Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-559fc8cf4f-x5fd4 Total loading time: 16.139 Render date: 2021-03-06T02:55:36.141Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Excavation and Environmental Analysis of a Neolithic Mound and Iron Age Barrow Cemetery at Rathdooney Beg, County Sligo, Ireland

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 February 2014

Charles Mount
Affiliation:
The Heritage Council, Kilkenny, Ireland
D.A. Weir
Affiliation:
4 Mount Michael Drive, Belfast
B. Collins
Affiliation:
Stoat Cottage, Co. Dublin
P. Lynch
Affiliation:
San Mateo, Lispopple, Swords, Co. Dublin
A. O'Sullivan
Affiliation:
The Discovery Programme, 13–15 Hatch Street Lower, Dublin
M. Deevy
Affiliation:
The Discovery Programme, 13–15 Hatch Street Lower, Dublin

Abstract

Excavations and environmental analysis of a mound and two barrows indicate that activity commenced within the range 3930–3520 cal BC with the construction of a large mound enclosed by a substantial ditch on a drumlin which had been largely cleared to grassland. A pollen sequence recovered from the fosse indicates that the drumlin remained under grassland for some time. It was still under grassland in the Iron Age when a pair of sequential barrows was constructed about the period 380 cal BC–cal AD 80. The earlier bowl barrow covered a pyre site with remains of an inhumation burial, and the later saucer barrow contained three token cremation deposits in the low mound and ditch, the last associated with the iron fittings from a wooden artefact. Pollen analysis of the ditch sequences from the barrows indicates that the drumlin remained open and heather-covered.

Résumé

Des fouilles et une analyse de l’environnement d’un tumulus et de deux tertres indiquent que le site était entré en activité dans la fourchette 3930–3520 av. J.-C. en années calibrées avec la construction d’un important tumulus entouré d’un fossé substantiel sur une crête qui avait été en grande partie défrichée et mise en herbe. Une séquence de pollen récupérée d’un fossé indique que la crête est restée en herbage pendant un certain temps. Elle était encore couverte d’herbe à l’âge du fer quand une paire de tertres séquentiels fut construite vers 380 av. J.-C. et 80 ap.J.-C en années calibrées. Le tertre en rond, plus ancien, couvrait le site d’un bûcher funéraire recelant les restes d’une inhumation, et le tertre en forme de soucoupe, plus tardif contenait trois témoignages de dépôts de crémation dans la partie basse du tumulus et le fossé, ce dernier associé avec des ferrures provenant d’une boîte. L’analyse pollinique des séquences des fossés des tertres indique que la crête était restée non-boisée et était recouverte de bruyère.

Zusammenfassung

Die Ausgrabungen und Analyse des Umlands eines Hügels und zweier Hügelgräber weisen darauf hin, dass eine Belegung innerhalb der Zeitspanne von 3930–3520 cal BC mit der Konstruktion eines großen Hügels begann, der von einem solidem Graben auf einem Drumlin umgeben war, der größtenteils zu Grasland gereinigt war. Eine Pollensequenz aus dem Graben zeigr, dass der Drumlin für einige Zeit unter dem Grasland blieb. Er war noch während der Eisenzeit unter Grasland, als ein Paar zusammenhängender Hügelgräber in der Periode um cal BC 380 – cal AD 80 angelegt wurden. Das ältere schalenförmige Hügelgrab bedeckte dabei einen Verbrennungsplatz mit Resten eines Körpergrabes. Das spätere untertassenförmige Hügelgrab enthielt drei symbolische Verbrennungsschichten im flachen Hügel und im Graben, wobei das letztere mit den Eisenhalterungen von einer Kiste assoziiert war. Pollenanalysen der Grabensequenzen von den Hügelgräbern zeigen, dass der Drumlin offen blieb und von Heidekraut bewachsen wurde.

Résumen

La excavación y análisis medio-ambiental de un túmulo alargado y dos redondos indica que la actividad comenzó entre 3930–3520 cal BC con la construcción de un gran túmulo alargado rodeado por un considerable foso en una zona que había sido casi completamente despejado de vegetación y dejado como pasto. Una secuencia de pólenes recuperada del foso indica que el terreno permaneció cubierto de hierba durante algún tiempo. Permanecía aún cubierto en la Edad del Hierro cuando se construyeron un par de túmulos redondos alrededor del periodo 380 cal BC – 80 cal AD. El más antiguo, un túmulo tipo “bowl” cubría una pira con restos de un enterramiento por inhumación. El segundo túmulo, del tipo “saucer”, contenía tres depósitos cremados simbólicos en el túmulo inferior y foso. Este último estaba asociado con los adornos de hierro de una caja. El análisis palinológico de la secuencia del foso de los túmulos indica que el terreno permaneció abierto y cubierto con brezos.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Prehistoric Society 1999

