Archaeological Report - Loughan, Co. Offaly (Ireland)

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The excavation of the site at Loughan comprised a small group of features; four pits, three posts and two hearths. An Early Bronze Age date was returned from one of the features.
No structure was recorded but the group of features were probably domestic in origin, despite the lack of plant remains or artefactual evidence.

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Archaeological Report - Loughan, Co. Offaly (Ireland)

  1. 1. Eachtra JournalIssue 11 [ISSN 2009-2237] Archaeological Excavation Report E4000 - Loughan, Co. Offaly Pits, postholes and hearths
  2. 2. EACHTRAArchaeological Projects Archaeological Excavation Report Loughan Co Offaly Pits, postholes and hearths July 2011 Client: Laois County Council and National Roads Authority : Project: N7 Castletown to Nenagh (Contract 1) E No E4000Excavation Director John Tierney Written by: John Tierney
  3. 3. Archaeological Excavation Report Loughan Co Offaly Excavation Director John Tierney Written By John Tierney EACHTRA Archaeological Projects CORK GALWAY The Forge, Innishannon, Co. Cork Unit 10, Kilkerrin Park, Liosbain Industrial Estate, Galwaytel: 021 4701616 | web: www.eachtra.ie | email: info@eachtra.ie tel: 091 763673 | web: www.eachtra.ie | email: galway@eachtra.ie
  4. 4. © 2011The Forge, Innishannon, Co Cork Set in 12pt Garamond Printed in Ireland
  5. 5. Table of Contents Summary���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������iii Acknowledgements�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� iv1 Scope of the project �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 12 Route location��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 13 Receiving environment ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 34 Archaeological and historical background ��������������������������������������������������������������������� 4 Mesolithic(c�8000to4000BC)���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 4 Neolithic(c�4000to2000BC)������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 4 � BronzeAge(c�2000to600BC)����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 4 IronAge(c�500BCtoAD500)����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 6 Earlymedievalperiod(c�AD400to1100)����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 6 Highandlatermedievalperiods(c�AD1100to1650)���������������������������������������������������������������� 6 Post-medievalperiod(c�1650tothepresent)��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 75 Site Location and Topography �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 76 Excavation methodology ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 77 Excavation results ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 108 Discussion �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 159 References �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 16Appendix 1 Site matrix ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 17Appendix 2 Groups and subgroups ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 18 �Appendix 3 Plant Remains ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������22 i
  6. 6. List of Figures Figure 1: Portion of map of Ireland showing the route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh (Derrin- sallagh to Ballintotty) Road Scheme (Contract 1)� ������������������������������������������������������������������������� 2 Figure 2: Discovery series OS map showing the route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh (Derrin- sallagh to Ballintotty) Road Scheme (Contract 1) and the location of all excavation sites� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 5 Figure 3: Portion of the Ist edition Ordnance Survey Map OF47 showing the location of Loughan� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 8 Figure 4: Location and extent of Loughan E4000 on the N7 Castletown to Nenagh� ������������������������� 9 Figure 5: Post excavation plan of Loughan E4000� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 12 Figure 6: Profile of post-hole C�15 and sections of pit C�3 and hearth C�9� �������������������������������������������� 13 List of Plates Plate 1: Mid-excavation of pit C�3� ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 11 Plate 2: Post-excavation of post-hole C�15� ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 11 Plate 4: Mid-excavation of hearth C�9 and post-hole C�11� ����������������������������������������������������������������������� 14 Plate 3: Mid-excavation of pit C�13 and post-hole C�20� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� 14 Plate 5: Mid-excavation of hearth C�5� ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 15 List of Tables Table 1: Radiocarbon dates �����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������10ii
