206210 132800; 206098 132205; 206075 131995
Sites 147.1, 146.1 and Site 143.1, located in the townland of Marlhill, in the parish of Knockgraffon, Co. Tipperary, were excavated along a section of the N8 Cashel to Mitchelstown road improvement scheme. The sites were first identified during testing carried out during August 2005 (Excavations 2005, No. 1412, 05E0877).
Site 143.1 was located in a relatively flat field of pasture. Following topsoil-stripping, the site consisted of an isolated pit cremation. The area investigated measured c. 15m (east–west) by 15m. The cremation was contained within a circular pit that measured 0.4m in diameter and 0.24m in depth. The pit was filled by blackish-brown silty clay of loose compaction. This deposit contained frequent fragments of cremated bone and charcoal as well as occasional inclusions of heat-affected stone. A charcoal sample from the cremation pit gave a calibrated radiocarbon date of 1463–1367 bc.
Site 146.1 was located in a noticeably level area of a well-drained pasture field that sloped gradually to the east. Following topsoil-stripping, the site consisted of five small post-holes that were situated c. 1–2m from the western edge of the CPO corridor. The area investigated measured c. 15m (east–west) by 15m. The post-holes measured 0.14–0.22m in diameter and 0.14–0.3m in depth. No datable finds were recovered from any of the post-holes and they did not form a coherent pattern.
Site 147.1 was located in a medium-sized pasture field, near the base of a small valley. According to the landowner, the field was prone to extensive flooding in the winter. Following topsoil-stripping, the site consisted of four subcircular pits and an associated post-hole. The area investigated measured a maximum 12m (east–west) by 42m. The four pits excavated measured 1.1–2.15m in diameter and 0.14–0.53m in depth. They occurred in two sets of two, with c. 30m separating each pairing. All four pits excavated were filled by charcoal-rich deposits containing frequent inclusions of burnt stone. This distinctive fill is reminiscent of burnt-mound material and might suggest that these features are related to this activity. A charcoal sample from one of the pits gave a calibrated radiocarbon date of 1757–1605 bc.
Post-excavation work for all three sites is ongoing.
Colm Moriarty, Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd, 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.
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