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Bellinger, E.G. 1992. A Key to Common Algae (4th edn). London: Institute of Water & Environmental Management.Google Scholar
Bengtsson, L. & Enell, M. 1986. Chemical analysis. In Berglund, B.E. (ed.), Handbook of Holocene Palaeoecology and Palaeohydrology, 423–51. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
Bennett, K.D., Whittington, G. & Edwards, K.J. 1994. Recent plant nomenclature changes and pollen morphology in the British Isles. Quaternary Newsletter 73, 16.Google Scholar
Bergh, S. 1995. Landscape of the Monuments: a study of the passage tombs in the Cuil Irra region, Co. Sligo, Ireland. Stockholm: Riksantikarieämbetet Arkeologiska under-sökningar Skrifter 6.Google Scholar
Bradley, R. 1993. Altering the Earth. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph 8.Google Scholar
Brindley, A. & Lanting, J.N. 1989/1990. Radiocarbon dates for Neolithic single burials. Journal of Irish Archaeology 5, 17.Google Scholar
Chambers, F.M. & Elliot, L. 1989. Spread and expansion of Alnus Mill, in the British Isles: timing, agencies and possible vectors. Journal of Biogeography 16, 541–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clark, R.L. 1984. Effects on charcoal of pollen preparation procedures. Pollen et Spores 26, 559–76.Google Scholar
Cooney, G. & Grogan, E. 1991. An archaeological solution to the ‘Irish’ problem? Emania 9, 3343.Google Scholar
Cooney, G. & Grogan, E. 1994. Irish Prehistory: a social perspective. Bray, Co. Wicklow: Wordwell.Google Scholar
Cruickshank, J.G. 1972. Soil Geography. Newton Abbot, David & Charles.Google Scholar
Dean, W.E. 1974. Determination of carbonate and organic matter in calcareous sediments and sedimentary rocks by loss on ignition: comparison with other methods. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 44, 242–8.Google Scholar
Dean, W.E. & Gorman, E. 1976. Major chemical and mineral components of profundal surface sediments in Minnesota lakes. Limnology and Oceanography 21, 259–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dickson, J.H. 1978. Bronze Age mead. Antiquity 52, 108–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dimbleby, G.W. 1985. The Palynology of Archaeological Sites. London: Academic.Google Scholar
Dodson, J.R. & Bradshaw, R.W. 1987. A history of vegetation and fire, 6,600 B.P. to present, County Sligo, western Ireland. Boreas 16, 113–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ellis, R.A. 1926. British Snails. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
Eogan, G. 1974. Report on the excavation of some passage graves, unprotected inhumation burials and a settlement site at Knowth, Co. Meath. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 74C, 11112.Google Scholar
Eogan, G. 1984. Excavations at Knowth 1. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy.Google Scholar
Faegri, K., Iversen, J. & Krzywinski, K. 1989. Textbook of Pollen Analysis (4th edn). Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
Gibson, A. 1994. Excavations at the Sarn-y-bryn-caled cursus complex, Welshpool, Powys, and the timber circles of Great Britain and Ireland. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 60, 143223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Godwin, H. 1975. The History of the British Flora (2nd edn). Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
Gowen, M. 1988. Three Irish Gas Pipelines: new archaeological evidence in Munster. Bray, Co. Wicklow: Wordwell.Google Scholar
Greig, J. 1988. Some evidence of the development of grassland plant communities. In Jones, M.K. (ed.), Archaeology and the Flora of the British Isles, 3954. Oxford: University Committee for Archaeology.Google Scholar
Greig-Smith, P. 1948. Biological flora of the British Isles: Urtica dioica L. Journal of Ecology 36, 343–51.Google Scholar
Grime, J.P., Hodgson, J.G. & Hunt, R. 1988. Comparative Plant Ecology: a functional approach to common British species. London: Unwin Hyman.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grimm, E.C. 1991. TILIA and TILIA.Graph. Springfield, Illinois State Museum.Google Scholar
Grogan, E. 1988a. The pipeline sites and the prehistory of the Limerick area. In Gowen, M. (ed.), 1988, 148–57.Google Scholar
Grogan, E. 1988b. Ring-ditch and enclosed cremation pits Shanaclogh, Co. Limerick. In Gowen, M. (ed.), 1988, 7880.Google Scholar
Grogan, E. 1988c. Ring-barrow and outer ring-ditch with associated enclosed features, Duntryleague, Co. Limerick. In Gowen, M. (ed.), 1988, 72–8.Google Scholar
Grogan, E. 1988d. Concentric curvilinear ditches and pit Duntryleague, Co. Limerick. In Gowen, M. (ed.), 1988, 7880.Google Scholar