  7. 7. Loughan -E4000 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e4000-loughan-co-offaly/SummaryThe excavation of the site at Loughan comprised a small group of features; four pits, threeposts and two hearths. An Early Bronze Age date was returned from one of the features.No structure was recorded but the group of features were probably domestic in origin,despite the lack of plant remains or artefactual evidence.Road project name N7 Castletown to NenaghSite name LoughanE no. E4000Site director John TierneyTownland LoughanParish FinglasCounty OffalyBarony ClonliskOS Map Sheet No. OF47National Grid Reference 206137 / 182699 iii
  8. 8. iSSuE 11: Eachtra JournaL - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoLogicaL Excavation rEport Acknowledgements The project was commissioned by Laois County Council and was funded by the Na- tional Roads Authority under the National Development Plan (2000-2006). The project archaeologist was Niall Roycroft. Kildare County Council supervised the archaeological contract with RE staff of Pat Dowling and Colum Fagan. Kildare County Council Sen- ior Executive Engineer was Joseph Kelly and Kildare County Council Senior Engineer was John Coppinger. The senior archaeologist was John Tierney and the post-excavation manager was Jacinta Kiely. Illustrations are by Maurizio Toscano, photographs by John Sunderland and Eagle Photography and aerial photography by StudioLab. Specialist anal- ysis was carried out by Mary Dillon and Penny Johnston and the 14 Chrono Centre at Queen’s University Belfast.iv
  9. 9. Loughan -E4000 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e4000-loughan-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 (Figure 1). 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
  10. 10. 2 182550 198900 215250 193300 193300 ! ( Nenagh iSSuE 11: Eachtra JournaL - iSSn 2009-2237 Derg (Lough) 182950 182950 172600 172600 0 5 10 182550 198900 Kilometres 215250 ± Figure 1: Portion of map of Ireland showing the route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh (Derrinsallagh to Ballintotty) Road Scheme (Contract 1)� archaEoLogicaL Excavation rEport
  11. 11. Loughan -E4000 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e4000-loughan-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 environment North Tipperary is bounded on the west by the River Shannon and Lough Derg withthe Silvermines, to the south, and small hills extending towards Devilsbit and BorrisnoeMountains to the east. The mountains are composed largely of Silurian strata and OldRed Sandstone. Copper, silver and lead deposits have been mined in the Silvermines. Thegeology of the lowlands consists of Carboniferous limestone covered by glacial drift inaddition to tracts of raised bog. The western portion of the study area is drained by the Ollatrim River which flowswestwards into the River Ballintotty which in turns drains into the River Nenagh. Theeastern portion is drained by the Keeloge Stream and other small water sources. These risein the foothills of the Silvermine Mountains and flow north. The Keeloge drains into theLittle Brosna River c. 1 km south of Shinrone, Co Offaly. The Brosna turns north anddrains into the Shannon south of Banagher. The largest population centre in the area is Nenagh. The smaller population centres,are Toomyvara, Moneygall and Dunkerrin. The soils on the route are characterised by 80% grey brown podzolics, 10% gleys, 5%brown earths and 5% basis peat. They are derived from glacial till of predominantly Car-boniferous limestone composition. These soils occur in Tipperary and Offaly and have awide use range being suitable for both tillage and pasture (Gardiner and Radford 1980,97-99). Land use along the route was a mix of grassland devoted to intensive dairying andcattle-rearing and tillage. 3
