Site AR33, Borris, Twomileborris
Ringfort, enclosure, inhumation cemetery, kiln, furrows, prehistoric pits
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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