m OD) of the north end of the Devilsbit Mountain Range. 7
  21. 21. 204713 2057138 Castleroan LOUGHAN ea m Loughan S tr 182716 182716 e lo g K ee CASTLEROAN iSSUE 13: 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 Busherstown� archaEological Excavation rEport
  22. 22. Loughan 1 204100 205400 110 s na ¢ ro B ittl e 13 Motte 0 rL bUShErStown-E3661 15 180 0 Rive 160 182250 182250 140 170 120 160 170 150 15 0 Busherstown 1 150 Drumbaun 2 Drumroe 1 Ke e l og e Str 16 0 eam 181500 181500 17 0 130 140 160 0 16 180 19 0 0 1 Km 204100 205400 Figure 4: Topography of the area around Busherstown� http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3661-busherstown-co-offaly/9
  23. 23. iSSUE 13: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEological Excavation rEport The site itself is located at around 140m OD overlooking a wide area of marshy ground to the north-east and east. The ground drops sharply from the northern edge of the road corridor to a small but fast flowing stream now forming part of a field boundary. The post-medieval landscape is the most clearly visible on the landscape today. The rooftop of Busherstown House can be seen nestled into a sheltered part of the valley surrounded by mature woodland. The stone walled deerpark encloses land adjacent to the house and rising up the slope to the east. A linear area of dense woodland bounds the deerpark to the west, named as ‘the shrubbery’ on older maps. Running NE-SW along a current field boundary is a line of wood growth named ‘Beech Grove’, leading into a larger area of Lawn Wood. 6 Archaeological and Historical Setting The following text on the history of Busherstown was written by Paul MacCotter (2011): The Busherstown of 1641 bears only a loose resemblance to the area of the modern townland. In 1641 there was the single townland of Busherstown Drumroe and the second townland of Castletown, the greater portions of which together make up the modern townland. The original Busherstown lay in the west of this area, Castletown in the east. Most of modern Drumroe lay in Castletown, with only that part west of the road lying in Busherstown, hence this western area must be the original Drumroe. The church ruin in modern Drumroe then lay in Castletown, and this is the old parish church of Castletownely, earlier Castle Philip. The newly excavated moated site lies in the origi- nal Busherstown. The name Busherstown must derive from an Anglo-Norman family of Bosser (modern Busher), a fairly common Anglo-Norman cognomen-type surname, literally ‘the butcher’, who appear to have left no record beyond the toponym. Later, two O Carroll families are associated with Busherstown and Castletown, those of Clonagan- nagh and Ballybrack, although only the latter occur as planters in 1619, while both still held property here in 1641. The de Barrys of Castle Philip (Moatquarter and Busherstown) were one of the lead- ing Anglo-Norman settler families in the cantred of Elyocarroll before the destruction of its colony at the hands of the O Carroll chieftains during the second quarter of the 14th century. Among a number of fees they possessed here was that of Castle Philip, a name which refers to the motte in Moatquarter. In the 1305 extent we read that Regi- nald de Barry held ‘one theod at Castle Philip in Ossergele’. Here we should certainly read ‘Offergele’, a colonial theod based on the pre-Invasion túath of Uí Fhearghaile. The identification is certain: references to the church of Castle Philip occur in 1300, 1306, 1425 and 1506, and these references indicate that Castle Philip is the parish now known as Castletown Ely, whose ruined church lies in Drumroe. Note that Drumroe church lies adjacent to the motte of Moatquarter, the normal juxtaposition for manor house and manor church at this period, for in most cases parish and manor share the same shape. In this instance both church and motte bear the original name Castle Philip. The church10