  12. 12. iSSuE 11: Eachtra JournaL - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoLogicaL Excavation rEport 4 Archaeological and historical background Archaeological sites of numerous periods were discovered along the route of the new road (Figure 2). The periods are referred to as follows: Mesolithic (c. 8000 to 4000 BC), Neo- lithic (c. 4000 to 2000 BC), Bronze Age (c. 2000 to 600 BC), and Iron Age (c. 500 BC to AD 500), early medieval period (c. AD 500 to 1100), medieval period (c. AD 1100 to 1650), post-medieval period (c. AD 1650 to the present). Mesolithic (c. 8000 to 4000 BC) The earliest known human settlement in Ireland dates from the Mesolithic period (c. 8000 BC - 4000 BC). The majority of the evidence (flint scatters) for Mesolithic occupa- tion has come from the river valleys. No evidence for the Mesolithic was recorded on the route. Neolithic (c. 4000 to 2000 BC) The Neolithic Period is characterised by the introduction of agriculture and the begin- nings of the clearance of the woodlands. The population increased and became more sedentary in nature. The most important Neolithic site in the vicinity was at Tullahedy recorded on the route of the Nenagh by-pass. It was a specialist chert arrow manufactur- ing site. No evidence for a Neolithic site was recorded on the route but stone tools dating to the Neolithic were recorded at Busherstown E3661, Clash E3660, Cullenwaine E3741 and Greenhills 2 and 3 E3637 and E3658. Stone tools dating to the late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age were recorded at Busherstown E3661, Castleroan E3909, Cullenwaine E3741, Derrybane 1 E3585, Drumroe E3773, Greenhills 1 E3638 and Moatquarter E3910 Bronze Age (c. 2000 to 600BC) The Bronze Age is characterised by the introduction of metallurgy and an increase in settlement and burial sites. Copper ores were mined and copper, bronze and gold items manufactured. The range of burial site types includes cist graves, pit and urn burials, cremation cemeteries, barrows, ring-ditches and wedge tombs. Stone circles and stand- ing stones also date to the Bronze Age. Both enclosed and unenclosed settlement sites are known. The most prolific Bronze Age site type is the fulacht fiadh. These monuments survive as low mounds of charcoal rich black silt, packed with heat-shattered stones, and generally situated close to a water source. Fulachta fiadh are generally classified as ‘cook- ing places’, whereby stones were heated in a hearth and subsequently placed in a trough of water, the water continued to boil with the addition of hot stones and wrapped food was cooked within the hot water. The trough eventually filled with small stones, ash and charcoal that were removed, forming the basis of the familiar mound.4
  13. 13. 190400 196200 202000 207800 Loughan -E4000 186400 186400 Loughan 1 Castleroan 1 E 3909 Busherstown 1 E 3661 Loughan 1 E 4000 Greenhills 3 E 3658 Moneygall 2 Culleenwaine 1 E 3635 E 3741 Moatquarter 1 Clynoe 2 E 3910 E 3774 181800 181800 Park 1 Drumroe 1 Garravally Kilgorteen 1 E 3659 E 3773 E 3589 E 3739 Drumbaun 2 Derrybane 2 E 3912 E 3591 Greenhills 1 Greenhills 2 E 3638 E 3637 Clashnevin 2 E 3590 Clash 1 Park 2 E 3660 E 3772 Derrycarney 1 E 3740 Clashnevin 1 Derrybane 1 Killeisk 1 E 3586 E 3585 E 3587 177200 177200 0 3 6 Kilometres ± 190400 196200 202000 207800 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e4000-loughan-co-offaly/ Figure 2: Discovery series OS map showing the route of the N7 Castletown to Nenagh (Derrinsallagh to Ballintotty) Road Scheme (Contract 1) and the location of all excavation sites� 5
  14. 14. iSSuE 11: Eachtra JournaL - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoLogicaL Excavation rEport Two new fulachta fiadh or burnt mounds were recorded at Clashnevin 1 E3586, Cullenwaine E3741 and six at three separate locations in Greenhills, E3638, E3637 and E3658. Evidence of nine roundhouses or partial round structures were recorded; two at Castleroan E3909, Derrybane 2 E3591 and Drumbaun 2 E3912 and one at Clash E3660, Drumroe E3773 and Moatquarter E3910. Iron Age (c. 500 BC to AD 500) Upto recently there was little evidence of a significant Iron Age presence in Munster. Settlement sites are few and far between as well as being difficult to identify (Woodman, 2000) while the material culture of this period is limited. Linear earthworks, believed to have marked tribal boundaries, and hillforts are two of the most visible monuments of the period. Ten percent of sites excavated on NRA road schemes in recent years have produced Iron Age dates. The dates have led to the identification of 30 new Iron Age sites in Munster from road schemes in counties Cork, Limerick and Tipperary (McLaughlin 2008, 51). These include a ditched enclosure in Ballywilliam and a wooden trackway in Annaholty Bog excavated on the route of the N7 Nenagh-Limerick (Taylor 2008, 54). Early medieval period (c. AD 400 to 1100) The early medieval period is characterised by the arrival of Christianity to Ireland. The characteristic monument type of the period is the ringfort. Ringforts are the most nu- merous archaeological monument found in Ireland, with