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Archaeological excavation report, E3838 Shankill 4, County Carlow

Jennings, RP and Coughlan, T (2012) Archaeological excavation report, E3838 Shankill 4, County Carlow. National Monuments Service. Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin..

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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 AR130, Shankill 4 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 E3838 issued by the DoEHLG in consultation with the National Museum of Ireland for IAC. The fieldwork took place between the 17 December 2007 and 8 January 2008. The excavation has identified a cluster of postholes, stakeholes, pits and a hearth that have been interpreted as a sub-rectangular or sub-oval temporary structure. A second small structure consisting of stakeholes and postholes was recorded to the north. The exact plan of the main structure was difficult to ascertain due to its ephemeral nature. Unlike formal Bronze Age houses that would have very defined elements, this small structure consisted of a somewhat irregular arrangement of stakeholes. Other arrangements of post/stakeholes on the periphery of the structure may represent windbreaks or fences, but could equally be parts of the structure itself. Two probable boundary fences were identified to the east and north of the structures and consisted of stakes/posts that had wide and irregular intervals between, but two clear perpendicular lines could be identified. To the south and west of the structures there were further features primarily in the form of pits, but with some isolated postholes and stakeholes. Two of the pits contained sherds of pottery, while heat shattered stone, flint debitage, charcoal, burnt bone and hazelnut shells were also identified from some of the other pits. It is interpreted that some of the pits functioned as waste pits, possibly associated with the structure. Further possible waste pits were recorded in the south of the site, away from the structures. Some of these pits contained heat shattered stones within their fills, so may be waste pits associated with burnt mound activity or may have functioned as pot-boilers. It is unclear if they were related to the structures to the north. Two of the waste pits were dated to the early Bronze Age, one from the south of the site and one from near the structures. While the structures themselves were undated it is likely that all of the activity on the site was broadly contemporary. The site therefore may have been a campsite linked to burnt mound activity. The pottery retrieved has been identified as a domestic variant cordoned urn and represents one, and possibly up to three domestic vessels. Although the assemblage is small (six sherds) it represents an important addition to distribution of Bronze Age pottery in the region. The lithics are characterised predominantly by debitage and flakes, and the lack of diagnostic artefacts and the small size of the assemblage means that it has been interpreted by Sternke as making a minor contribution to the archaeological record for the area. A total of two samples were sent for AMS radiocarbon dating. The results of the analysis dated charred hazelnut from the fill C81 of a pit. The 2 sigma calibrated date was 2140–1880BC (SUERC 30111). The results of the analysis dated ash charcoal from the fill C78 of a pit. The 2 sigma calibrated date was 2193–2030BC (UBA 12238). The archaeology at Shankill 4 represents a temporary settlement that may be related to small scale burnt mound activity. 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 findings at Shankill are important locally as it confirms the nature of the landscape in the early Bronze Age.

Item Type: Other
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Publisher: National Monuments Service. Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dublin.
Date Deposited: 20 May 2021 10:58
Last Modified: 20 May 2021 10:58
DOI or Identification number: 10.7486/DRI.qz216b70s
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14916

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