Archaeological monitoring of the construction of the N21 road improvements, Co. Kerry, Ireland, in 1999 uncovered four sub-circular features in the townland of Rockfield (FIGURE 1).
The central feature revealed itself to be small pit containing a cremation burial. The bones in this shallow pit had been subjected to intense heat, though the boulder clay beneath was unburnt. Radiocarbon (calibrated σ2) dating showed that this cremation dated from 1440–1140 BC, the date being firmly placed in the Irish Bronze Age. The total weight of the cremation was 29 g. The general size of the bone fragments recovered was very small with 72.4% being less than 5 mm in size. This severely limited the osteological analysis. At least some of the fragments, particularly some of the long bone pieces appeared to be human. On the basis of size, the cremation represents at least one adult. The uniform chalky white appearance of the bones recovered indicated that the individual was very well cremated and was probably processed by crushing or pounding of the bones after cremation.