Tipperary
2006:1933
Site AR33, Borris, Twomileborris
Ringfort, enclosure, inhumation cemetery, kiln, furrows, prehistoric pits
219538 157496
TI042–052
E2376
An excavation commenced in August and continued into 2007 in advance of the construction of the M8/N8 Cullahill to Cashel road improvement scheme, the Twomileborris to Turnpike link road. Prior assessment and centreline test-trenching was carried out in 2005 (Excavations 2005, No. 1388, A027/006). The site is located in Twomileborris village, immediately south of the deserted medieval settlement and tower-house, ruined church and graveyard and ringfort or ringwork.
Excavation revealed multi-period settlement, mostly Early Christian in date, with prehistoric features less common. However, a cremation cemetery was also located 50m to the north-west of the enclosure complex (see No. 1932 above, E2375). Three large enclosures (A, B and C) were situated on an east-facing slope overlooking the Black River. The earliest was a subcircular enclosure measuring c. 60m in diameter (Enclosure B). This consisted of a penannular V-shaped ditch, on average 1.6m in width and 0.6m in depth. The entrance consists of a causeway in the south-east. Large post-holes thought to represent a defended gateway were noted in this area.
The next phase of activity was represented by the construction of a second smaller enclosure (Enclosure A). Enclosure A was circular and measured c. 32m in diameter, within Enclosure B (indeed the ditch of A had partly truncated the ditch of B at the north-west). Traces of an internal bank were noted at the north-east. The ditch measured an average of 3m in width and 1.6m in depth. It was V-shaped with a flat base. The surviving traces of the internal bank measured 3m in width and 0.32m in height. Numerous features were present in the interior of the enclosure, including post-holes, shallow pits and a circular bowl furnace, 0.35m in diameter.
An Early Christian cemetery of nineteen individuals was identified within Enclosure B and to the south of Enclosure A. Burial was orientated east–west and it was thought to be a formal cemetery. A well-preserved copper alloy ring pin of 8th/9th-century date was found with one individual.
To the east of the circular enclosures a portion of a large subrectangular ditch (Enclosure C) was excavated. The ditch measures an average of 3.4m in width and 1.6m in depth. The ditch was V-shaped in profile with a flat base and was rock-cut in part. This ditch extends north–south for 28m and turns to run east–west for a further 12m. The relationship of Enclosure C to Enclosures A and B is as yet unclear.
A number of features are present in the area between Enclosures C and B, including two corn-drying kilns and a circular platform bounded by a shallow ditch. To the east of Enclosure C was a large pit, measuring 16m by 6m and an average of 1.4m in depth. It is unclear if this feature represented a well or fishpond.
Finds from this site included iron knives, whetstones, a stone gaming board, quern fragments, iron arrowheads, a lead weight, a bone point, a flint thumb scraper and a sherd of coarse prehistoric pottery.
Prehistoric activity in the form of numerous pits and post-holes is present to the east of Enclosure C.
Mick Ó Droma, for Valerie J. Keeley Ltd, Brehon House, Kilkenny Road, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny.


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