Fulachta Fiadh in County Cavan

Fulachta Fiadh in County Cavan
Fulachta Fiadh in County Cavan
A study of the use of archaeobotanical, geochemical and geophysical methods on burnt
mounds in County Cavan, Ireland
Radoslaw Grabowski
Department of Historical,
Philosophical and Religious
Studies
Environmental Archaeology
Laboratory
Abstract
This thesis aims at investigating whether archaeobotanical investigations, combined with geochemical (phosphate) and
geophysical (magnetic susceptibility) soil surveys, can provide valid data concerning the functional aspects of several burnt
mounds detected in County Cavan, Ireland, during the realignment of a local road (N3 between Cavan Town and
Belturbet).
The results show that the methods can indeed be used to gain data concerning the formation, use and post-depositional
aspects governing the nature of these sites.
With the exception of one site (which is proven by the analyses not to represent “traditional” burnt mound activities) the
sites display indications of animal produce processing as well as some sparse evidence for cereal based activities.
The results are not entirely conclusive but indicate that an extended archaeobotanical, geochemical and geophysical
investigation coupled with further analyses with methods belonging to environmental archaeology (such as palynology and
insect analysis) may potentially be very useful in providing comprehensive information concerning the function of burnt
mound sites in County Cavan and Ireland in general.
2
Acknowledgments
Great many people have provided help, support and encouragement during the planning, sampling and
writing stages of this thesis. Great thanks go to my supervisor, Dr. Karin Viklund, who has provided
professional support and valuable feedback throughout the project. I would also like to thank the
remaining staff of the Environmental Archaeology Laboratory, in particular Johan Linderholm, Johan
Olofsson and Prof. Roger Engelmark, for help with various aspects of this thesis.
I am also very grateful to Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd. and its staff for assisting me with
the provision of samples, licenses, equipment and documentation without which this thesis would not
have been possible. In particular my thanks go to company director Donald Murphy who, throughout
the completion of this thesis, has shown great willingness to assist at every stage of the project.
I also want to thank Miss Fiona Prendeville for help and assistance during the fieldwork part of this
thesis. Working under a tight schedule and in the most miserable weather conditions imaginable I could
never have completed the sampling without her assistance.
Great personal thanks also go to my dear friends Peter Holmblad and Anna Svingfors, who on a daily
basis have shown interest as well as provided feedback throughout the writing process.
I would also like to thank my family, my mother Mariola and my father Hans as well as my two
younger brothers Rafael and Philip, for their constant support during every aspect of life. Any endeavor
is easier with the assistance of a loving family.
Finally, I would like to thank my grandfather, Aleksander Rudź, for being the best inspiration
imaginable for how to be a good and decent person as well as being the best and kindest grandfather
any child could wish for. As my grandfather left this life on the very same day this thesis was completed
I dedicate it to his memory.
Financial support
Several organizations have funded the travels and equipment necessary for the completion of this
thesis. As a student with limited resources I find it hard to overstate the importance of such
organizations supporting young researchers in their work. I would like to extend my great thanks to:
•
Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd.