estimates of between 30,000 and 50,000 illustrated on the first edition of the Ordnance Survey 6” maps of the 1840’s (Barry 1987). As a result of continued research, the construction of these monuments has a narrow date range during the early medieval period between the 7th and 9th centuries AD. Although there are some very elaborate examples of ringforts, they often take the form of a simple earth or stone enclosure functioning as settlements for all classes of secu- lar society (Stout 1997). North Tipperary is rich in early ecclesiastical sites and the remains of these religious centres are at the core of some of the towns and villages. Roscrea, for example, was chosen by St Cronan as a location for his monastery in the seventh century as it was located at the crossroads on the Slighe Dála, an important roadway in early medieval times (NIAH 2006, 4-8). A possible early medieval enclosure and associated road way was recorded at Killeisk E3587. A denuded ringfort (OF046-013) was excavated at Clynoe 2 E3774. 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 towns of Nenagh, Roscrea, Thurles and Templemore and established markets. Nenagh grew rapidly in the aftermath of the granting of the lands of Munster to Theobald fitzWalter in6
  15. 15. Loughan -E4000 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e4000-loughan-co-offaly/1185 (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 newly recorded moated site was excavated at Busherstown E3661.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 TopographyThis site was located on a gentle slope, at a height of 170m OD. Moatquarter 1 E3910, waslocated to the c. 150m south. The site is at the very southern tip of County Offaly, justnorth of the county bounds.6 Excavation methodologyThe site was mechanically stripped of topsoil under strict archaeological supervision.Stripping was done with a tracked machine with a flat toothless bucket. Where appropri-ate mini-diggers were used, and in the larger areas to be stripped multiple large trackedmachines were used; all stripping operations involved the use of multiple dumpers fortopsoil mounding. Topsoil stripping commenced in the areas of identified archaeologyand continued radially outward until the limit of the road take was reached or until thelimit of the archaeological remains was fully defined. A grid was set up in the excavationarea(s) and all archaeological features were sufficiently cleaned, recorded and excavated soas to enable an accurate and meaningful record of the site to be preserved. The excavation,environmental sampling, site photographs, site drawings, find care and retrieval, on-siterecording and site archive was as per the Procedures for Archaeological works as attachedto the licence method statements for excavation licences. The site was excavated from 28 January 2008 and the on-site phase of work was com-pleted within a week. Only areas within the LMA were resolved. The full extent of thearea of excavation measured 300 msq (Figure 4). The full record of excavated contexts is recorded in the context register and the strati-graphic matrix (Appendix 1). Detailed stratigraphic descriptions are found in the groupsand sub-groups text (Appendix 2). The context register maybe viewed in the EAPOD(Eachtra Archaeological Projects office database) in the accompanying CD. 7
  16. 16. 8 204713 205713 Castleroan LOUGHAN ea m Loughan S tr 182716 182716 e lo g K ee CASTLEROAN iSSuE 11: Eachtra JournaL - iSSn 2009-2237 Moatquarter BUSHERSTOWN 182066 182066 MOATQUARTER Busherstown Drumbaun 2 DRUMROE 0 300 600 DRUMBAUN Drumroe ¥ Meters 204713 205713 Figure 3: Portion of the Ist edition Ordnance Survey Map OF47 showing the location of Loughan� archaEoLogicaL Excavation rEport
  17. 17. 205765 206135 206505 15 90 0 Loughan -E4000 LOUGHAN 15 182927 182927 80 0 15 Keelog 70 0 e Stream 15 60 0 CASTLEROAN M O AT Q U A R T E R 182697 182697 15 50 0 154 00 153 00 182467 182467 152 00 Loughan 1 (E4000) 0 100 200 S D U F F LI Metres± 205765 206135 206505 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e4000-loughan-co-offaly/ Figure 4: Location and extent of Loughan E4000 on the N7 Castletown to Nenagh�9
