Site 161.3, Templenoe
Cremation cemetery
206442 306005
The site at Templenoe was situated in undulating lowland on a west-north-west break of slope. The site of a flat cemetery was initially uncovered during testing by Kara Ward in 2005 on the route of the N8 Cashel to Mitchelstown road improvement scheme when a series of cremation pits were recorded (Excavations 2005, No. 1456, 05E0876). The site was excavated between 26 April and 24 May 2006. An area of c. 2000m2 was mechanically stripped around the cremations under supervision. At least two phases of activity were recognised. Phase 1 related to the cremation cemetery, while Phase 2 was represented by linear ditches and possible agricultural features of undetermined date.
The flat cemetery, Phase 1, was located within an area c. 7m by 7m. All the features were dug into dark-brown boulder clay and many appeared to have been severely truncated. A total of 74 pits were recorded, of which 54 were found to contain cremated bone. Most of the graves appeared to have been arranged in six rows aligned in a west-north-west/east-south-east direction following the line of the break of slope. In addition, two separate clusters of pits were recorded at the north-western and south-western edges of the main grouping of graves.
Some stratigraphic sequencing was apparent, but no clear pattern emerged which might indicate a growth of the cemetery in any particular direction.
Most of the pits were roughly circular in plan and measured between 0.2m and 0.64m in diameter and 0.020.48m in depth. The fills comprised loose, charcoal-rich silty clay deposits. The volume of cremated bone was quite small overall and twenty pits contained no trace of cremated bone. This is thought to be due to the truncated nature of most of the graves. The bone was well cremated and was preserved in small fragments only and had the appearance of having been crushed. Two small tanged flint arrowheads were found in grave pits F58 and F238. Apart from these, no other artefacts were recorded.
The features in Phase 2 comprised two parallel linear ditches at the southern end of the excavated area and a series of intercutting narrow linear features, probably agricultural in origin, that are mainly confined to the southern part of the site south of linear ditch F62.
Martin Doody, New Road, Portlaoise, Co. Laois, for Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd.

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