•
Stiftelsen J C Kempes Minnes Stipendiefond
•
Humsek and Humstipendiet
•
Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, University of Umeå
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Contents
Abstract ........................................................................................................................................................ 2
Acknowledgments........................................................................................................................................ 3
Contents........................................................................................................................................................ 4
Background.................................................................................................................................................. 8
Purpose ......................................................................................................................................................... 9
Comments on the layout of the study....................................................................................................... 10
1. Burnt mounds and hot stone technology in Ireland ....................................................................11
Early burnt mound research .................................................................................................................... 11
Developments since 1954........................................................................................................................... 12
Morphology and layout of burnt mound sites......................................................................................... 12
Ballyvorney I, County Cork and Drumcalpin, County Cavan: two variations of the same theme.......................... 14
Dating ......................................................................................................................................................... 16
Distribution ................................................................................................................................................ 17
Burnt mounds in County Cavan .............................................................................................................. 18
Burnt mounds between Cavan Town and Belturbet................................................................................................ 20
Finds ........................................................................................................................................................... 23
Burnt mounds and environmental archaeology...................................................................................... 23
Function...................................................................................................................................................... 24
The cooking hypothesis .......................................................................................................................................... 24
Fat extraction .......................................................................................................................................................... 25
Bathing and saunas ................................................................................................................................................. 26
Textile processing ................................................................................................................................................... 27
Brewing................................................................................................................................................................... 27
Alternative functions............................................................................................................................................... 28
2. Environmental archaeology in theory and practice ....................................................................29
Theoretical and methodological considerations...................................................................................... 29
Archaeobotany ........................................................................................................................................................ 30
Phosphate analysis .................................................................................................................................................. 32
Magnetic susceptibility ........................................................................................................................................... 33
Loss on Ignition ...................................................................................................................................................... 33
4
Environmental archaeology in practice: the search for functional aspects of prehistoric phenomena
..................................................................................................................................................................... 34
Processing of animal based produce ....................................................................................................................... 34
Prehistoric farming.................................................................................................................................................. 36
Plant based dyeing and tanning............................................................................................................................... 45
Summary .................................................................................................................................................... 46
3. The empirical material and its geographic context .....................................................................48
The area of investigation: a general overview ........................................................................................................ 48
The area of investigation: archaeological monuments ............................................................................................ 50
Putiaghan Upper 1................................................................................................................................................... 51
Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3......................................................................................................................................... 53
Straheglin 1 ............................................................................................................................................................. 55
Bun 4....................................................................................................................................................................... 57
4. Analytical procedure .....................................................................................................................58
Geophysics and geochemistry................................................................................................................... 58
Analytical methods ................................................................................................................................................. 58
Statistical processing............................................................................................................................................... 59
Archaeobotany........................................................................................................................................... 60
Analytical procedure............................................................................................................................................... 60
Statistical processing............................................................................................................................................... 60
Floatation experiment ............................................................................................................................................. 60
5. Results............................................................................................................................................61
Putiaghan Upper 1..................................................................................................................................... 61
Pre-excavation survey ............................................................................................................................................. 61
Feature analysis....................................................................................................................................................... 67
Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3 .......................................................................................................................... 71
Pre-excavation survey ............................................................................................................................................. 71
Feature analysis....................................................................................................................................................... 76
Straheglin 1 ................................................................................................................................................ 80
Pre-excavation survey ............................................................................................................................................. 80
Feature analysis....................................................................................................................................................... 82
Bun 4........................................................................................................................................................... 84
Feature analysis....................................................................................................................................................... 84
6. Interpretation.................................................................................................................................86
Interpretation: Putiaghan Upper 1 .......................................................................................................... 86
Interpretation: Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3................................................................................................ 86
5
Interpretation: pit F14 [PU3]: ................................................................................................................................. 88
Interpretation: Straheglin 1...................................................................................................................... 89
Interpretation: Bun 4 ................................................................................................................................ 90
Site comparison.......................................................................................................................................... 90
7. Conclusions ...................................................................................................................................92
The applicability of the method................................................................................................................ 92
Functional aspects indicated by the method ........................................................................................... 92
Possibilities for the future ......................................................................................................................... 93
References .........................................................................................................................................94
Bibliography............................................................................................................................................... 94
Internet-based resources......................................................................................................................... 100
Personal comments/correspondence ...................................................................................................... 101
Appendix 1: Analysis results Putiaghan Upper 1, License No: E3821 ............................................... 102
1a: Soil chemistry, pre-excavation survey ............................................................................................................ 102
1b: Soil chemistry, archaeobotanical sub-samples................................................................................................ 105
1c: Macrofossil analysis........................................................................................................................................ 106
Appendix 2: Analysis results, Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3, License No: E3822, E3833 ....................... 107
2a: Pre-excavation survey ..................................................................................................................................... 107
2b: Soil chemistry, archaeobotanical sub-samples................................................................................................ 111
2c: Macrofossil analysis........................................................................................................................................ 112
Appendix 3: Analysis results, Straheglin 1, License No: E3825 .......................................................... 113
3a: Soil chemistry, pre-excavation survey ............................................................................................................ 113
3b: Soil chemistry, archaeobotanical sub-samples................................................................................................ 115
3c: Macrofossil analysis........................................................................................................................................ 115
Appendix 4: Analysis results, Bun 4, License No: E3816..................................................................... 116
4a: Soil chemistry, archaeobotanical sub-samples ................................................................................................ 116
4b: Macrofossil analysis ....................................................................................................................................... 117
Appendix 5: Floatation Experiment ...................................................................................................... 118
Appendix 6: Latin-English-Swedish glossary of plant species mentioned in the text ....................... 119
6
IMAGE 1.
