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 the National Roads Authority (NRA) through Kilkenny County Council, undertook an excavation at the site of AR110, Blanchvillespark 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 Tim Coughlan under Ministerial Direction A032 and Excavation Registration Number E3914 issued by the DOEHLG in consultation with the National Museum of Ireland for IAC. The fieldwork took place in three separate stages between 26 and 27 February, 18 and 27 March and 22 and 28 April 2008. The site consisted of two separate burnt mounds with five troughs, two large possible cisterns and numerous small to medium sized pits in close vicinity. Burnt Mound 1 was situated in the east of the site. It was probably associated with Trough 1 and two other pits, situated to the south and west of the burnt mound deposit. Trough 1 was dated to the early Bronze Age. Burnt Mound 2 sealed two large, well defined troughs (Troughs 2 and 3), with a probable third associated trough (Trough 4) located on the southern margin of the burnt mound. All three troughs contained burnt mound material. Trough 2 had four postholes at each corner with one possible posthole towards the centre of the base as well as stakeholes. This indicates that the trough walls and base were probably lined with timber although none survived. Stakeholes around the perimeter of the trough on its north-west and north-east sides probably indicate wattle fencing or a windbreak. Trough 3 had five stakeholes along its base, with four of the stakeholes positioned at each corner. This suggests a probable lining of the trough, although no lining survived. Trough 4 was smaller in size to Troughs 2 and 3, and had no evidence of a lining. Eight inter-cutting pits, which included two large possible cisterns, were also sealed by Burnt Mound 2. This group of pits consisted of three small pits, later truncated by two large, possible cisterns, which in turn were truncated by three small pits. The function of the six small pits was unknown, although the two possible cisterns were probably contemporary with Trough 2 and were probably intended to retain water. Trough 2 was dated to the late Bronze Age. It is probable that Burnt Mound 2 actually represented the site of two separate burnt mounds, the mound deposits of which had become merged and indistinguishable. It is likely that Trough 2 and associated pits represented one phase of activity dated to the late Bronze Age with Trough 3 being a separate, undated phase to the northeast. An isolated trough (Trough 5), situated in the south-western periphery of the site, contained a flagstone lining of its base. No other features were evident in its immediate vicinity. Three isolated pits were also present on the site. Two of the pits contained burnt bone, and possibly functioned as waste pits. The site was later truncated by three stone lined field drains and two plough furrows. A total of three samples were sent for AMS radiocarbon dating. The results of the analysis dated willow charcoal from the fill C24 of Trough 1. The 2 sigma calibrated date was 1895–1753BC (UBA 14034). The results of the analysis also dated alder charcoal from the fill C124 of a pit (C80). The 2 sigma calibrated date was 909– 823BC (UBA 14035). The analysis dated hazel charcoal from the fill C67 of a trough (Trough 2) and returned a 2 sigma calibrated date of 997–846BC (UBA 14036). Blanchvillespark 4 produced evidence of burnt mound activity dated to the early and late Bronze Age in a marginal landscape that was prone to flooding. On the surface there appears to be nothing remarkable about the findings in their physical surroundings, and the identification of contemporary activity from nearby sites as well as other significant domestic settlement evidence in the vicinity indicates an established Bronze Age community. However, the site consisted of at least two separate burnt mounds, and probably three or more. There are also elements such as the stone lining of one of the troughs which combined with the multiple burnt mounds makes an interesting comparison to Ballyquirk 4 over 1km away in the adjacent townland. The basal stone lining of troughs from these two sites makes them unique in terms of the results from the overall N9/N10 Phase 4 scheme. The site is very important locally as it adds significantly to the other excavated evidence from the N9/N10 Phase 4. It is important regionally as the technology of the stone lined bases may indicate a society with slightly different cultural traditions and methods specific to this area. The site is also of importance in the wider regional study and understanding of burnt mounds and their function and form.