Pits, post-holes and linear features
A026/012, A026/013, A026/015, A026/016;
Possible archaeological features were identified as part of test-trenching the proposed N7 route in early 2006. All sites were situated on low pastureland to the north-west of Ballinahinch village.
A026/012 and A026/013 were opened as a single trench (2050m2). Both archaeological and modern agricultural features were identified throughout this site. Outcrops of bedrock were present, particularly in the north of the site. Numerous pits, stake-holes, post-holes and linear features were recorded. No structural elements were apparent during the excavation but may become so in post-excavation analysis. The site was significantly truncated by a series of furrows, and these relate to agricultural activity. A relatively modern ditch was also identified. Scatters of stake-holes were uncovered throughout the site, but no distinct pattern was discernible. A line of four stake-holes, with a possible pit at one end, was identified and the line was orientated south-west/north-east. Another line of three post-holes was found c. 40m to the west. Perhaps the most immediately interesting feature was a pit cut near the centre of the trench. Sixteen fills were identified within the pit and the lower of these fills represented in situ burning. Three stake-holes were also found in the base of the pit. A linear feature cut through the upper fills of the pit and this was probably a furrow. Cremated bone was recovered from two of the lower fills. The bone has not yet been identified, but the fragments are very small and the volume is low. In addition, two very smooth stones were recovered from the pit.
A possible coin, made from copper alloy, was recovered from the fill of a possible drain. This will be submitted to Heritage Care for conservation. Pottery was recovered from a number of features including furrows, pits and post-holes. Post-excavation analysis will reveal more on the nature of the pottery. A large number of samples were also recovered from the site during the excavation, mostly consisting of soil samples. Relevant charcoal will be processed from a selection of features for identification and radiocarbon dating.
A026/015 was a small site, contained within a farm access track within the CPO. Three features were excavated, but none were found to be archaeological in nature. No finds were recorded from the site.
A026/016 consisted of a series of possibly archaeological pits and stake-holes, and ditches and other features that were non-archaeological in nature. There were four pits that may be archaeological. These were medium-sized pits (one rectangular, three subcircular), which contained quite homogeneous fills. Similarly, two stake-holes were situated in the centre of the trench. No finds were associated with these features, but soil samples have been taken. A number of ditches were identified that were related both to partially extant field boundaries and drainage systems. These include two ditch features, identified as probably the same boundary with a gap where an entrance had been. This site was deemed non-archaeological in the test-trenching report, and much of the activity recorded in it is likely to be related to the nearby farm dwelling house that was recently demolished. No finds were recorded from the site.
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