Map of Ireland and its counties.
7
Background
My first encounter with fulachta fiadh was in 2005 when I, as a Swedish archaeologist, attended my first
excavation in Ireland at Raheenagurren West, outside of Gorey in County Wexford. Very quickly I
realised that fulachta fiadh and other similar features are among the most unappealing feature types to
many Irish archaeologists who consider them too common, too boring and usually too waterlogged and
messy to warrant any special interest.
Since 2005 I have participated in the excavation of more than a dozen burnt mounds in counties
Wexford, Galway and Meath and contrary to the majority of my colleagues I find this feature type to be
one of the most fascinating phenomena that Irish archaeology has to offer. What appeals me about
these features is not their complexity but rather their simple, and at the same time, enigmatic nature.
Despite burnt mounds being one of the most numerous archaeological features in Ireland very little is
actually known about them. The hypotheses concerning the function of these features vary significantly
but few of these are actually supported by empirical evidence (see chapter 1). Limited in chronology to
the Irish Bronze Age (Brindley & Lanting 1990; O’Drisceoil 1991; O’Sullivan & Downey 2004) one can
only presume that whatever functions were performed at these numerous sites they must have been of
significance to the Bronze Age inhabitants who built them.
Once I began to plan this thesis in Environmental Archaeology during the spring of 2007 it was thus
a natural step for me to select the burnt mound phenomena as the subject for my study.
This thesis is largely based on a sampling project performed with the assistance of Archaeological
Consultancy Services Ltd. It was my good fortune to have the support of ACS during the course of this
project as the company has provided me with access to the sites as well as any documentation,
excavation data or logistical support I required for a successful analysis.
Five burnt mound sites in County Cavan were selected after consultation with ACS to provide the
empirical material for this study. All five sites are located outside the town of Belturbet, 13 km north
north-east of Cavan Town. All sites were detected, recorded and excavated in connection with the
archaeological excavations conducted as part of the N3 Butler’s Bridge to Belturbet realignment
scheme. The testing phase of this scheme was performed under excavation license E3427 while the
final excavations were performed under the following excavation licenses:
Bun 4
E3816
Director: Derek Gallagher
Putiaghan Upper 1
E3821
Director: Gearoid Kelleher
Putiaghan Upper 2
E3822
Director: Gearoid Kelleher
Putiaghan Upper 3
E3823
Director: Gearoid Kelleher
Straheglin
E3825
Director: Gearoid Kelleher
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Purpose
The primary questions I wish to answer in this thesis are focused around the functional aspects of Irish
burnt mounds and the applicability of soil chemistry, geophysics and archaeobotany on this type of
archaeological material.
The investigated sites were sampled for the purpose of performing phosphate, magnetic
susceptibility, and archaeobotanical analyses. By evaluating the results from these analyses I hope to
answer the following questions:
1. Can a combination of phosphate, magnetic susceptibility and archaeobotanical analyses provide
valid data about the nature of burnt mounds?
2. Can the data extracted from such analyses be used to isolate a specific function or at least
eliminate some of the functional models previously proposed for burnt mounds?
3. Can this study provide valuable insights to how the methods and research strategies applied
here may be further refined and modified to become more suitable for burnt mound research?