  24. 24. bUShErStown-E3661 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3661-busherstown-co-offaly/becomes known as Castletown in 1615 and, eventually, Castletownely. In 17th centuryrecords the name Castletown is also given to the townland in which the church stood,occupying the eastern third of modern Busherstown and most of Drumroe. Therefore,this church is called after a fortification built originally by one Philip (de Barry?) andwhich lay near the church. Yet there is no evidence from any of the topographical sourceswe possess dating from the mid-17th century onwards of any castle in the vicinity of thischurch apart from the nearby motte in Moatquarter. Hence, the inescapable conclusionwe arrive at is that the ‘castle’ in question is this motte. Historical references help us to locate the de Barry theod of Offergele here, whichclearly included Moatquarter, Drumroe and Moneygall. We should expect to find itsshape reflected in that of the parish of Castletownely, but this omits Moatquarter andMoneygall. It has a very different shape in the Down Survey (1656) however, and thisolder extent allows us to add Moatquarter and Moneygall, as well as several other town-lands, including Drumbaun, to the fee of Castle Philip. Given the propensity for civil par-ish boundaries to change over time, a 17th century source is to be greatly preferred over a19th century source. These references allow us to conclude that the motte of Moatquarterwas the site of an early Anglo-Norman manorial caput while the church of Drumroe orCastletownely was its corresponding manor church. Thus both the historical and archae-ological record suggest that this area only became important as the location of an Anglo-Norman manorial caput in the early 13th century. The location of these dual featuresat the centre of an area of significant distribution of late-medieval archaeological sitesconfirms the location of the caput here and its importance. We note especially the largemoated-site at Busherstown. This was clearly the fortified homestead of an importantfree-tenant of the manor of Castle Philip, who was very probably surnamed Busher. Theactual area of the farm attached to the moated site is very probably reflected in the shapeof the 17th century 510-acre townland of Busherstown. Other important sites nearbyinclude a late-medieval settlement in Busherstown, an Anglo-Norman ringwork castlein Lisduff, and a number of possible moated sites in Lisduff and Moatquarter. Again, thearchaeology agrees with the historical record telling of the abandonment of much of thesesettlements as a result of the Gaelic resurgence here, when the O Carrolls destroyed thecolony in Elyocarroll after 1325.7 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 remains wasfully defined. A grid was set up in the excavation area(s) and all archaeological featureswere sufficiently cleaned, recorded and excavated so as to enable an accurate and mean-ingful record of the site to be preserved. The excavation, environmental sampling, site 11
  25. 25. 204400 204750 20510012 182000 182000 BUSHERSTOWN iSSUE 13: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 181800 181800 13400 13500 13300 13600 13200 1370 0 13100 1380 0 13900 14000 14100 181600 181600 DRUMROE DRUMBAUN Busherstown 1 (E3661) 0 100 200 Metres 204400 204750 205100 Figure 5: Location and extent of Busherstown E3661 on the N7 Castletown to Nenagh� Note the location of the stream� archaEological Excavation rEport
  26. 26. bUShErStown-E3661 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3661-busherstown-co-offaly/Plate 1: View of Busherstown from north�photographs, site drawings, find care and retrieval, on-site recording and site archive wasas per the Procedures for Archaeological works as attached to the licence method state-ments for excavation licences. The site was excavated from the 10th September 2007 and the on-site phase of workwas completed on the 8th February 2008. An area approximately 5185m² was initiallyopened. Only areas within the LMA (lands made available) were resolved (Figure 5). Thisarea was cleaned and examined. On the establishment of the nature, extent and distri-bution of the archaeological remains present a further 400m² was opened on the northside of the site. During the length of the excavation the crew comprised one director, twosupervisors and 22 site assistants. The full record of excavated contexts is recorded in the context register and the strati-graphic matrix (Appendix 2). Detailed stratigraphic descriptions are found in the groupsand sub-groups text (Appendix 3). The context register maybe viewed in the EAPOD(Eachtra Archaeological Projects office database) in the accompanying CD. 13
  27. 27. 204720 20478014 Moated Structure C site 181827 181827 Annexe Structure D AD AD 713-888 1292-1394 iSSUE 13: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 Structure B Structure F 145 m O.D. AD 657-769 Structure E AD 658-766 AD 1210-1271 Structure A 181789 181789 AD 1159-1252 Kilns Human skeleton 0 25 m 204720 204780 Figure 6: Post excavation plan of Busherstown� archaEological Excavation rEport
