Archaeological Report - Gortnahown 1, Co. Cork (Ireland)

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The excavation of the site at Gortnahown 1 comprised two separate areas of excavation.
A group of over 30 pits, post-holes and stake-holes were excavated in Area 1. An Early Bronze Age and an Iron Age date were returned from pits in Area 1. At Area 2 there were 26 cut features, these included six slot trenches, five pits, eight stake-holes and four post-holes, which represented the truncated remains of a Bronze Age house. A saddle quern, a small quantity of charred animal bone and a token deposit of the cremated remains of a juvenile were recovered from the Bronze Age house.

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Archaeological Report - Gortnahown 1, Co. Cork (Ireland)

  1. 1. Eachtra JournalIssue 10 [ISSN 2009-2237] Archaeological Excavation Report E2423 - Gortnahown 1, Co. Cork Prehistoric activity, including a Bronze age structure
  2. 2. EACHTRAArchaeological Projects Archaeological Excavation Report Prehistoric activity, including a Bronze age structure at Gortnahown 1 Co Cork May 2011 Client: Cork County Council and National Roads Authority Project: N8 Fermoy to Mitchelstown E No: E2423Excavation Director: Julianna ODonoghue Written by: Julianna ODonoghue
  3. 3. Archaeological Excavation Report Gortnahown 1 Co Cork Excavation Director Julianna ODonoghue Written By Julianna ODonoghue 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 Printed in Ireland
  5. 5. Table of Contents Summary���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������iii Acknowledgements�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� iv1 Scope of the project �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 12 Route location��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 13 Receiving environment ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 44 Archaeological and historical background ��������������������������������������������������������������������� 55 Site Location and Topography �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 96 Excavation methodology ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 97 Excavation results ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 14 Area1��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������14 Area2��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������22 Plantremains����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������23 � Burntbone���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������24 Animalbone����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������24 Stonefind�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������24 � RadiocarbonDating��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������258 Discussion �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 269 References ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������29Appendix 1 Stratigraphic Matrix ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 31Appendix 2 Site matrix �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������46Appendix 3 Groups and subgroups ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������48 �Appendix 4 Finds Register ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 55Appendix 5 Plant Remains Report ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������56Appendix 6 Osteoarchaeological Report �������������������������������������������������������������������������� 57 �Appendix 7 Animal Bone Report ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 63 i
  6. 6. List of Figures Figure 1: The route of the N8 Fermoy to Mitchelstown Bypass overlain on the Ordnance Survey Discovery Series map� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 2 Figure 2: The route of the N8 Fermoy to Mitchelstown Bypass overlain on the first edition Ord- nance Survey map CO010, 011, 019, 020, 027 and 028� ����������������������������������������������������������������� 3 Figure 3: The route of the N8 Fermoy to Mitchelstown Bypass overlain on the RMP map CO010, 011, 019, 020, 027 and 028� The map is based on the second edition Ordnance Survey maps� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 6 Figure 4: Post-excavation plan of Gortnahown 1 Area 1� ����������������������������������������������������������������������������10 � Figure 5: Section of pit C�82 ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 11 � Figure 6: Post-excavation plan of Gortnahown 1 Area 2� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� 13 Figure 7: Post-excavation plan of structure at Gortnahown 1 Area 2� ���������������������������������������������������� 17 Figure 8: Section of foundation trenches C�25, C�65 and C�27� ����������������������������������������������������������������� 18 Figure 9: Section of pit C�28������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������21 Figure 10: Topographical map showing the location of Gortnahown 1 E2423, Gortnahown 2 E2426 and Gortnahown 3 E2477� ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������27 List of Plates Plate 1: View of Gortnahown 1 Area 1, from south-west� ������������������������������������������������������������������������� 12 Plate 2: Post-ex