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Comments on the layout of the study
This thesis has been divided into several specific sections. It begins with a general overview of previous
research on Irish burnt mounds and also presents most of the hypotheses proposed to date that deal
with the issues of burnt mound function.
In the second section I present the theory behind my research along with theoretical aspects behind
the methods that I have applied on the five investigated sites. At the end of the second chapter I also
review several cases of environmental archaeology being applied on archaeological phenomena relevant
to this study.
In the third main section of this thesis the investigated sites are presented to the reader while the
fourth section outlines the analytical procedure that was used during the various analyses.
The fifth part presents the results of the analyses for each individual area, site and feature while the
final section of the thesis is dedicated to the interpretation and discussion of the results, answering the
three questions presented above.
Before continuing further with the text I want to clarify two decisions that may be considered
unnecessary or confusing to a reader of this text.
Firstly, an Irish reader may find him/herself wondering about whether the elaborations concerning
most aspects of the fulachta fiadh phenomenon truly are necessary in a thesis of this kind. The decision
to include a rather comprehensive background to fulachta fiadh is however conscious. The thesis is
written at a Swedish university and it is in essence a study of methods that may have some significance
for future investigations of similar phenomena in parts of the world other than Ireland. I found it
therefore necessary to elaborate upon even the most commonly known aspects of Irish burnt mounds.
The second decision, which some readers may consider more troublesome, is my decision to treat the
terms fulacht fiadh and burnt mound as synonyms.
From experience I know that some archaeologists in Ireland try to separate various types of “burnt
mound like” features into either fulachta fiadh or burnt mounds. During my three year stay in Ireland I
have heard and seen in writing attempts to separate these two designations either on grounds of
geography (fulachta fiadh being Irish, burnt mounds being British) or based on morphology (fulachta fiadh
being a classical horse shoe shaped mound while everything else being designated vaguely as a burnt
mound). On occasion I have also come into contact with divisions between burnt mounds and fulachta fiadh
based on the presence or absence of a trough (fulachta fiadh being a feature with a defined trough).
In my opinion such divisions are absolute nonsense considering the current state of burnt mound
research. At the birth of the Irish burnt mound research in the 1950s there may have been grounds for
creating strict criteria for how a burnt mound should look like as the number of excavated sites was
small and their internal variation was insignificant (eg. O’Kelly 1954). Since then however burnt
mounds, with or without troughs, crescent shaped, oval, round and irregular, mounds of every size and
shape imaginable have been encountered on practically every major archaeological project in every
corner of Ireland1.
Burnt mounds are obviously a phenomenon with significant internal variations, the exceptions from
the crescent shaped traditional fulacht fiadh becoming more numerous than the features on which the
standard was created. Thus, in my opinion, creating individual categories of burnt mounds is a waste of
any archaeologist’s time as few individuals possess the full breadth of information gathered during
recent excavations. Without such information any categorization of the phenomenon is bound to be
based on individual assumptions rather than true empirical data.
Undoubtedly, in a near future, someone will compile a catalogue of the hundreds of burnt mounds
excavated to date in Ireland, allowing for a true categorization and classification of these features. Until
then however I have decided to study the phenomenon as a whole. Therefore the terms fulacht fiadh and
burnt mound in this thesis are used as synonyms, without any terminologically shrouded implications of
their nature.
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1. Burnt mounds and hot stone technology in Ireland
Early burnt mound research
Scientific research on the feature type known as fulachta fiadh or burnt mounds can be said to have been
started in 1954 when Michael J. O’Kelly published his results from investigations of five well preserved
fulachta fiadh in County Cork (O’Kelly 1954). The phenomenon of fulachta fiadh was however far from
unknown even prior to O’Kellys excavations in the early 1950’s.