  18. 18. iSSuE 11: Eachtra JournaL - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoLogicaL Excavation rEport 7 Excavation results A group of nine features, including four pits, three driven posts and two hearths were excavated at Loughan (Figure 5). The area of excavation measured 20m by 15m. The pits Four pits (C.3, C.13, C.22 and C.25) were interspersed with the post-holes and hearths. They were all small in size and varied in depth from 0.06-0.3m. The fills of the pits were similar, being silty sands with occasional flecks of charcoal. An early Bronze Age date of cal BC 1664-1650 1642-1502 (UB-12354) was returned from the fill of pit C.3 (Plate 1). The post-holes The three post-holes (C.11, C.15 and C.20) were varied in size and depth. One of the post- holes C.15 was very deep, being 0.7m in depth (Figure 6, Plate 2). The fills were silty sands with occasional flecks of charcoal and were similar in composition to the natural sub-soil. It is likely that the wooden posts were removed and did not decay in situ. The post-holes did not form any discernible structure but two were associated with two of the pits; C.20 cut pit C.13 and C.11 cut pit C.9 (Plates 3 and 4). The hearths The two hearths (C.5 and C.9) were small in size. The fill of hearth C.9 was burnt and the base was scorched. The base of hearth C.5 was less intensively scorched (Plate 5). Plant remains The plant remains were examined by Penny Johnston (Appendix 3). There were no charred seeds identified in the samples from this site. Charcoal The charcoal was examined by Mary Dillon in advance of radiocarbon dating. Radiocarbon dates Radiocarbon analysis was carried out by the 14 Chrono Centre in Queen’s University Belfast. Dates were calibrated using Calib Rev5.0.2 (©1986-2005 M.Stuiver P.J. Re- imer) and in conjunction with Stuiver Reimer 1993 and Reimer et al. 2004. Lab code Context Material Un-calibrated date δ 13 C 2 sigma calibration Period UB-12354 C.4 Spindle 3301 +/- 30 -25.3 cal BC 1664-1650 Early charcoal 1642-1502 Bronze Age Table 1: Radiocarbon dates 10
  19. 19. Loughan -E4000 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e4000-loughan-co-offaly/Plate 1: Mid-excavation of pit C�3�Plate 2: Post-excavation of post-hole C�15� 11
  20. 20. iSSuE 11: Eachtra JournaL - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoLogicaL Excavation rEport 206133 206141 ± 3 9 11 25 22182707 182707 O ) 170 m O.D. 5 15182695 182695 20 13 0 5m 206133 206141 Figure 5: Post excavation plan of Loughan E4000� 12
  21. 21. Loughan -E4000 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e4000-loughan-co-offaly/ Loughan 1 E4000 Pro le of C.15 lled with C.16 and C.17 C.15 Loughan 1 E4000 South facing section of C.9 # # # # # # # # C.10 # # C.9 Loughan 1 E4000 North east facing section of C.3 C.4 C.3 0 500 mmFigure 6: Profile of post-hole C�15 and sections of pit C�3 and hearth C�9� 13
  22. 22. iSSuE 11: Eachtra JournaL - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoLogicaL Excavation rEport Plate 4: Mid-excavation of hearth C�9 and post-hole C�11� Plate 3: Mid-excavation of pit C�13 and post-hole C�20�14
  23. 23. Loughan -E4000 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e4000-loughan-co-offaly/Plate 5: Mid-excavation of hearth C�5� 8 DiscussionThe site at Loughan comprised a small group of prehistoric features, dated to the later endof the Early Bronze Age. No actual structure was recorded at Loughan but the group ofpost-holes, pits and hearths were probably domestic in origin, despite the lack of plantremains or artefactual evidence. The site could have been temporary in nature in contrastto the substantial Bronze Age settlement site recorded at Drumbaun E3912 2.5 km to thewest. The site is of limited archaeological significance in its own right but it does contributeto our understanding of the different kinds of sites that were occupied in the Bronze Age. 15
  24. 24. iSSuE 11: Eachtra JournaL - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoLogicaL Excavation rEport 9 References Farrelly, J., and O’Brien, C. (2002) Archaeological Inventory of County Tipperary Vol. 1 - North Tipperary, The Stationery Office Dublin. Gardiner, M.J. and Radford,T. (1980) Soil Associations of Ireland and Their Land Use Potential. Dublin, An Foras Talúntais. McLaughlin, M. and Conran, S. (2008) ‘The emerging Iron Age of South Munster’ in Seanda, Issue 3, 51-53. Dublin. National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (2006) An Introduction to the Architec- tural Heritage of North Tipperary. Government of Ireland. O’Conor, K.D. (1998) The Archaeology of Medieval Rural Settlement in Ireland, Discov- ery Programme Monographs No 3, Discovery Programme/Royal Irish Academy Dublin. Reimer, P.J., Baillie, M.G.L., Bard, E., Bayliss, A., Beck, J.W., Bertrand, C., Blackwell, P.G., Buck, C.E., Burr, G., Cutler, K.B., Damon, P.E., Edwards, R.L., Fairbanks, R.G., Friedrich, M., Guilderson, T.P., Hughen, K.A., Kromer, B., McCormac, F.G., Manning, S., Bronk Ramsey, C., Reimer, R.W., Remmele, S., Southon, J.R., Stuiver, M., Talamo, S., Taylor, F.W., van