Harris, E.C. 1979. Principles of Archaeological Stratigraphy. London: Academic.Google Scholar
Hartnett, P.J. 1971. The excavation of two tumuli at Fourknocks (Sites II and III), Co. Meath, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 71C, 3589.Google Scholar
Havinga, A.J. 1974. Problems in the interpretation of the pollen diagrams of mineral soils. Geologie en Mijnbouw 53, 449–53.Google Scholar
Jacobson, G.L. & Bradshaw, R.H.W. 1981. The selection of sites for palaeoenvironmental studies. Quaternary Research 16, 8096.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keeley, V.J. 1996. Ballydavis.: Early Iron Age complex. In Bennett, I. (ed.), Excavations 1995, 51–2. Bray, Co. Wicklow: Wordwell.Google Scholar
Kent, D.H. 1992. List of the Vascular Plants of the British Isles. London: Botanical Society of the British Isles.Google Scholar
Kerney, M.P. & Cameron, R.A.D. 1979. A Field Guide to the Land Snails of Britain and North-West Europe. London: Collins.Google Scholar
Kilbride-Jones, H.E. 1939. The excavation of a composite tumulus at Drimnagh, Co. Dublin. Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 69, 190220.Google Scholar
Kilbride-Jones, H.E. 1950. The excavation of a composite early Iron Age monument with ‘henge’ features at Lugg, Co. Dublin. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 53C, 311–32.Google Scholar
Kinness, I. 1992. Balnagowan and after: the context of non-megalithic mortuary sites in Scotland. In Sharpies, N. & Sheridan, A. (eds), Vessels for the Ancestors, 83103. Edinburgh: University Press.Google Scholar
Leerssen, J. 1996. Remembrance and Imagination. Patterns in the Historical and Literary Representation of Ireland in the Nineteenth Century. Cork: University Press.Google Scholar
Lynn, C.J. 1991. Knockaulin (Dún Ailinne) and Navan some architectural comparisons. Emania 8, 51–9.Google Scholar
Manning, A., Birley, R. & Tipping, R. 1997. Roman impact on the environment at Hadrian's Wall: precisely dated pollen analysis from Vindolanda, northern England. The Holocene 7, 175–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Manning, C. 1985. A Neolithic burial mound at Ashley Park, Co. Tipperary. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 85c, 61100.Google Scholar
Macleod, D., Monk, M. & Williams, T. 1987/1988. The use of the single context recording system on a seasonally excavated site in Ireland: a learning experience. Journal of Irish Archaeology 4, 5563.Google Scholar
McKinley, J.I. 1997. Bronze Age ‘barrows’ and funerary rites and rituals of cremation. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 63, 129–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McMillan, N.F. 1968. British Shells. London: Frederick Warne.Google Scholar
McVean, D.N. 1955. Ecology of Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn. II Seed distribution and germination. Journal of Ecology 43, 6171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Megaw, J.V.S. & Simpson, D.D.A. 1979. Introduction to British Prehistory. Leicester: University Press.Google Scholar
Moore, P.D., Webb, J.A. & Collinson, M.E. 1991 Pollen Analysis (2nd edn). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Morse, M.A. 1996. What's in a name? The ‘Celts’ in presentations of prehistory in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Journal of European Archaeology 4, 305–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mount, C. 1995. Excavations at Rathdooney Beg, Co. Sligo, 1994. Emania 13, 7987.Google Scholar
Mount, C. 1996. The environmental siting of Neolithic and Bronze Age sites in the Bricklieve and Moytirra uplands, Co. Sligo. Journal of Irish Archaeology 7, 111Google Scholar
Nelson, E.C. & Walsh, W.F. 1993. Trees of Ireland; Native and Naturalised. Dublin: Lilliput.Google Scholar
Newman, C. 1993. The Tara survey: interim report. Discovery Programme Report 1, 7093. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy:Google Scholar
Newman, C. 1995. Raffin Fort, Co. Meath: Neolithic and Bronze Age activity. In Grogan, E. & Mount, C. (eds), Annus Archaeologiae, 5565. Dublin: Organisation of Irish Archaeologists.Google Scholar
Newman, C. 1997. Tara: an archaeological survey. Discovery Programme Monograph 2. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy.Google Scholar
O'Kelly, M. J., Lynch, F. & O'Kelly, C. 1978. Three passage-graves at Newgrange, Co. Meath. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 78C, 249352.Google Scholar
O'Sullivan, A.M. 1982. The lowland grasslands of Ireland. In White, J. (ed.), Studies on Irish Vegetation, 131–42. Dublin: Royal Dublin Society.Google Scholar
Page, C.N. 1997. The Ferns of Britain and Ireland (2nd edn). Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
