Site 151.3, Dogstown
The site at Dogstown was located in a large open stubble field close to an access road in the grounds of Rockwell College. It was situated on a slight rise in undulating lowland with the Galtee Mountains on the horizon to the south-west and came to light during testing in 2005. The site was located c. 110m south of two further sites, 151.1 and 151.2 (see No. 1851 above), and c. 400m south-east of the deserted medieval village of Dogstown. The site has been repeatedly ploughed and deep ploughing in the 1970s considerably disturbed the semi-decayed underlying limestone bedrock, resulting in the truncation of the archaeological remains.
The excavation took place in April 2006 as part of the N8 road improvement scheme. The site was stripped using a mechanical digger under supervision. Two main phases of activity were recorded, the earliest probably dating to the Bronze Age, with a later phase of activity represented by intercutting agricultural features which may date to the medieval period.
Phase 1, Bronze Age
The remains of three possible structures were identified in Phase 1. Seven post-holes located approximately at the centre of the excavated area appear to form part of the outline of a rectangular building which measured 3m north-east/south-west by 2.4m (Structure 1). The uprights were set c. 1.2m apart. The structure was incomplete and had a central line of support posts. There was an indication of repair posts or a second line of uprights on the north-west side. The post-holes were substantial and ranged in diameter from 0.17m to 0.7m. All the posts were vertically positioned. The fills were charcoal-enriched organic soils, four of which contained deposits of cremated bone. There was no indication of a possible entrance.
An arrangement of four post-holes formed a linear structure at the south-west end of the excavated area (Structure 2). The overall length was 7m and it extended in an east–west direction. The post-holes were substantial and ranged in diameter from 0.2m to 0.5m. The average depth was in excess of 0.2m. The fills were charcoal-enriched silty soils, one of which contained a deposit of cremated bone.
Part of the northern perimeter of a curvilinear structure was excavated at the south-east end of the excavated area (Structure 3). The remainder of the structure appears to have been destroyed during the construction of the adjacent access road to Rockwell College. The perimeter may have been formed by a double row of posts. The features were severely truncated and were 0.2–0.3m in diameter and 0.06–0.18m in depth. The fills were silty clays with charcoal inclusions. Two food vessel sherds were recorded in pit F57. A possible outer ring of posts was recorded to the north.
A series of intercutting linear features which extended in an east–west and north–south direction were recorded throughout the excavated area. At least one of these truncated features of Phase 1 and they are considered to be of medieval date and may be related to similar features recorded on sites 151.2 and 151.5 to the north. It is thought that they may be associated with agricultural activity related to the deserted medieval village of Dogstown to the north-west.
Martin Doody, New Road, Portlaoise, Co. Laois on behalf of Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd.
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