Urban and suburban
161018.7894 127840.4508; 160645.9382 128097.6228
An impact assessment was carried out on behalf of Limerick County Council as pre-planning for the upgrading of the sewerage system in the town of Kilmallock. As part of the assessment a total of 37 test-trenches were opened by mechanical digger in eight areas, within and surrounding the town of Kilmallock.
Areas 1–4 were located on the outskirts of the town; all test-trenches in these areas contained no archaeology. Area 5 was situated immediately north of the medieval town boundary on Glenfield Road. Three cuttings were placed parallel to the existing footpath to the north of the Catholic church. Several potential archaeological features were identified at a depth of 0.6–1.1m from the road surface. A ditch was identified in all three trenches (Trenches 9–11); this was orientated north-east/south-west and measured c. 150m long by 1m wide. A total depth of the feature could not be ascertained, due to kerosene contamination in Trenches 9 and 10. The feature was excavated to a depth of 0.8m. At the junction of Seares Street and Glenfield Road, Trench 11 identified the possible remains of part of a stone wall. Within the test-trench the wall was located to the south-east corner. The existing sewer pipe appeared to have caused some damage to the structure. The wall comprised large faced blocks of stone with rubble infill and was orientated north–south and was identified at a depth of 0.45m from the road surface. Several post-medieval drains were also identified within Trench 9 in Area 5.
Area 6 was a greenfield site located north of Wolfe Tone Street and west of the River Loobagh. An Elizabethan map of Kilmallock c. 1600 identified this field as a small island. A stone building with a bridge connecting the island to the mainland was drawn on the map. The island was backfilled in modern times.
A total of eight test-trenches were opened in this field and several structural features were identified. Approximately 10m of a medieval stone wall was located in three of the trenches (12, 14 and 16), with a small stone drain abutting it to the south. The wall was orientated east–west, consisted of large rectangular stone blocks with rubble infill and was 1.2m wide. The top of the wall was identified 0.85m from the surface, the base at a depth of 1.25m. A number of medieval deposits overlay the wall. A trench located to the south-west of the medieval wall (Trench 13) revealed a subcircular stone structure and was possibly the remains of a kiln. It measured c. 4m long with 1.4m exposed in width. A possible flue was identified orientated in the direction of the kiln. The kiln structure was located 1m from the surface.
Trenches 17–19 were located south of the medieval wall. Here, a rectangular stone building was located, orientated north–south. It measured 6.5m long by 4.5m wide. The walls of the building consisted of angular stones with an average width of 0.8m. A paved area, stone wall and possible stone culvert were located to the south of the building. A number of deposits overlay the building including a modern rubble dump deposit.
Area 7 was located north of Area 6. It was a greenfield site, with the River Loobagh forming the field boundary to the north and east. Six test-trenches were excavated. In Trench 24 a large sub-oval pit was identified measuring 3.7m long by 2.1m wide. It was filled with grey organic clay silt with bone and charcoal. The pit was located 0.79–0.9m from the surface. Several post-medieval drains were also identified to the south-east of the field.
Area 8 was located north of Area 7 in the playing field of Coláiste Iosaef. The standing medieval town wall formed a boundary to the west. Here a total of twelve trenches were opened. A stone wall and field drain were identified in Trench 26. The wall was orientated north-west/south-east and was randomly coursed with a width of 0.85m and a depth of 0.6m. In Trench 33 at a depth of 2.4m a shallow pit containing burnt-mound material was identified. It measured 0.9m long by 0.9m wide, was 0.07m deep and was filled with loosely compacted black/brown silt clay with frequent heat-shattered sandstone and charcoal throughout. No archaeology was identified in any of the other trenches in this area. The playing field stratigraphy contained thick modern rubble deposits created from a demolished prefab building.
Finds recovered from the assessment include several post-medieval pottery sherds. A sherd of Frechen stoneware was recovered from Trench 11, Area 5, and a medieval pottery sherd was recovered from Trench 12, Area 6.
Tara Doyle, Headland Archaeology Ltd, Unit 1, Wallingstown Business Park, Little Island, Cork.
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