view of pit (C�54) and stake-hole (C�58) Area 1, from east ����������������������������������������� 12 Plate 3: Post-ex view of pit (C�41) Area 1, from south-east� ����������������������������������������������������������������������� 15 Plate 4: Post-excavation view of pit (C�25) Area 1, from south-east� ����������������������������������������������������� 15 Plate 5: Mid-excavation view of hearth (C�80) Area 1, from north-west� ��������������������������������������������� 16 Plate 6: Post-excavation view of pit (C�82) Area 1, from south-west� ���������������������������������������������������� 16 Plate 7: Post-excavation view of pit (C�88) Area 1, from north� ��������������������������������������������������������������� 19 Plate 8: Aerial view of Gortnahown 1 Area 2, from the north-east� ������������������������������������������������������20 Plate 9: Closer aerial view of excavated features in Gortnahown 1 Area 2, from the north-east���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������20 Plate 10: View of saddle quern E2423:36:1 ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������24 List of Tables Table 1 Dimensions of pits in the eastern part of Area 1 �������������������������������������������������������������������������� 14 Table 2 Dimensions of hearth and pits ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 19 Table 3 Dimensions of pits and slot trenches �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������22 Table 4 Dimensions of post-holes in the interior of the structure ���������������������������������������������������������23 Table 5 Radiocarbon dates �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������25 Table 6 Bronze Age houses on the N8 Fermoy Mitchelstown ���������������������������������������������������������������28ii
  7. 7. Gortnahown 1-E2423 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2423-gortnahown1-co-cork/SummaryThe excavation of the site at Gortnahown 1 comprised two separate areas of excavation.A group of over 30 pits, post-holes and stake-holes were excavated in Area 1. An EarlyBronze Age and an Iron Age date were returned from pits in Area 1. At Area 2 there were26 cut features, these included six slot trenches, five pits, eight stake-holes and four post-holes, which represented the truncated remains of a Bronze Age house. A saddle quern, asmall quantity of charred animal bone and a token deposit of the cremated remains of ajuvenile were recovered from the Bronze Age house.Road project name N8 Fermoy to MitchelstownSite name Gortnahown 1Ministerial Order no. A040E no. E2423Site director Julianna O’DonoghueTownland GortnahownParish GlanworthBarony Condons ClangibbonOS Map Sheet No. CO019National Grid Reference 180714 109340 iii
  8. 8. iSSUE 10: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoloGical Excavation rEport Acknowledgements The senior archaeologist was John Tierney and the post-excavation managers were Penny Johnston and Jacinta Kiely. Administration of the project was by Choryna Kiely and Fiona Greene. Illustrations are by Ben Blakeman and Maurizio Toscano. Photographs are by John Sunderland, Hawkeye and Eachtra Archaeological Projects. Specialist analysis was carried out by Mary Dillon, Penny Johnston, Linda Lynch, Margaret McCarthy and the 14 Chrono Centre at Queen’s University Belfast. The project was funded by the Irish Government under the National Development Plan 2007-2013 and was commissioned by Cork County Council on behalf of the National Roads Authority. The project archaeolo- gist was Ken Hanley.iv
  9. 9. Gortnahown 1-E2423 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2423-gortnahown1-co-cork/1 Scope of the projectThe archaeological works associated with the N8 Fermoy to Mitchelstown was carried outon behalf of Cork County Council, National Road Design Office, Richmond, Glanmire,Co. Cork. The project was funded by the Irish Government under the National Devel-opment Plan 2007-2013. The total archaeological cost was administered by the NationalRoads Authority through Cork County Council as part of the Authority’s commitmentto protecting our cultural heritage. The purpose of the archaeological services project wasto conduct archaeological site investigations within the lands made available, to assess thenature and extent of any potential new sites uncovered and to preserve by record thosesites of agreed archaeological significance, as approved by the Department of Environ-ment, Heritage and Local Government in consultation with the National Museum ofIreland. Phase 1 of the project (archaeological testing of the route) was carried out in October2005 under licence 05E1150 issued by Department of the Environment Heritage and Lo-cal Government (DoEHLG). The principal aim of this phase of the project was to test forany previously unknown sites by a programme of centreline and offset testing and to testsites of archaeological potential identified in the EIS and geophysical surveying. Five Cul-tural Heritage Sites were tested under individual excavation licences 05E1122-05E1126. 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 September 2006 to September2007 and excavations were conducted under the management of a Senior Archaeologist.A total of 28 sites were excavated during this phase of works under separate licences issuedby DoEHLG. 