Eachtra Journal

ISSN 2009-2237

Early medieval kilns and medieval moated site with associated annexe at Busherstown, Co. Offaly

February, 2012 · Written by: Eachtra Print This Page This entry is part 2 of 5 in the Issue 13

Archaeological Excavation Report

Early medieval kilns and medieval moated site with associated annexe

Archaeological excavation of the site at Busherstown revealed a complex multi-period site with six phases of activity. In broad outline they confirmed the use of the area from the Early Neolithic period to the present time. The first period of activity was prehistoric in date and comprised a small assemblage of lithics and a circular structure (Structure A) dated on typological grounds to the Bronze Age. The second phase was dated to the early medieval period, when the area was used for cereal processing, as evidenced by the discovery of at least 17 cereal-drying kilns and a further seven possible kilns. The majority of the kilns were located in a line that extended for a distance of 80 m in a NW-SE direction. The firing chambers of the kiln were for the most part located at the NE. A small number of the kilns were partially enclosed (Structures D and E). The third phase of activity was defined by an enclosure (ditches C.68 and 447) which was probably contemporary with the cereal processing. The continuous use of the area of the enclosure in the medieval period was confirmed when certain areas of the site were enclosed through the construction of deep, wide ditches (ditches C.54 and C.63). The ditches (ditches C.227 and C.78) were re-cut in the later medieval period to function as an annexe to a moated site. A substantial ditch, 5.5 m wide by 1.7 m deep, defined the moated site. Only the southern corner of the moated site was located within the road corridor. However, the entire outline can be clearly seen in aerial photographs of the adjoining field to the north-east. Two structures (C and D) were contemporary with the moated site. The post-medieval period was represented by a large number of furrows crossing the site and material which had been dumped into the top fills of the ditches. The site was levelled in the recent past.

Authors: Ewelina Chrobak, Jacinta Kiely and Tori McMorran

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