Patterson, W.A., Edwards, K.J. & Maguire, D.J. 1987. Microscopic charcoal as a fossil indicator of fire. Quaternary Science Reviews 6, 323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pentecost, A. 1984. Introduction to Freshwater Algae. Richmond: Richmond Publishing.Google Scholar
Prentice, I.C. 1985. Pollen representation, source area and basin size: toward a unified theory of pollen analysis. Quaternary Research 23, 7686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Raftery, B. 1981. Iron Age burials in Ireland. In O'Corráin, D. (ed.), Irish Antiquity, 173204. Dublin: Four Courts.Google Scholar
Raftery, B. 1994. Pagan Celtic Ireland. London: Thames & Hudson.Google Scholar
Rodwell, J.S. (ed.). 1992. British Plant Communities. Vol. 3. Grasslands and Montane Communities. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
Ross, H.C.G. 1984. Catalogue of the Land and Freshwater Mollusca of the British Isles in the Ulster Museum. Belfast: Ulster Museum.Google Scholar
Ryan, M. 1981. Poulawack, Co. Clare: the affinities of the central burial structure. In O'Corráin, D. (ed.), Irish Antiquity, 134–46. Dublin: Four Courts.Google Scholar
Salisbury, E. 1961. Weeds and Aliens. London: Collins.Google Scholar
Scannell, M.J.P. & Synnott, D.M. 1987. Census Catalogue of the Flora of Ireland. Dublin, Stationery Office.Google Scholar
Schweingruber, F.H. 1990. Microscopic Wood Anatomy (3rd edn). Birmensdorf: Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow & Landscape Research.Google Scholar
Sheridan, A. 1985/1986. Megaliths and megalomania: an account, and interpretation, of the development of passage tombs in Ireland. Journal of Irish Archaeology 3, 1730.Google Scholar
Sweetman, D. 19821983. Reconstruction and partial excavation of an Iron Age burial mound at Ninch, Co. Meath. Riocht na Midhe 7(2).Google Scholar
Stelfox, A.W., Kuiper, J.G.J., McMillan, N.F. & Mitchell, G.F. 1972. The Late-glacial and Post-glacial Mollusca of the White Bog, Co. Down. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 72B, 185207.Google Scholar
Stelfox, A.W. & Welch, R.J. 1980. A history of the land and freshwater Mollusca of Ulster. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 80B, 125–52.Google Scholar
Tipping, R. 1994. ‘Ritual’ floral tributes in the Scottish Bronze Age – palynological evidence. Journal of Archaeological Science 21, 133–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tipping, R., Carter, S. & Johnston, D. 1994. Soil Pollen and Soil Micromorphological Analyses of Old Ground Surfaces on Biggar Common, Borders Region, Scotland. Journal of Archaeological Science 21, 3874011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Waddell, J. 1998. The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland. Galway, University Press.Google Scholar
Wailes, B. 1990. Dún Ailinne: a summary excavation report. Emania 7, 1021.Google Scholar
Wallace, P. 1977. A prehistoric burial cairn at Ardcrony, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. North Munster Antiquarian Journal 19, 320.Google Scholar
Waterman, D.M. 1997. Excavations at Navan Fort 1961–71. Belfast: Northern Ireland Archaeological Monograph 3.Google Scholar
Weir, D.A. 1993. An Environmental History of the Navan Area of Co. Armagh. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Queen's University Belfast.Google Scholar
Weir, D.A. 1997. An outline of the vegetational history in the Navan area from Late Mesolithic to medieval times. In Waterman, , 1997, 111–17.Google Scholar
White, J. & Doyle, G. 1982. The vegetation of Ireland: a catalogue raisonne. In White, J. (ed.), Studies on Irish Vegetation, 289357. Dublin: Royal Dublin Society.Google Scholar
Williams, P.W. & Williams, R.B.G. 1966. The deposits of Ballymihil Cave, Co. Clare, Ireland, with particular reference to non-marine Mollusca. Proceedings of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society 11, 7182.Google Scholar

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 38 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 6th March 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Excavation and Environmental Analysis of a Neolithic Mound and Iron Age Barrow Cemetery at Rathdooney Beg, County Sligo, Ireland
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Excavation and Environmental Analysis of a Neolithic Mound and Iron Age Barrow Cemetery at Rathdooney Beg, County Sligo, Ireland
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Excavation and Environmental Analysis of a Neolithic Mound and Iron Age Barrow Cemetery at Rathdooney Beg, County Sligo, Ireland
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *