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A second phase of assessment and centreline testing was carried out from June to August 2006 as part of the pre-construction archaeological resolution contract for the M8/N8 Cullahill to Cashel road improvement scheme. Testing was intermittent and conducted on several areas not carried out in the original phase of testing in September/October 2005 (see McQuade, Molloy, Moriarty, Phelan and Ward, Excavations 2005, No, 1388, A027/001–011). Work was carried out on behalf of Kilkenny County Council. The M8/N8 scheme is located from Gortmakellis townland in Cashel, Co. Tipperary, to Oldtown, Cullahill, Co. Laois, and consists of a 39.5km route to tie in with the M7/M8 Portlaoise to Cullahill scheme south of Cullahill in Co. Laois and with the N8 Cashel bypass north of Cashel in South Tipperary. Assessment consisted of machine excavated centreline testing, with 20m interval offset trenches located across the width of the road-take. Work in 2006 was carried out at sites: AR2, Gortmakellis; AR9, Coolkip; AR14, Moycarky; AR16, Kilnoe; AR21, AR22 and AR24, Newtown; AR29, Rathkunikeen/Coolcroo, in Co. Tipperary; and AR53 and AR54, Glashare, in Co. Kilkenny.
Testing revealed three previously unknown archaeological sites, including pits and linear ditches (AR2, see No. 1867 below), pits and isolated hearth or pit-type features (AR9, see No. 1843 above) and a burnt mound (AR29, see No. 1842 above), whilst two areas (AR16, E2817, see No. 1900 below, and AR21, see No. 1906 below) also produced additional isolated features. Of the three archaeological sites, two (AR2, see No. 1867 below, and AR9, see No. 1843 above) exhibited evidence of multi-phase settlement activity. The five remaining test areas (AR14, AR22, AR24, AR53 and AR54) revealed no archaeological potential.
It was therefore recommended that further work be undertaken at five of the ten sites within this assessment.
Grace Fegan, Mick Ó Droma and Eoghan Moore, for Valerie J. Keeley Ltd, Brehon House, Kilkenny Road, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny.
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