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 arisingfrom archaeological works along the route of the new N8 Fermoy to Mitchelstown. Itincluded a proposal for post-excavation and archiving work and a budget for the works.The document detailed the location of the route, the receiving environment, the archaeo-logical and historical background, the scope of the project and the circumstances andscope of fieldwork. The document presented a scheme-wide summary of the archaeologi-cal findings, a research framework within which the findings were dealt with and a pub-lication plan and dissemination strategy for the end results.2 Route locationThe route of the N8 Fermoy to Mitchelstown road is located in the rich pastureland ofNorth Cork (Figures 1 and 2). The project involves the construction of c. 16 km of the N8from Gortore north of Fermoy to Carrigane north-east of Mitchelstown. The N8 Fermoyto Mitchelstown road passes through the townlands of Gortore, Ballynacarriga, Glen-wood, Ballinglanna North, Ballinrush, Caherdrinny, Gortnahown, Ballybeg, Turbeagh, 1
  10. 10. iSSUE 10: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoloGical Excavation rEport N Derry Donegal Antrim Tyrone Leitrim Fermanagh Armagh Down Sligo Cavan Garryleagh 1 Carrigane 1 Louth Mayo Roscommon Longford E2433 E2434 Meath Westmeath Dublin Gal ay w Offaly Kildare Clare Laois Wicklow Kildrum 1 Carlow E3971 Tippeary r Kilkenny Limerick Wexford Kilshanny 3 Kerry N8 Waterford E2432 Cork Kilshanny 2 E2431 Ballynamona 2 Kilshanny 1 E2429 E2430 Ballynamona 1 Glenatluckly 1 E2428 E2427 Gortnahown 2 E2426 Gortnahown 1 Gortnahown 1 Gortnahown 3 E2423 E2423 E2477 Gortnahown 4 E3832 Caherdrinny 3 E2422 Caherdrinny 2 E2421 Caherdrinny 1 E2420 Ballinrush 1 E2419 Ballinglanna North 5 E2418 Ballinglanna North 4 E2417 Ballinglanna North 3 E2416 Ballinglanna North 6 E3972 Ballinglanna North 2 E2415 Ballinglanna North 1 E2414 Ballynacarriga 3 E2412 Ballynacarriga 2 E2413 Ballynacarriga 1 Key E2411 Post Medieval Gortore 1B Early Medieval E2410 Gortore 2 Prehistoric Site E3973 Prehistoric Settlement Site Burnt Mound Non-archaeological 0km 2km Townland BoundariesFigure 1: The route of the N8 Fermoy to Mitchelstown Bypass overlain on the Ordnance Survey Discovery Series map�2
  11. 11. Gortnahown 1-E2423 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2423-gortnahown1-co-cork/ N Derry Donegal Antrim Tyrone Leitrim Fermanagh Armagh Down Sligo Cavan Garryleagh 1 Carrigane 1 Louth Mayo Roscommon Longford E2433 E2434 Meath Westmeath Dublin Gal ay w Offaly Kildare Clare Laois Wicklow Kildrum 1 Carlow E3971 Tippeary r Kilkenny Limerick Wexford Kilshanny 3 Kerry N8 Waterford E2432 Cork Kilshanny 2 E2431 Ballynamona 2 Kilshanny 1 E2429 E2430 Ballynamona 1 Glenatluckly 1 E2428 E2427 Gortnahown 2 E2426 Gortnahown 1 Gortnahown 1 Gortnahown 3 E2423 E2423 E2477 Gortnahown 4 E3832 Caherdrinny 3 E2422 Caherdrinny 2 E2421 Caherdrinny 1 E2420 Ballinrush 1 E2419 Ballinglanna North 5 E2418 Ballinglanna North 4 E2417 Ballinglanna North 3 E2416 Ballinglanna North 6 E3972 Ballinglanna North 2 E2415 Ballinglanna North 1 E2414 Ballynacarriga 3 E2412 Ballynacarriga 2 E2413 Ballynacarriga 1 Key E2411 Post Medieval Gortore 1B Early Medieval E2410 Gortore 2 Prehistoric Site E3973 Prehistoric Settlement Site Burnt Mound Non-archaeological 0km 2km Townland BoundariesFigure 2: The route of the N8 Fermoy to Mitchelstown Bypass overlain on the first edition Ordnance Survey map CO010, 011, 019, 020, 027 and 028� 3
  12. 12. iSSUE 10: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoloGical Excavation rEport Glenatlucky, Ballynamona, Kilshanny, Corracunna, Kildrum, Garryleagh, and Carrig- ane. The townlands are located in the parishes of Kilcrumper, Glanworth and Brigown and Barony of Condons Clangibbon, with the exception of Gortore, and Glenwood, which are located in the Barony of Fermoy. The route begins at the northern end of the Fermoy Bypass at Gortore, c. 2km north of Fermoy, and continues northwards across the River Funshion, and to the west of the Glencorra Stream, a tributary of the Funshion, for 4 km. At Caherdrinny, it crosses over the western extremities of the Kilworth Mountains. From there it descends north-east- wards onto the broad plain that extends east and north-eastwards from Mitchelstown. It crosses the existing N8 at Gortnahown and passes to the east of Mitchelstown, crossing the R665 Mitchelstown-Ballyporeen road and links up with the N8 Cashel Mitchelstown Road at Carrigane south of Kilbeheny and 2 km west of where the borders of the Cork, Limerick and Tipperary counties meet. 3 Receiving environment The topography of East Cork and Waterford consists of east/west valleys separated by in- tervening ridges. The ridges consist of sandstones and mudstones of the Devonian Period (Old Red Sandstone) laid down 355-410 million years ago and the valleys of Carbonifer- ous limestones laid down 290-355 million years ago. The sediments covering many of the rocks are mainly of glacial origin deposited by glacial ice or meltwater (Sleeman et al. 1995, 1). The landscape of the area is dominated by the Galtee Mountains to the north, the