A burnt spread was discovered in Sranagalloon townland in north Co. Clare during test excavations on the route of the N18 Gort to Crusheen road scheme carried out by the writer for Galway County Council. The site lies at 34.35m OD and was situated on the edge of wetland with a steep slope to the north. This field is currently under pasture. Sangalloon 3 was excavated in May 2008.
The burnt mound comprised compact, heat-fractured limestone within a charcoal/peat matrix. It measured 15m north–south by 20m and survived to a depth of 0.51m. The burnt stone was sealed under peat topsoil and lay directly on top of brown peat subsoil. Beneath this was a yellow/grey undulating and pitted subsoil.
Cut into this were the remains of a deep trough C28, a shallow trough C50 and three pits C19, C4 and C24, all of which were revealed following the removal of the burnt-stone spread material. The site is described in several phases; all occurred within the Bronze Age period.
The subcircular trough C28 measured 3.9m north–south by 3.4m by 0.96m deep. The trough contained 25 distinct deposits. Twelve partial timbers were situated at different elevations within a single deposit. Six of the remaining eight deposits appeared to have been the result of site debris and natural silting. The two lowest deposits within the trough appeared to have been deliberately packed into the base. A worked wooden handle with axe marks was located within the base deposit. Five stake-holes (0.07m in average diameter) were identified on the northern edge of C28. A fragment of animal bone was recovered from the upper deposit of the trough. The entire feature was finally sealed by mound material and topsoil.
An oval pit C24 (2.1m east–west by 1.52m by 0.65m deep) was located 5.33m south-west of trough C28. C24 contained two deposits, one the result of natural silting, the other redeposited natural subsoil. C24 was sealed by the burnt-mound material from Phase 3.
The pit C19 (1.8m east–west by 1.08m by 0.3m deep) was an irregular oval feature containing four separate deposits and was sealed by the burnt mound. C19 was located 4.2m west of the trough C28 and was sealed by the burnt-mound material from Phase 3.
Abandonment, resulting in a natural peat formation over Phase 1.
This consisted of a shallow rectangular wood-lined trough C50 (2.7m east–west by 1.8m by 0.2m deep), 6m south-south-west of trough C28, which contained 21 deposits. Eighteen individual linear timbers were placed at the base of the feature on the natural subsoil. The remaining three deposits were the result of human activity. An animal bone was located above the timbers. The entire feature was finally sealed by mound material and topsoil.
A small pit C4 (1.2m by 1m by 0.55m deep), 11m south-west of the trough C28, contained one deposit of light-brown peat. This feature acted as a sump during excavation and was constantly waterlogged; this may have been its original function. Two lithic blades were located 0.5m north of C4 during the removal of burnt-mound material on what appeared to be an intact old ground surface. The entire feature and site was finally sealed by topsoil.
An adjacent burnt spread and mound, Gortafricka 1 and 2 (see Nos 126 and 127 above), were discovered 250–295m to the west of Sranagalloon 3.
Jo Nunan, IAC Ltd, 120b Greenpark Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow.
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