Steeped in Sligo’s Past, Actively Securing Sligo’s Future
2017 Programme of LecturesVenue for all lectures : 8pm Sligo Institute of Technology Education Centre, IT Sligo CampusJan 27Dr Noel KissaneSt Brigid : Life, Legend, CultFeb 24Seosamh O'Cuaig From the shores of Connemara to the Prairies of Minnesota Mar 31Dr Wes ForsytheThe Archaeology of Salt Production in IrelandApr 28Claire FoleyArchaeological Survey of County Fermanagh May 17Sam MooreOuting : Highwood Ramble May 26Dr Laurence Geary Sir William Wilde (1815-1876): A Nineteenth-Century Irish PolymathJun 17Sean McLoughlinOuting : Cavan BurrenJul 5Martin Wilson Outing : Streamstown, Ballysodare Walk Sep 29Coilin O'Drisceoil The Black Pigs DykeOct 27Nicola Gordon Bowe A Host of Shining Saints: the Stained Glass Revival in Ireland's Celtic Revival 1900-1930Oct 7th – 8thSFC Conference The Rise and Fall of Landed Estates in the NorthwestNov 24Shane DelaneyThe Roscommon Burials Dec 15Wendy Lyons Markree Castle Observatory
SFC Next Lecture
Date : 8pm Friday Nov 24th Lecturer :Shane DelaneyTitle:The Roscommon Burials
Venue for all lectures : 8pm Sligo Institute of Technology Education Centre, IT Sligo CampusAll are welcome - Non-members €5 donation entry
Ranelagh, County Roscommon. Preliminary observations.Irish Archaeological Consultancy Ltd carried out an excavation in Ranelagh townland, to the north of Roscommon town, as part of a road realignment project along the N61 from October 2015 to October 2016. The archaeological site was located in pastureland on a noticeable rise with good views across the surrounding landscape. Previous geophysical survey and test excavations identified and confirmed the presence of a large enclosure complex. Excavation at the site at Ranelagh 1 revealed a multivallate enclosure with an associated burial ground, a series of internal ditches, two small souterrains, pits, kilns, hearths, a well and linear features. A linear field ditch/boundary which extended east to west at the south of the site may be contemporaneous with the enclosure. Two linear ditches extended northwest and northeast from the enclosure at the north of the site. These may be the remnants of an early medieval or medieval field system that respected the, by then upstanding but likely abandoned, enclosure. The area of the site within the footprint of the road was 7,687 m2. The burial ground was used over an extended period and appeared to expand from a western point of origin, suggesting continuous or multiple phases of activity. It contained 551 articulated burials as well as 242 disarticulated deposits of human bone. A large number of infant and child burials were recovered from the upper deposits of the burial ground and may indicate later use as a Cillín or children’s burial ground.Artefacts were recovered from features across the site and included iron knives, iron shears, iron ladles, fragments of glass, amber and jet beads, fragments of rotary querns, stick pins, ring pins, bone pins, fragments of lignite bracelet, fragments of bone/antler comb, spindle whorls, sharpening stones, hammerstones, hone stones, a fragment of a probable brooch panel with enamel stud, fragment of a decorated copper alloy bracelet terminal with decoration dated to c. 350–550 AD and various copper alloy, iron and worked stone fragments. One of the burials produced a copper alloy toe‐ring which may indicate high status burial.A substantial animal bone assemblage was also retrieved from many of the features across the site. There was strong evidence through the faunal assemblage for butchering at the site and the presence of multiple cereal-drying kilns and quern stone fragments indicated food production on site. Evidence for small-scale fine metalworking in the form of mould fragments, crucible fragments and a small quantity of slag was also recovered.The lack of structural evidence for settlement and the presence of such a large burial ground combined with the artefact and faunal assemblage may indicate a site that had more of an administrative/distribution hub role, perhaps for the community in the surrounding area. Based on the range and style of artefacts recovered from the site it is reasonable to suggest a 6th–11th century AD date range for primary activity at Ranelagh.
( above ) Ranelagh 1 looking north (Photo: Ian Kerr/IAC)( below )Ranelagh 1 looking west (Photo: Ian Kerr/IAC)
Shane Delaney is a freelance archaeologist and project manager. He is a graduate of UCC where he achieved his BA (Hons) and MA in archaeology. Shane has been working in field archaeology since 1995 and has worked throughout the country. He has directed sites from most periods and has managed many largescale archaeological projects over the years. He carried out the excavation in Ranelagh for Irish Archaeological Consultancy Ltd on behalf of Roscommon County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).
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