Ballyhoura Mountains to the north-west, the Kilworth Mountains to the east and the Nagles to the south. The landscape is drained by the Blackwater River, the Funshion River (which flows into the Blackwater River c. 2 km north-east of Fermoy), and the Glencorra Stream, a tributary of the Funshion River. The largest population centres in the area, Fermoy and Mitchelstown, have developed on the banks of the River Blackwater and Gradoge (a tributary of the Funshion), respectively. The route begins at Gortore, c. 2 km north of Fermoy, at an elevation of c. 40 m OD. At Caherdrinny, it rises to its maximum elevation of c. 180 m OD as it crosses over the western extremities of the Kilworth Mountains, before descending onto the broad plain that that extends east and north-eastwards from Mitchelstown, at an elevation of 100-120 m OD. The soils on the southern portion of the route are characterised by acid brown earths derived from mixed sandstone and limestone glacial till. These soils occur generally in the valleys of Cork and Waterford (Gardiner and Radford 1980, 61), and have a wide use range, being suitable for tillage and grass production. The soils on the western limits of Kilworth Mountains are characterised by brown podzolics derived from sandstone. The soils on the northern portion of the route are characterised by brown podzolics derived from sandstone and shale glacial till. They have a wide range of potential uses and are well4
  13. 13. Gortnahown 1-E2423 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2423-gortnahown1-co-cork/suited to arable and pastoral farming (ibid., 67). Land use along the route was almost en-tirely grassland devoted to intensive dairying and cattle-rearing, with only an occasionaltillage field.4 Archaeological and historical backgroundArchaeological sites of numerous periods were discovered along the route of the newroad (Figure 2). The periods are referred to as follows: Mesolithic (c. 8000 to 4000 BC),Neolithic (c. 4000 to 2000 BC), Chalcolithic (Beaker) (c. 2500-2000 BC), Bronze Age(c. 2000 to 500 BC), and Iron Age (c. 500 BC to AD 500), early medieval period (c. AD500 to 1100), medieval period (c. AD 1100 to 1650), post-medieval period (c. AD 1650 tothe present). A number of Giant Irish Deer (Megaloceros giganteus) skulls, large antlers, antler frag-ments and various long-bones were retrieved from the clay sediments, c. 1.5 m below thepeat stratum at Ballyoran Bog (04E1014) on the route of the N8 Rathcormac Fermoy.A radiocarbon date of cal BC 11201-10962 was returned for the Giant Irish Deer. Gi-ant Irish Deer are extinct but are known to have inhabited Ireland during two separateperiods in the Pleistocene (from 37,000-32,000 BP and 11,750-10,950 BP), with examplesfrom lake deposits beneath peat bogs frequently dating to the period between 11,750 BPand 10,950 BP (Woodman et al. 1997). The Ballyoran Bog examples were found in thistypical location of lacustrine (lake ) sediments beneath peat and they therefore pre-datethe beginnings of bog formation and the first human settlement of the area.Mesolithic (c. 8000 to 4000 BC)The earliest known human settlement in Ireland dates from the Mesolithic period (c.8000 BC - 4000 BC). In Munster, the majority of the evidence (flint scatters) for Meso-lithic occupation has ‘come from the Blackwater valley in Co. Cork’ (Woodman 1989,116). Flint scatters were recorded in the townlands of Kilcummer Lower (CO034-060)on the northern bank of the Blackwater c. 13 km to the south-west of the route and inBallynamona (CO018-099) and Wallstown (CO018-100) on the northern and southernsides of the Awbeg river respectively c. 20 km to the west of the route (Power et al. 2000,2). Mesolithic sites and find spots were recorded on other road schemes in Co. Cork, theseincluded; Rath-healy 3 03E1678 and Curraghprevin 3 03E1138 (N8 Rathcormac FermoyBypass), Ballynacarriaga 1 01E0567 (N25 Youghal Bypass), Ballinaspig More 5 01E0546(N22 Ballincollig Bypass) and Carrigrohane 3 02E0431 (N22 BG). Mesolithic activity was recorded on the route of the N8 Fermoy-Mitchelstown atGortore E2410 and at Caherdrinny 3 E2422 and Mesolithic stone tools were recoveredfrom Ballinglanna North 1 E2414, Ballinglanna North 3 E2416 and Ballinglanna North6 E3972. 5
  14. 14. iSSUE 10: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoloGical Excavation rEport N Derry Donegal Antrim Tyrone Leitrim Fermanagh Armagh Down Sligo Cavan Garryleagh 1 Carrigane 1 Louth Mayo Roscommon Longford E2433 E2434 Meath Westmeath Dublin Gal ay w Offaly Kildare Clare Laois Wicklow Kildrum 1 Carlow RMP Sheet No. CO10 E3971 Tippeary r Kilkenny RMP Sheet No. CO11 Limerick Wexford Kilshanny 3 Kerry N8 Waterford E2432 Cork Kilshanny 2 E2431 Ballynamona 2 Kilshanny 1 E2429 E2430 Ballynamona 1 Glenatluckly 1 E2428 E2427 Gortnahown 2 E2426 Gortnahown 1 Gortnahown 1 Gortnahown 3 E2423 E2423 E2477 Gortnahown 4 E3832 Caherdrinny 3 E2422 Caherdrinny 2 E2421MP Sheet No. CO19 Caherdrinny 1 RMP Sheet No. CO20 E2420 Ballinrush 1 E2419 Ballinglanna North 5 E2418 Ballinglanna North 4 E2417 Ballinglanna North 3 E2416 Ballinglanna North 6 E3972 Ballinglanna North 2 E2415 Ballinglanna North 1 E2414 Ballynacarriga 3 E2412 Ballynacarriga 2 E2413RMP Sheet No. CO27 Ballynacarriga 1 Key E2411 Post Medieval Gortore 1B Early Medieval E2410 Gortore 2 Prehistoric Site E3973 Prehistoric Settlement Site Burnt Mound Non-archaeological 0km 2km RMP Sheet No. CO28 Townland BoundariesFigure 3: The route of the N8 Fermoy to Mitchelstown Bypass overlain on the RMP map CO010, 011, 019, 020, 027 and 028� The map is based on the second edition Ordnance Survey maps�6