der Plicht, J. and Weyhenmeyer, C.E. (2004) ‘IntCal04 Terrestrial Radiocarbon Age Calibration, 0–26 Cal Kyr BP’, Radiocarbon 46, 1029-1058. Stuiver, M., and Reimer, P.J. (1993) ‘Extended (super 14) C data base and revised CALIB 3.0 (super 14) C age calibration program’, Radiocarbon 35, 215-230. Stout, M. (1997) The Irish Ringfort. Dublin, Four Courts Press. Taylor, K. (2008) ‘At home and on the road: two Iron Age sites in County Tipperary’ in Seanda, Issue 3, 54-55. Dublin. Woodman, P.C. (2000) ‘Hammers and Shoeboxes: New Agendas for Prehistory’., pp. 1 -10 in Desmond, A., Johnson, G., McCarthy, M., Sheehan, J. and Shee Twohig, E. New Agendas in Irish Prehistory. Papers in commemoration of Liz Anderson. Bray, Wordwell.16
  25. 25. Loughan -E4000 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e4000-loughan-co-offaly/Appendix 1 Site matrix 17
  26. 26. iSSuE 11: Eachtra JournaL - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoLogicaL Excavation rEport Appendix 2 Groups and subgroups A series of four pits, three driven posts and two hearths were excavated. Group No. Description Subgroup No. Description Context No. Group 1 Natural A Topsoil C.1 Deposits B Subsoil C.2 Group 2 Pits A 4 pits C.3, C.13, C.22 C.25 Group 3 Driven Posts A 3 driven posts C.11, C.15 C.20 Group 4 Hearths A 2 possible hearths C.5 C.9 Group 5 Non-archaeo- AB 2 non-archaeological C.7 C.18 logical features Group 1 Natural Deposits Topsoil C.1 The topsoil was a mid grey brown loose silt sand. The maximum depth of topsoil was 0.4 m. Subsoil C.2 The subsoil was a mid brown grey soft sand silt. This is the natural subsoil which oc- curs under the features and is found across the site. Group 2 Pits Pit C.3 filled with C.4 Description The pit was oval shape in plan. Sharp break of slope top at N, gradual elsewhere. Sides were vertical and smooth at N, steep and smooth at S and E, moderate and stepped at W. Break of slope base was gradual. Base was sub-circular in plan and flat in profile. The pit measured 0.64m northeast southwest by 0.58m and had a maximum depth of 0.3m. The fill was a mid grey brown firm sand silt. Occasional coarse rounded pebbles and medium sub-angular stones. Interpretation Cut of a pit. Pit C.13 filled with C.14 Description The pit was sub-circular shape in plan. Gradual break of slope top and base. Sides were gentle and concave. Base was sub-circular in plan and concave in profile. The pit measured 0.56m north south by 0.4m and had a maximum depth of 0.06m. The fill was a mid grey brown loose sand silt with occasional fine and medium sub-angular pebbles as well as occasional flecks of charcoal. Interpretation Cut of a pit.18
  27. 27. Loughan -E4000 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e4000-loughan-co-offaly/ Pit C.22 filled with C.23 and C.24 Description The pit was circular shape in plan. Break of slope top was imperceptible at S, gradualelsewhere. Sides were steep and smooth. Break of slope base was gradual at S and W,sharp at N and E. Base was circular in plan and flat in profile. The pit measured 0.36mnorth south by 0.33m and had a maximum depth of 0.30m. The upper fill was a midyellow brown soft sand silt with occasional coarse angular and sub-angular pebbles andsmall sub-rounded stones. The basal fill was a light brown firm sand silt with occasionalflecks of charcoal. Interpretation Cut of a pit. Pit C.25 filled with C.26 Description The pit was oval shape in plan. Break of slope top and base was imperceptible at S,gradual elsewhere. Sides were steep and smooth at N, gentle and smooth at S, moderateand smooth at E and W. Base was oval in plan and concave in profile. The pit measured0.56m north south by 0.25m and had a maximum depth of 0.13m. The fill was a mid yel-low brown firm sand silt with occasional flecks of charcoal. Interpretation Cut of a pit.Group 3 Driven Posts Driven post C.11 filled with C.12 Description The posthole was oval shape in plan. Sharp break of slope at the top and the base.Sides were vertical and irregular at E, vertical and smooth elsewhere. Base was oval inplan and a tapered point in profile. The cut measured 0.2m northwest southeast by 0.41mand had a maximum depth of 0.18m. The fill was a mid brown loose silt sand with cca-sional pebbles and flecks of charcoal. Interpretation: Cut of a driven post which truncated hearth C.9. Driven post C.15 filled with C.16 and C.17 Description The posthole was circular shape in plan. Break of slope top gradual at S, sharp else-where. Sides were vertical and irregular at S, vertical and smooth elsewhere. Break of slopebase was gradual. Base was circular in plan and had a tapered rounded point in profile.The cut measured 0.3m by 0.28m and had a maximum depth of 0.7m, the cut was orien-tated east west. The upper fill was a mid grey brown firm sand silt with occasional pebblesand flecks and small pieces of charcoal. The basal fill was a light yellow brown firm sandsilt with occasional pebbles and flecks of charcoal. 19