The term fulacht fiadh can itself be traced to the early Irish literature. The word fulacht probably means
“recess” or “cavity” and the word fiadh means “of the deer” or “of the wild”. A more contemporary
translation would thus be “cooking/roosting pit for deer or wild animals”. An alternative spelling of
fulacht fiadh is fulacht fian where fian translates into “of the warriors” or “of the hunters” thus translating
in full to “cooking/roosting pit of the warriors/hunters” (O’Drisceoil 1988:673, 1990:158). This
terminology appears repeatedly in early Irish written sources from as early as the 9th century AD. Most
of the descriptions are vague, often implying cooking or food preparation of some sort at fulachta fiadh,
with the exact nature of the process rarely described in detail. In some instances the process described
in the early historical sources is one of food preparation by roosting or cooking in a metal cauldron or
on a griddle although the terminology used to describe the process is still related to that of the word
fulacht. This fact has led Diarmuid O’Drisceoil to consider the possibility that the word fulacht, originally
meaning recess or cavity, may over time have come to describe the general act of cooking or even the
cooked food itself (O’Drisceoil 1990: 157f).
To the modern archaeologist the use of vague references in early written sources may seem as a risky
way of interpreting an archaeological phenomenon. When Professor O’Kelly conducted his
investigations however, written sources did inspire his interpretation of the excavated fulachta fiadh.
(O’Kelly 1954:138f). The tradition of using historical sources for the interpretation of burnt mounds
can however be traced to as early as the 17th century. In Foras Feasa ar Éirinn (Foundation on knowledge
of Ireland) Seathrún Céitinn (Geoffrey Keating) made reference to the mounds of charcoal enriched
soil and attributed them to the fianna, the small, semi-independent bands of warriors and hunters often
mentioned in the mythology and early historical texts of Ireland. Céitinn’s interpretation was that
fulachta fiadh were camps or stations were the fianna prepared the food that they had acquired by hunting
(Ó Cróinín 1995:88; O’Driceoil 1991:3f; O’Kelly 1954:147f).
As archaeology was developing into a modern science in the 19th century archaeologists working in
Ireland noted the existence of burnt mounds in various parts of Ireland and frequently attributed their
existence to hunting or warrior groups, presumably operating in the countries distant past, often
referring to the early historical sources as well as Céitinn for support of their interpretations
(O’Drisceoil 1991:4).
O’Kellys interpretations were undoubtedly inspired by this early research into fulachta fiadh,
formulated by pre-war archaeologists and historians. In fact the period during which his pioneering
work was conducted is often seen as a transitional period for the science of archaeology (Trigger
1997:289ff) and O’Kellys work clearly manifests the spirit of his time. The 1950s was a period when
traditional culture-historical methods were often supplemented by newly developed scientific methods
and newly formulated research procedures. O’Kellys work adhered to the spirit of this transitional
period as it used older research as an inspiration but also incorporated both planned experiments and
newly developed scientific methods, such as 14C-dating (O’kelly 1954).
Experimental archaeology and an emphasis on the natural sciences were in the decade that followed
to become important parts of the processual or “new” archaeology developed by Binford, Willey and
Philips at the end of the 1950s and the 1960s (Bäck & Olsson 1994; Coles 1979; Trigger 1997:359ff).
Through the work of O’Kelly the fulachta fiadh were introduced as an archaeological phenomenon in
late 20th century archaeology.
11
Developments since 1954
O’Kellys work was not only significant from a purely academic point of view. Ireland’s entry into what
today is known as the European Union signified a significant increase in infrastructure, land
improvement and land reclamation schemes across the country (O’Drisceoil 1991:4). By extension this
development has led to an increase in the amount of sites being excavated across the country. Through
the work of O’Kelly the fulachta fiadh were identified as valid archaeological features and the amount of
excavated sites now numbers in hundreds1. Academic interest has, in comparison to other aspects of
archaeology, been relatively limited but several important studies have since 1954 greatly improved the
knowledge of certain aspects of the fulachta fiadh phenomenon.
