Eachtra Journal

ISSN 2009-2237

An early medieval enclosure at Ballynacarriga, Co. Cork

May, 2011 · Written by: Eachtra Print This Page This entry is part 10 of 37 in the Issue 10

Archaeological Excavation Report

Early medieval enclosure

The site at Ballynacarriga 2 E2413 comprised a D-shaped enclosure on the edge of a limestone reef overlooking the Funshion River. The ditch enclosed the northern and eastern sides of the site. The edge of the reef was located on the western side. No convincing enclosing element was recorded on the south-western side. The entrance was likely to have been in the south-east. Structure 1, rectangular in plan, was located in the centre of the site. Structure 2 was located 5 m to the north-east. A small group of pits, possibly associated with metal-working was located to the immediate north-west of Structure 2. A group of pits, associated with the domestic occupation of the site, were located 10 m south of Structure 2. A dry-stone built souterrain was recorded in the north-western portion of the site. It comprised an entrance, passage and corbelled circular chamber. The entrance faced south-east. Five post-holes were located in the area of the entrance and may have formed a shelter or structure around the entrance.
Lithic stone tools, dating to the second half of the Neolithic were recovered from secondary contexts on site. Three coarse stone tools dating to the early medieval period were recovered from the ditch and the souterrain.  A small archaeometallurgy assemblage including slags from both iron smelting and smithing was recovered from the ditch, souterrain and features associated with Structure 2. The ditch was used as a repository for food waste. Over 2000 animal bone fragments, the majority identified as cattle and a small quantity of plant remains, wheat, barley and oats were recovered from the ditch fills. Five early medieval, between 6 th  and 9 th  century, radiocarbon dates were returned from the ditch, souterrain, Structure 1 and Structure 2.

Authors: Jacinta Kiely and John Lehane

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