  15. 15. Gortnahown 1-E2423 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2423-gortnahown1-co-cork/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 moresedentary in nature. A substantial Neolithic settlement site has been recorded at LoughGur, Co. Limerick. Previously the nearest known Neolithic house was located in Pepper-hill (CO016-226/01) c. 30 km to the northwest of the route. It was recorded during theconstruction of the Bruff-Mallow gas pipeline (Gowen 1988, 44-51). The material culture includes the manufacture of pottery, flint and stone arrowheads,scrapers, axes etc. The range of monuments types includes Megalithic tombs, single burialgraves and stone circles. Megalithic tombs can be sub-divided into court tombs, portaltombs, passage tombs and wedge tombs. There are few wedge tombs or stone circlesknown from north or east Cork. Two of the exceptions are wedge tombs located at Lab-bacallee (CO027-086), which is one of the largest wedge tombs in the country, and atManning (CO027-091) both located c. 4 km west of the N8. Recent infrastructural work on the N8 Rathcormac to Fermoy and the BallincolligBypass have added significantly to the number of Neolithic sites in the county. A Neo-lithic house was excavated at Gortore (E2119), on the N8 Rathcormac to Fermoy roadand another Neolithic house was excavated at Barnagore (02E0384), along the route ofthe Ballincollig Bypass. Both of these Cork examples produced essentially the same ra-diocarbon results (cal BC 3940-3620 at Barnagore and cal BC 3928-3655 from Gortore)and they represent the oldest known houses in the county. A single pit at Fermoy town-land (05E0078), located c. 3 km to the south of Gortore, produced 12 sherds of a MiddleNeolithic Globular bowl, and another site at Curraghprevin (c.12 km south of Gortore)produced Western Neolithic (Early Neolithic) pottery and a radiocarbon date of 3090-2580 BC (Late Neolithic). Rectangular Neolithic houses were recorded on the route of the N8 FM at Gortore1b (E2410), Ballinglanna North 3 (E2416) and Caherdrinny 3 (E2422). A large enclosurecontaining several structures associated with Late Neolithic pottery was excavated at Bal-lynacarriaga 3 (E2412). Activity dating to the Neolithic was also recorded at Ballynamona1 (E2428), Ballynamona 2 (E2429), and Gortnahown 2 (E2426) and Gortore 2 (E3973).Bronze Age (c. 2000 to 500BC)The Bronze Age is characterised by the introduction of metallurgy and an increase insettlement and burial sites. Copper ores were mined and copper, bronze and gold itemsmanufactured. 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 areknown. The most prolific Bronze Age site type is the fulacht fiadh; over 2,000 exampleshave been recorded in County Cork alone. These monuments survive as low mounds ofcharcoal rich black silt, packed with heat-shattered stones, and generally situated close toa water source. Fulachta fiadh are generally classified as ‘cooking places’, whereby stones 7
  16. 16. iSSUE 10: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoloGical Excavation rEport 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 wa- ter. The trough eventually filled with small stones, ash and charcoal that were removed, forming the basis of the familiar mound. The Bronze Age cemetery site at Mitchelstowndown West, c. 16 km to the north of Mitchelstown, contains 53 small barrows. The Discovery Programme Report 1 (Daly and Grogan 1992, 44) selected four of this group for excavation. Until recently, Bronze Age settlement sites were a rarity in North Cork. A Bronze Age occupation site was recorded underlying the medieval ringfort Lisleagh I (CO027-158) c. 2.5 km to the west of the N8 (Power et al. 2000, 210). A house site was excavated at Killydonoghoe on the route of the N8 Glanmire-Watergrasshill Bypass (Sherlock 2003). Three circular houses dating to the Middle Bronze Age were excavated at Mitchelstown (04E1072) on the N8 Mitchelstown Relief Road. A large Bronze Age settlement site con- sisting of three circular enclosures and three circular houses was excavated in 2003 at Ballybrowney (03E1058), on the route of the N8 Rathcormac-Fermoy (Cotter 2005, 40). Bronze Age round houses were recorded on the route of the N8 Fermoy – Mitchel- stown at Kilshanny 1 (E2432) and Ballynamona 2 (E2429). Burnt mounds/fulachta fiadh sites were recorded at Ballinglanna North 1 (E2414), Ballinglanna North 3 (E2416), Ball- inglanna North 6 (E3972), Ballynamona 2 (E2429), Caherdrinny 1 (E2420), Kilshanny 3 (E2432) and Kildrum 1 (E3971). Two ring ditches and associated cists and pits burials were recorded at Ballynacarriga 3 (E2412). Portions of several encrusted urns and food vessels dating to the Early Bronze Age were recorded in association with the burials. A cremation burial and associated Early Bronze Age urn were also recorded at Glenatlucky (E2427). Iron Age (c. 500 BC to AD 500) Until the last decade there was little evidence of a significant Iron Age presence in the Cork region. 