Regional studies have enhanced our knowledge of the distribution of fulachta fiadh in parts of Ireland
(Condit 1990; Feehan 1991; Power 1990), experiments on reconstructed sites have provided data
useable for the establishment of plausible explanations concerning their function (Buckley 1990;
Lawless 1990; O’Kelly 1954; Quinn & Moore 2007) and 14C as well as dendrochronological dating
techniques have allowed archaeologists to place the fulachta fiadh in their chronological context (Brindley
& Lanting 1990).
Morphology and layout of burnt mound sites
As mentioned above the amounts of fulachta fiadh excavated to date number in the hundreds1. Out of
the vast amounts of data generated by these excavations it has been possible to identify general
characteristics that often occur on fulachta fiadh sites.
The principle features of a fulacht fiadh is a trough or pit surrounded by a mound of heat shattered
stones and charcoal enriched soil (O’Sullivan & Downey 2004). Because of their nature fulachta fiadh
tend to be easily recognisable in the landscapes where agricultural disturbance has been limited. They
can however also be observed in areas of intensive agricultural activity where they often appear as dark
patches on newly ploughed fields. Fulachta fiadh are also one of the most easily recognisable feature
types during archaeological investigations, such as test trenching or probing with an auger.
The troughs of fulachta fiadh vary in size and appearance. There are indications that early fulachta fiadh
tend to have unlined, circular troughs while rectangular troughs tend to date from 2000 BC and
onwards (O’Neill 2000). The large amount of newly excavated fulachta fiadh does however make
generalisations of the nature of the troughs difficult.
Rectangular troughs are often lined with wood, flat stones, clay or wicker (O’Neill 2000). Some
troughs also appear to have been dug out from single pieces of large tree trunks before being placed in
a pit dug to accommodate the container (O’Sullivan & Downey 2004). On occasion natural fissures or
cavities in rock outcrops may have provided a natural container negating the need for a manmade
trough. Some sites lack troughs altogether, indicating perhaps the use of portable containers (Coffey
1984).
The area around the trough is almost always surrounded by a mound or spread of shattered stones
mixed with soil and charcoal. This material often overlays the trough itself, likely as a result of human
activities or erosion postdating the abandonment of the fulacht fiadh. The material is sometimes
deposited around the trough in a crescent or U-shaped pattern suggesting that it was originally scooped
out of the trough and deposited around it leaving one quadrant free from debris to accommodate
access to and from the site. A summary of fulacht fiadh shapes in Co. Cork (Power 1990:13) shows that
almost half of the recorded mounds display the typical crescent shape. The remaining mounds were Dshaped, oval, circular and irregular. The size of the mounds across Ireland varies from small and
shallow spreads, only a few metres in diameter to mounds reaching over two metres in height and 30
metres in diameter (Coffey 1984; O’Sullivan & Dawney 2004).
It is generally assumed that the troughs of fulachta fiadh were used to heat water by immersion of hot
stones. This assumption is strengthened by the fact that many troughs seem to be constructed in a way
12
that allows them to naturally fill with water, either by placement of the trough beneath the water table
or by proximity to water sources such as streams, rivers and lakes (O’Kelly 1954:106; O’Neill 2000;
O’Sullivan & Dawney 2004; Power 1990:14). The process of heating water in this particular manner is
believed to have generated the residue of shattered stones and charcoal that makes up the mound of a
fulacht fiadh.
The majority of fulachta fiadh also contain a range of other features in addition to the trough and the
mound. Hearths are commonly found on many sites and their existence must be seen as an obvious
result of the stone heating process (O’Kelly 1954; O’Sullivan & Downey 2004). The reson for many
fulacht fiadh sites lacking hearths is likely due to the fact that this type of feature is easily disturbed or
destroyed by post-depositional processes, especially in areas of subsequent agricultural activity.
Other features found in association with fulachta fiadh are pits of various sizes and shapes (likely
reflecting an equally various range of functions), gullies and channels (possibly used for water
management on the sites) and postholes. The postholes are sometimes interpreted as remains of simple
structures (possibly used for storage), as windbreaks around the hearths or as racks for hanging or
drying produce that may have been processed on the sites (O’Kelly 1954; O’Sullivan & Dawney 2004).