  28. 28. bUShErStown-E3661 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3661-busherstown-co-offaly/ Plate 2: Flint scraper E3661:1:5 from Busherstown�8 Excavation resultsArchaeological excavation of the site at Busherstown revealed a complex multi-period sitewith at least six phases of activity identified (Figure 6). In broad outline they confirmedthe use of the area from the Early Neolithic period to the present time. The earliest phaseof activity was prehistoric in date and comprised a small lithic assemblage and possibly acircular structure. The second and third phases of activity were dated to the early medie-val period. The area was used for cereal processing and was defined by an enclosure. Morethan 20 kilns were recorded and upto ten of these were located in a line that extended fora distance of 80 m in a NW-SE direction. The continuous use of the area in the medievalperiod was confirmed by the next phase of activity (Phase 4) when certain areas of thesite were enclosed through the construction of deep, wide ditches. A subsequent phase ofactivity on the site included the construction of a substantial ditch which enclosed a sub-rectangular moated site (Phase 5). The moated site was only partially located within theroad corridor, but the entire outline can be clearly seen in aerial photographs of the ad-joining field to the north-east (Plate 1). The modern period (Phase 6) was represented bya large number of furrows and attempts to level the site. The upper fill of all the medievalditches was modern in origin as the site had been levelled. 15
  29. 29. iSSUE 13: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEological Excavation rEport ± 214 389 Structure A 1020 427 563 463 454 398 543 430 419 378 411 0 2.5 m Figure 7: Post-excavation plan of Structure A at Busherstown� Phase 1 Prehistoric The prehistoric phase of activity was defined by a small assemblage of lithics dated to the Neolithic Period and a small circular structure dated, on typological grounds, to the Bronze Age. Neolithic The Neolithic assemblage from Busherstown includes a flint blade dated to the first half of the Neolithic period (E366:365:1), three flakes, possibly Middle Neolithic in date (E3661:1:5, E3661:99:1 and E3661:175:1), three retouched artefacts, including one flint scraper (E3661:1:5, Plate 2) and two rubbing stones dated to Late Neolithic/ Early Bronze Age (E3661:777:1 and E3661:796:1). The lithic finds were recovered from residual con- texts, including the topsoil, the fills of ditches C.68, C.44, C.54, kilns C.30, C.491 and C.743A, post-holes/pit C.366, post-hole C.796, slot trench C.392, pit C.669 and furrow C.287. Bronze Age A circular structure, Structure 1, was recorded in the central part of the site (Figure 7, plate 3). It comprised a ring of seven post-holes (C.214, C.378, C.389, C.398, C.411,16
  30. 30. 204720 204780 181827 181827 bUShErStown-E3661 447 622 68 181789 181789 0 25 m 204720 204780 Figure 8: Post-excavation plan of ditches C�447 and C�68 at Busherstown� http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e3661-busherstown-co-offaly/17
  31. 31. iSSUE 13: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEological Excavation rEport Plate 3: Building A from south-west at Busherstown� C.419 and C.1020) and a hearth (C.427) in the interior. The building measured 4.4 m in diameter. The structural post-holes were similar in size, measuring on average 0.24 m by 0.23 m by 0.33 m in depth. All of them had one mid grey brown silty sand fill with occasional inclusions of pebbles and small stones. The distance between the post-holes averaged 1.9 m with the exception of a gap of 2.3 m between two post-holes on the east- ern side, which defined the area of the entrance. A total of five stake-holes (C.563, C.454, C.463, C.430 and C.543) were associated with the hearth, three of them (C.430, C.454 and C.463) cut the hearth and the other two (C.543 and C.563) were placed on the op- posite sides of hearth. The northern edge of this group of features was truncated by the enclosure ditch C.54. Phase 2 Early medieval activity The second phase of activity comprised two ditches which formed three sides of an enclo- sure and a series of cereal-drying kilns. Early medieval ditches Two ditches (C.68 and C.447) (Figure 8) formed three sides of an enclosure which meas- ured at least 30 m north-south by 45 m east-west. The activity was early medieval in date and contemporary with the kilns. No radiocarbon dates were obtained from the ditches but several of the kilns were located close to both sides of the ditches presumably for shel-18

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