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 monu- ments of the period. Recent infrastructural work on the N22 Ballincollig Bypass, the N8 Glanmire Watergrasshill Bypass and the M8 Rathcormac Fermoy has altered the picture considerably. Three separate stretches of a linear boundary, the Claidh Dubh, have been recorded in County Cork. The longest stretch, c. 24 km in length extends from the Nagle Mountains, across the Blackwater valley and into the Ballyhoura Hills. Radiocarbon dating following excavation of a section of it revealed it dated to some time before AD100 (Doody 1995, 23). Two of the four hillfort sites in Cork are located in North Cork (Power et al. 2000, 205). Caherdrinny (CO019:97/0103) is located at the western end of the Kilworth Mountains, c. 700 m to the west of the N8, Corrin (CO035:49/01) is located at the east-8
  17. 17. Gortnahown 1-E2423 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2423-gortnahown1-co-cork/ern end of the Nagle Mountains, overlooking a pass between the Blackwater and Brideriver valleys just south of Fermoy. Iron Age dates were returned from a roundhouse at Ballinaspig More 5 01E0546,a possible bowl furnace at Curraheen 1 01E1209 and the fulacht fiadh at Curraheen 402E1297 on the N22 Ballincollig Bypass; the Iron Age structure at Muckridge 1 01E0429on the N25 Youghal Bypass; iron working sites at Kilrussane 01E0701 and Trabstown01E0501 on the N8 Glanmire Watergrasshill Bypass; the iron working site at Lisnagar De-mesne 1 03E1510, the pit at Maulane East 1 03E1286, the pit at Scartbarry 3 03E1800, thecorn-drying kiln at Rath-healy 1 03E1139, the burnt mound at Fermoy Wood 04E1014and the ring ditch at Ballybrowney Lower 3 05E0233 all on the M8 Rathcormac Fermoy. Activity dating to the Iron Age was recorded on the route of the N8 Fermoy – Mitch-elstown at Ballinglanna North 3 E2416, Ballinglanna North 4 E2417, Ballynacarriaga3 E2412, Gortnahown 1 E2423, Gortnahown 3 E2477 and Caherdrinny 3 E2422. Thesites, with the exception of a single fire pit at Ballinglanna North 4 E2417, did not dateexclusively to the Iron Age.5 Site Location and TopographyThe site was located at the base of Kilworth Mountains at a height of 130 M OD.The The Kilworth Mountains were visible to the south, the hillfort at Caherdrinny(CO019:97/0103) was located to the south-west and the broad Mitchelstown plain tothe north.6 Excavation methodologyThe excavation was carried out under E-Number E2423 and complied with the methodstatement approved by the Department of Environment, Heritage, and Local Govern-ment, in consultation with the National Museum of Ireland. The site was mechanicallystripped of topsoil under strict archaeological supervision. Stripping was done with atracked machine with a flat toothless bucket. Where appropriate mini-diggers were used,and in the larger areas to be stripped multiple large tracked machines were used; allstripping operations involved the use of multiple dumpers for topsoil mounding. Topsoilstripping commenced in the areas of identified archaeology and continued 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, sitephotographs, 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. 9
  18. 18. iSSUE 10: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoloGical Excavation rEport 180700 180720 10 ± 48 52 28 55109344 109344 6 23 21 82 19 17 25 62 60 80 56 57 41 54 42 64 O ) 47 58 130 m O.D. 66 88 4 78 74 68 70 Area 1109312 109312 Area 2 0 10 m 180700 180720 Figure 4: Post-excavation plan of Gortnahown 1 Area 1� 10
  19. 19. Gortnahown 1 Area 1 E2423 North west facing section of pit C.82 Gortnahown 1-E2423 C.81 Natural C.93 C.97 ral tu Na C.94 C.95 C.96 C.82 0 50 cm Figure 5: Section of pit C�82 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2423-gortnahown1-co-cork/11
  20. 20. iSSUE 10: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoloGical Excavation rEport Plate 1: View of Gortnahown 1 Area 1, from south-west� Plate 2: Post-ex view of pit (C�54) and stake-hole (C�58) Area 1, from east12
  21. 21. Gortnahown 1-E2423 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2423-gortnahown1-co-cork/ 180622 180635 ±109200 109200 O ) 130 m O.D. 27 25 77 68 64 65 53 19 47 50 58 37 13 21 55 3 28 17 6 16 60 Hearth 11 8 Area 1109165 109165 Area 2 0 10 m 180622 180635 Figure 6: Post-excavation plan of Gortnahown 1 Area 2� 13