The above description of the morphology of fulachta fiadh sites is however a generalisation. The vast
amounts of excavated fulachta fiadh reveal that there is a considerable variation in the structural
appearance of fulachta fiadh sites, even when found in geographically coherent areas. An example of this
is the cluster of three fulachta fiadh excavated by O’Kelly at Killeens in County Cork (O’Kelly 1954)
where one of the sites displayed a well constructed, wood lined trough but no evidence of a hearth. The
second site gave evidence of two troughs being constructed on site, one in the shape of a pit dug in
close proximity to a stream and one wood lined, similar to that on the first site. The second site also
displayed two hearths. The third site was considerably smaller and the cooking appears to have been
done in a simple dug out pit.
The variations in size, layout and use of various techniques on sites that appear in close proximity to
each other may partly be explained by post-depositional disturbance and alteration of the sites. At the
same time archaeologist must at all times be aware that the variations may be a manifestation of an
adaptation of the fulachta fiadh to changing functional demands, seasonal adaptations, local traditions or
even idiosyncratic tendencies of their users.
IMAGE 2.
A ploughed out burnt mound at Putiaghan Upper 1 in County Cavan. Burnt mounds are easily identifiable in test
trenches due to the distinct nature of the burnt mound material. Photographs: ACS Ltd.
13
Ballyvorney I, County Cork and Drumcalpin, County Cavan: two variations of the
same theme
Fulachta fiadh as a generalized group of archaeological features display a significant variation in size,
shape, morphology and the degree of preservation in which the features are encountered by excavators
in the field.
The two examples below are presented in order to give a reader who is not familiar with this type of
features a hint of the variety which exists among these features.
IMAGE 3.
Plan and section drawing from M. J. O’Kellys
excavations depicting the fulacht fiadh at
Ballyvourney I in County Cork (O’Kelly 1954:110f;
Waddell 2000:176).
14
Ballyvourney I, excavated by Michael J.
O’Kelly in 1952 is an excellent example of a well
preserved fulacht fiadh displaying several
structural features beyond those of the trough
and mound (O’Kelly 1954).
The well preserved state of the site may
partially be attributed to its location in bog land,
an area where agricultural activity, and thus postdepositional disturbance has been limited.
Most of the features found on the site were
completely or partially covered by the mound of
heat shattered stones and charcoal which
surrounded the well preserved, wood-lined
trough.
The mound itself was roughly circular with a
diameter of 12-13 metres and a maximum height
of approximately 0,6 metres. Two hearths were
detected just south-east and north-west of the
trough respectively. A stone-paved pit,
interpreted by O’Kelly as a roasting pit, was also
found north of the trough.
The most interesting feature found at
Ballyvourney I was however a cluster of
postholes, some of which still displayed wooden
posts preserved in situ. The postholes were
interpreted by O’Kelly to be part of a small hut
with two simple internal features. The hut would
have been, according to O’Kelly, roughly oval,
supported by one central and ten external posts
(see Image 3). Six other postholes found inside
the presumed hut were interpreted as not
belonging to the structure of the hut on basis of
their vertical angles of entry into the underlying
peat (all wall posts were driven at an angle
pointing towards the cental post). These
structures were instead labelled as “the butcher’s
block or bed” and “the drying rack”.
The likely existence of a hut at a fulacht fiadh
site is unique as only a small percentage of
fulachta fiadh sites display any kind of
upstanding structures2. As we shall see later in
the text the existence of such structures is vital
for some hypotheses that have been presented
on the subject of the function of fulachta fiadh
(Barfield & Hodder 1987).
Overall Ballyvourney I can be seen as an
example of a fairly complex fulacht fiadh as few
sites of this type display morphologies of a more
complex nature.
