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Archaeological excavation report, E3850 Shankill 5, County Kilkenny.

Jennings, RP and Coughlan, T (2012) Archaeological excavation report, E3850 Shankill 5, County Kilkenny. National Monuments Service. Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

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Abstract

Irish Archaeological Consultancy Ltd (IAC), funded by the National Roads Authority (NRA) through Kilkenny County Council, undertook an excavation at the site of AR131, Shankill 5 along the proposed N9/N10 Kilcullen to Waterford Scheme, Phase 4 – Knocktopher to Powerstown (Figure 1). The following report describes the results of archaeological excavation at that site. The area was fully excavated by Richard Jennings under Ministerial Direction A032 and Excavation Registration Number E3850 issued by the DOEHLG in consultation with the National Museum of Ireland for IAC. The fieldwork took place between the 6 and 19 December 2007. The excavation at Shankill 5 has identified a possible small, temporary structure based around two short linear alignments of postholes that had the appearance of being set into slot-trenches. It is possible that there was no definitive slot but that the setting of the posts immediately adjacent to one another created a linear void. The postholes would have held round vertical posts with a larger post placed at the west end of each alignment. The slot-trench alignments were 1.70m long and orientated east-west. The slot-trenches/post alignments were 1.10m apart and there was no evidence that they were truncated by later activity at either end. To the west of the slot-trenches there were four possible postholes in a sub-rectangular or trapezoidal plan, that may have been related to the main structure. Three small stakeholes to the south and a further one to the east of the structure may or may not be related. Immediately southwest of the slot trenches there was an oval pit which contained a piece of flint debitage, charcoal, hazelnut shell fragments, burnt bone fragments and heat shattered stone. The varied material within the fill could suggest it was a waste pit associated with domestic settlement. It was dated to the early Iron Age. It is thought likely that the slot trenches, pit and other features in the immediate vicinity are likely to all be contemporary. A number of other pits on the periphery of the structure may be further waste pits although the largest pit on the site contained unburnt stones and may be a soak pit or associated with land clearance. In the north of the site a charcoal rich pit was interpreted as being a waste pit, possibly from a hearth, as there was no evidence of in situ burning. It was dated to the medieval period and clearly represents a separate phase of activity to the Iron Age structure. Artefacts from the site consisted predominantly of lithics which may be residual from earlier prehistoric activity in the wider area, although no definitive evidence of early prehistoric activity was identified from the site. Of particular interest were a worn sherd of Beaker pottery and an early Neolithic polished stone axe that were found within the topsoil or clearance layers. As these are not from secure contexts they must be regarded as stray finds and cannot be directly linked to any phase of activity on the site. A total of two samples were sent for AMS radiocarbon dating. The results of the analysis dated hazel charcoal from the fill C62 of a hearth. The 2 sigma calibrated date was AD1399–1436 (UBA 12239). The results of the analysis also dated hazel charcoal from the fill C34 of a pit and the 2 sigma calibrated date was 791–547BC (UBA 15417). The archaeology at Shankill 5 represents a temporary settlement that may be related to small scale burnt mound activity that has been dated to the early Iron Age. Evidence from the archaeological landscape confirms that this area was not intensely settled in prehistory and was associated with small temporary settlement and burnt mound sites. The nature and date of the findings at Shankill 5 are important locally as it confirms the nature of the landscape in the early Iron Age.

Item Type: Other
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Publisher: National Monuments Service. Transport Infrastructure Ireland
Date Deposited: 20 May 2021 10:54
Last Modified: 20 May 2021 10:54
DOI or Identification number: 10.7486/DRI.k643qk38w
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14914

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