  22. 22. iSSUE 10: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoloGical Excavation rEport The site was excavated from 14 May 2007 to 27 May 2007 and 3 September 2007 to 10 September 2007. Only areas within the CPO were resolved. The site was split into two areas. Area 1 measured 1109 m2 and Area 2 measured 728 m2. Area 1 was located 140 m to the north-east of Area 2. 7 Excavation results The full record of excavated contexts is recorded in the stratigraphic index (Appendix 1) and the stratigraphic matrix (Appendix 2). Detailed stratigraphic descriptions are found in the groups and sub-groups text (Appendix 3). Area 1 At Area 1 thirty-one cut features were excavated (Figure 4, Plate 1). These included 17 pits, seven post-holes, six stake-holes and one hearth. Cluster of pits, post-holes and stake-holes A cluster of features in the eastern extent of the site included five pits (C.41, C.62, C.25, C.60 and C.54), six post-holes (C.17, C.19, C.21, C.23, C.64 and C.66) and five stake- holes (C.42, C.47, C.56, C.57 and C.58). The collection of pits and post-holes in this part of Area 1 is the only part of the site where a discernible pattern in the archaeological remains was visible. Pit Length Width Depth Shape in plan Associated stake-holes C.41 0.64 m 0.56 m 0.19 m Irregular C.47, C.56, C.57 C.62 1.65 m 0.7 m 0.12 m Irregular C.25 0.82 m 0.7 m 0.35 m Oval C.60 1.02 m 0.56 m 0.07 m Oval C.54 1.45 m 0.74 m 0.18 m Irregular C.58 Table 1 Dimensions of pits in the eastern part of Area 1 The pits were spaced in a semi-oval pattern around a central pit C.62 enclosing an area of c. 10 m sq. An Early Bronze Age date of cal BC 1728-1533 (UB-12980) was returned from the pit C.62. The pits were oval-shaped and irregular in plan. They all contained similar fills. Two of the pits (C.41 and C.58) were associated with stake-holes: a stake-hole (C.58) was lo- cated in the base of pit C.54 (Plate 2) and a total of three stake-holes (C.47, C.56 and C.57) were located in the base and one (C.42) on the edge of pit C.41 (Plate 3). The six post-holes, that formed part of the group, seemed to be set in pairs. Post-holes (C.64 and C.66) were located 1.4 m to the south of the central pit C.62 and the other four (C.19, C.17, C.23 and C.21) were located 2.7 m to the north (Plate 4). Post-holes C.64 and C.66 were located 1.4 m apart. While the other two pairs of posts were spaced c. 4 m apart.14
  23. 23. Gortnahown 1-E2423 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2423-gortnahown1-co-cork/Plate 3: Post-ex view of pit (C�41) Area 1, from south-east�Plate 4: Post-excavation view of pit (C�25) Area 1, from south-east� 15
  24. 24. iSSUE 10: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoloGical Excavation rEport Plate 5: Mid-excavation view of hearth (C�80) Area 1, from north-west� Plate 6: Post-excavation view of pit (C�82) Area 1, from south-west�16
  25. 25. 180624 180632 25 27 ± 77 64 Gortnahown 1-E2423 68 65 47 50 19 53 109186 109186 17 37 55 58 13 3 21 Hearth 6 60 16 28 8 109181 109181 Area 1 11 Area 2 0 5 m 180624 180632 Figure 7: Post-excavation plan of structure at Gortnahown 1 Area 2� http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2423-gortnahown1-co-cork/17
  26. 26. 18 Gortnahown 1 NE facing section of C.27 C.29 C.26 C.27 Gortnahown 1 Mid-ex section paln of C.27 iSSUE 10: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 C.24 C.48 # # # # C.25 Gortnahown 1 South facing section of C.75 C.66 C.72 # C.75 # # # C.65 # 10 cm 0 50 cm Figure 8: Section of foundation trenches C�25, C�65 and C�27� archaEoloGical Excavation rEport
  27. 27. Gortnahown 1-E2423 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2423-gortnahown1-co-cork/Plate 7: Post-excavation view of pit (C�88) Area 1, from north� It is possible that these features together formed a small, flimsy structure and/or awork space associated with the production of food or other general domestic activities.Peripheral hearth, pits and post-holesIn the south-western part of this area of excavation a hearth (C.80, Plate 5) was locatedbetween two large pits (C.88 and C.82). The hearth (C.80) was a sub-triangular pit witha flat base. It contained two fills (C.79 and C.89) of sandy clay with inclusions of pebblesand a lot of charcoal (particularly in the upper fill). The two pits near this hearth wereirregular (C.82, Figure 5, Plate 6) and oval-shaped (C.88, Plate 7) in plan. The fills of thepits (C.82 and C.88) were charcoal-rich; they were probably used for the deposition ofwaste material from the hearth. Context Length (m) Width (m) Depth (m) Type C.80 0.88 0.85 0.14 Hearth C.82 1.9 1 0.75 Pit C.88 2.1 1.85 0.64 PitTable 2 Dimensions of hearth and pits Two small post-holes (C.74 and C.78), which were similar in size to one another, werelocated to the south-east of the two pits and hearth. Post C.78 was located 2 m east of thepit C.88 and post C.74 was located 7 m to the south-east of the pit. 19
  28. 28. iSSUE 10: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoloGical Excavation rEport Plate 8: Aerial view of Gortnahown 1 Area 2, from the north-east� Plate 9: Closer aerial view of excavated features in Gortnahown 1 Area 2, from the north-east� Two pits (C.68 and C.70) were located 11 m south of the eastern cluster. They were spaced 0.7 m apart. Pit C.4, small and rectangular in plan, was located 10 m to the north- east. An Iron Age date of cal BC 88 – cal AD 54 (UB-13174) was returned from pit C.4 Four pits (C.6, C.10, C.28 and C.48) and two stake-holes (C.52 and C.55) were re- corded in the northern section of the site. The two stake-holes were located to the im-20
  29. 29. Gortnahown 1 Area 2 E2423 Gortnahown 1-E2423 South facing section of pit C.40 C.62 C.41 Slump material C.28 Animal burrow C.42 C.43 Possible Bioturbation true base Test Sondage of pit Animal Burrow 0 50 cm Figure 9: Section of pit C�28 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2423-gortnahown1-co-cork/21
