Total number of assets (1)
This browser does not support viewing this file type. Please download the asset to view.
Irish Archaeological Consultancy Ltd (IAC), funded by Westmeath County Council (WCC) and the National Roads Authority (NRA), undertook an excavation in the townland of Tober at the site of Tober 1 in advance of the proposed N6 Phase 2: Kilbeggan to Athlone Dual Carriageway Scheme (Figure 1). The following report describes the final results of archaeological fieldwork at that site. The area was fully excavated by Fintan Walsh under Ministerial Direction (A016/051) and NMS Registration Number E2677 issued by the DOEHLG in consultation with the National Museum of Ireland. The fieldwork took place between 7 December 2005 and 3 February 2006. The site at Tober constituted a well-defined circular house structure (c. 10m diameter) with associated ancillary features/structures and a surrounding fence line. Radiocarbon dating from various features across the site produced dates ranging from the 14th to 9th centuries BC. The site occupied a relatively low-lying setting surrounded to the southwest by rolling arable land and by marginal land to the north and northeast. The main focus of the site was centred around the house structure (Structure A) which was a circular late Bronze Age house defined by a circle of large structural postholes or internal roof support posts (c. 7m diameter) and an outer circle of posts (c. 10m diameter) that would have defined the basis for a wattle wall. It is presumed that the roof would have been thatched. The house had a large central hearth, internal divisions identified by lines of stakeholes within the floor area, and numerous pits inside, and outside the house. Two ‘four post’ structures which were positioned to the south of the house may have been elevated grain silos. The surrounding fence line was defined by three lines of stakeholes, one to the north and two to the south of the house. These extended beyond the limit of excavation to the east and west and the projected line of the stakes suggest that they completely encircled the site, creating an enclosed area c. 27m diameter. A small quantity of pottery from at least three late Bronze Age vessels were recovered from posthole fills of one of the ‘four post’ structures. Few lithics were present, and only a few pieces of burnt flint were recovered, however a hammerstone and sandstone spindle whorl were recovered from two pits. A small, but important, assemblage of burnt animal bone was identified from various pits, postholes and hearth fills and included sheep/goat, pig, cattle and fish. Small quantities of carbonised grain, including wheat and most prominently barley, were recovered. Carbonised hazelnut shell was also recovered from one of the pits. A comprehensive charcoal environmental assessment was undertaken on 3037 fragments from 99 samples and identified 12 taxa with oak the main species present, furthermore the assessment suggests that the house was constructed of oak. A phosphate and magnetic susceptibility assessment was also undertaken which aided interpretation of use of space within the house structure. A geophysical survey undertaken immediately adjacent to, and outside the limits of the excavation to the west was undertaken to assess the archaeological potential of the areas surrounding Tober. This was inconclusive but did tentatively suggest a potential for further buildings/features in this location. Tober was positioned within a distinct Bronze Age landscape which is well populated with burnt mounds. It was located just 1.5km to the south of the important late Bronze Age lakeshore settlement at Ballinderry 2 and it is 20km northeast of the settlement at Clonfinlough which consisted of the remains of at least two late Bronze Age houses. Earlier Bronze Age settlement is also known in the general area at Knockdomny positioned 5.5km to the WNW.