  28. 28. iSSuE 11: Eachtra JournaL - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoLogicaL Excavation rEport Interpretation: Cut of a driven post Driven post C.20 filled with C.21 Description The posthole was circular shape in plan. Gradual break of slope at the top and the base. Sides were steep and smooth. Base was circular in plan and concave in profile. The cut measured 0.25m northeast southwest by 0.22m and had a maximum depth of 0.14m. The fill was mid grey brown loose silt sand with occasional pebbles and flecks of charcoal. Interpretation: Cut of a driven post which truncated pit C.13 Group 4 Hearths Hearth C5 filled with C.6 Description The cut was sub-circular shape in plan. Imperceptible break of slope at the top and the base. Sides were gentle and concave. Base was sub-circular in plan and concave in profile. The fill was a mid grey brown soft peaty silt with occasional fine sub-angular pebbles and occasional flecks of charcoal. The cut measured 0.62m east west by 0.55m and had a maximum depth of 0.08m. Interpretation Cut of a hearth. Hearth C9 filled with C.10 Description The cut was oval shape in plan. Gradual break of slope at the top and the base. Sides were moderate and smooth. Base was circular in plan and concave in profile. The cut measured 0.76m east west by 0.5m and had a maximum depth of 0.34m. The fill was a dark black loose silt sand with occasional angular coarse pebbles, angular and sub-angu- lar small stones. Moderate flecks and small pieces of charcoal were also present. Interpretation Cut of a hearth. The hearth has been truncated by the driven post C.11. Group 5 Natural features Non-archaeological C7 filled with C.8 Description The cut was sub-circular shape in plan. Gradual break of slope top and base. Sides were gentle and smooth at S, gentle and concave elsewhere. Base was irregular in plan and undulating in profile. The fill was a mid brown grey loose silt sand with occasional sub-angular fine pebbles. Interpretation Natural hollow/depression20
  29. 29. Loughan -E4000 http://eachtra.ie/index.php/journal/e4000-loughan-co-offaly/ Non-archaeological C18 filled with C.19 Description The cut was irregular shape in plan. Gradual break of slope at the top and base. Sideswere moderate and concave at N, moderate and smooth elsewhere. Base was irregular inplan and undulating in profile. The fill was a mid grey brown loose silt sand. Occasionalsub-angular fine pebbles and occasional flecks of charcoal. Interpretation Biotrubation 21
  30. 30. iSSuE 11: Eachtra JournaL - iSSn 2009-2237 archaEoLogicaL Excavation rEport Appendix 3 Plant Remains By Penny Johnston Introduction This report details the results of preliminary assessment work carried out on sieved samples from Loughan 1, Co. Offaly (E4000). The site comprised pits, post-holes and hearths. Methodology The samples were collected on site as bulk soil and were processed using machine- assisted floatation (following guidelines in Pearsall 2000). The floating material (or ‘flot’) from each sample was collected in a stack of geological sieves (the smallest mesh size was 250mm). When all the carbonised material was collected the flot was then air-dried in paper- lined drying trays prior to storage in airtight plastic bags. The samples were scanned un- der low-powered magnification (x 10 to x 40) using a binocular microscope. The results of preliminary scanning are presented in Table 1 at the end of this report. A total of 5 samples were scanned. Recommendations for further analysis of charcoal Charcoal was present in 4 of the samples. It was noted in high frequencies in 1 sam- ple and in low frequencies in the remaining 3 samples. The sample with high frequency should be chosen for further analysis. Recommendations for further analysis of plant remains There were no charred seeds in the samples from this site. No further work is required for these samples. References Pearsall, D. 2000 Paleoethnobotany: a Handbook of Procedures. New York, Academic Press. Table 1 Sample Context Charcoal Seeds Percentage 3 10 Low Absent 100 4 4 High Absent 100 7 21 Absent Absent 100 9 24 Low Absent 100 11 14 Low Absent 100 Table 1: Scanned samples from Loughan 1, Co� Offaly (E4000)22

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