  30. 30. iSSUE 10: Eachtra JoUrnal - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoloGical Excavation rEport mediate east of pit C.48. Pit C.28 was the largest of the pits, it measured 2.95 m by 1.78 m and 0.42 m in depth. Area 2 The features in Area 2 are likely to represent the partial remains of a truncated Bronze Age house. A total of 23 cut features were recorded, these included six slot trenches (C.11, C.17, C.19, C.25, C.27 and C.65), five pits, (C.6, C.8, C.21, C.28 and C.37), eight stake- holes (C.50, C.53, C.55, C.58, C.60, C.64, C.68 and C.77) and four post-holes (C.3, C.13, C.16 and C.47) (Plates 8 and 9). A series of furrows, at closely spaced intervals, aligned north-south and east-west crossed the site (Figure 6). The features were clustered in the central section of the site on the edge of the area of excavation. The Round House The inner ring of the structure was defined on the eastern side by two slot trenches (C.11 and C.25). The trench C.27 was located parallel to trench C.25 and may have functioned as a drip gully for the overhang of a roof. The other three slot trenches (C.17, C.19 and C.65) were located in the area of the entrance (Figure 8). Slot C.19 was located perpen- dicular to the shorter slot C.17. The curvilinear trench (C.65) was located in the area of the entrance partially parallel and perpendicular to the structure. It had a flat base and contained six sandy silt fills (C.66, C.67, C.72, C.73, C.74 and C.75). They included peb- bles, stones, charcoal, heat affected stones and flecks of burnt bone. The third C.17 was located in between C.19 and C.65. Context Type L x W x D (m) Location C.6 Pit 0.7 x 0.43 x 0.43 Interior C.8 Pit 0.9 x 0.35 x 0.15 Interior C.11 Slot trench 3.64 x 0.8 x 0.18 Foundation C.17 Slot trench 1.69 x 0.61 x 0.14 Exterior C.19 Slot trench 2.7 x 0.5 x 0.2 Exterior C.21 Pit 1.25 x 0.85 x 0.36 Area of entrance C.25 Slot trench 2.9 x 0.4 x 0.2 Foundation C.27 Slot trench 3 x 0.37 x 0.2 Exterior C.28 Hearth 1.6 x 1.12 x 0.4 Interior C.37 Pit 1.54 x 0.84 x 0.22 Interior C.65 Slot trench 1.9 x 0.5 x 0.2 Exterior Table 3 Dimensions of pits and slot trenches Four post-holes (C.3, C.13, C.16 and C.47) and four pits (C.6, C.8, C.28 and C.37) were located within the interior of the structure and one pit (C21) in the area of the en- trance. The pit C.28 is likely to be a centrally located hearth. Most of the internal features were located between the hearth and the area of the entrance. The pits varied in size and shape. Two of the pits (C.6 and C.8) were small in size. Three of the pits, including the hearth (C.21 C.28 and C.37) were mid-sized. They ranged between 1.25 m and 1.6m in length, 0.84 m and 1.12m in width and 0.22 m and 0.4 m in depth. Five fills (C.41, C.42,22
  31. 31. Gortnahown 1-E2423 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e2423-gortnahown1-co-cork/C.43, C.44 and C.62) were recorded I the hearth-pit. They included pebbles, charcoal,burnt clay and flecks of animal bone (Figure 9). Three stake-holes were located in the interior. Stake-hole C.50 cut the base of post-hole C.47. Stake-hole C.58 was located on the north-western side of pit C.37 and stake-hole C.68 was located on the southern side of slot trench C.25. Two of the post-holes (C.3 and C.47) may have been located on or inside the line ofthe foundations. One of the post-holes (C.16) cut through the eastern side of pit (C.6). Context Length (m) Width (m) Depth (m) C.3 0.51 0.44 0.35 C.13 0.34 0.3 0.22 C.16 0.38 0.29 0.17 C.47 0.34 0.23 0.1Table 4 Dimensions of post-holes in the interior of the structure Five stake-holes (C.53, C.55, C.60, C.64 and C.77) were associated with the slottrenches. Two stake-holes (C.43 and C.55) cut the base of C.19, they were set on oppositesides of the slot. Two stake-holes (C.64 and C.77) were located in linear C.27. Stake-holeC.60 was located to the north of linear C.11. All the stake-holes were either circular orsub-circular in plan and their dimensions ranged between 0.04 m and 0.12 m in length,0.04 m and 0.1 m in width and 0.08 m and 0.29 m in depth. Small flecks of burnt bone were noted in the fills of eight of the pits, slot trenches andpost-holes (C.6, C.11, C21, C.27, C.28, C.37, C.47 and C.65). Animal bone was identi-fied from the hearth and two of the slot trenches (C.11, C.25 and C.28). The fill (C.26)of one of the foundation slot trenches (C.27) contained the remains of burnt human bonefragments. The fragments represented a possible juvenile. A saddle quern (E2423:36:1) wasrecovered from a fill of the slot C.11. The structure could have enclosed an area of 76.5 m and the internal circumference ofthe house could have been 31.4 m (see Figure 7). If the entrance was located in the areabetween the termini of trenches C.11 and C.25 it would have faced east and measured c.2.6 m.Agricultural furrowsA number of furrows were located in the area of the excavation (see figure 6). They werealigned north-south and east-west and were on average 0.43 m wide and 0.08 m deep. Thefurrows were most probably excavated by plough due to their regular shape and spacing.Plant remainsThe plant remains from Gortnahown 1 were examined by Penny Johnston (Appendix 5).A total of nine samples were examined but no plant remains were present. 23

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