Drumcalpin is a fulacht fiadh site that was excavated by Deirdre Murphy in 1998 in connection with the
construction of the Cavan Town Bypass (Murphy 1998). Contrary to sites such as Ballyvourney I the fulacht
fiadh at Drumcalpin displayed significant evidence of disturbance post-dating the original feature. This
disturbance may partially account for the comparatively low amount of structural features found at Drumcalpin
as no prehistoric features were detected on the site other then the mound itself and its associated trough.
The mound was irregular, a shape that may possibly represent the result of centuries of post-depositional
disturbance. It measured roughly 11 x 12 metres in plan and had a maximum depth of 0,5 metres.
The mound was severely truncated by several modern cuttings. A field boundary had disturbed a large
portion of the southern half, aligned along a south-east- north-west axis. A few metres north of the field
boundary a modern pipe had been dug into the ground along a parallel axis, barely missing the trough. A 19th
century field drain was also found dug into the mound at its western end. Finally a rectangular test-trench was
excavated into the eastern end of the fulacht fiadh by road engineers prior to the excavation of the site.
The trough of the fulacht fiadh was, despite the extensive truncation of the mound, relatively well preserved.
It was rectangular in shape with a posthole located at each corner. The combination of the trough being placed
below the water table of the site as well as the impermeable nature of the heavy clay surrounding the postholes
created conditions favourable for preservation of organic material and two of the posts were found partially
preserved in situ.
The sides of the trough were lined with a thin
deposit of heavy clay. Deirdre Murphy
interpreted this deposit as purposefully applied
to the sides of the trough, possibly to ease the
process of lining the trough with timber
(Murphy 1998:10ff).
14C dating of the Drumcalpin site produced a
calibrated date of 1154-932 BC (Late Irish
Bronze Age), placing it at the end of the period
during which fulachta fiadh were intensively
used across Ireland.
As mentioned above Ballyvourney I in
County Cork can be seen to represent the
more complex and well preserved fulachta
fiadh sites. Drumcalpin can on the other hand
be seen as an example of the other end of the
spectrum, representing the vast amount of
fulachta fiadh sites discovered in heavily
developed and/or heavily cultivated areas.
Unfortunately sites such as Drumcalpin
often tend to be omitted in the archaeological
discourse and tend to be considered as
uninteresting or unimportant in comparison
with more well preserved and prestigious sites
(O’Neill 2000).
IMAGE 4.
Plan (left) and section drawing (below) of
the fulacht fiadh excavated at Drumcalpin in
County Cavan (Murphy 1998).
15
Dating
Most fulachta fiadh have been dated to the Bronze Age. Within that period the dates seem to cluster
around 1800-800 BC, placing the fulachta fiadh predominantly in the Irish Middle Bronze Age (Brindley
& Lanting 1990; O’Drisceoil 1991; O’Sullivan & Downey 2004).
The preffered way of dating fulachta fiadh has to date been through the use of the 14C-method (Baillie
1990; Brindley & Lanting 1990). Dendrochronology has proven to be a problematic for dating most
fulachta fiadh sites as the surviving pieces of timber tend to contain rather short tree ring sequences,
making comparison with regional master sequences problematic (Baillie 1990). Despite these problems
some sites have successfully been dated through the use of dendrochronology3.
Relative (typological) dating has proven unsuccessful on fulachta fiadh due to the lack of dateable
artefacts (Baillie 1990). Thermoluminescence dating has been applied on similar features in Scotland
with promising results but has, as far as I have been able to ascertain, not been applied on fulachta fiadh
in Ireland (Anthony et al 2001).
IMAGE 5.
Distribution of known sites where fulachta fiadh and burnt mounds have been recorded by the Archaeological
Survey of Ireland4. County Cavan, the general area of interest for this thesis has been outlined in red.
16
Distribution
Fulacht fiadh is without a doubt the most numerous feature type with origins in the Irish Bronze Age
(Feehan 1991; O’Drisceoil 1991). The exact distribution of fulachta fiadh is however not yet fully known.
Since fulachta fiadh were originally only marked on Ordnance Survey maps for Counties Cork,
Kilkenny and Wexford (Stout & Stout 1997:40) it is not surprising that they were long believed to be a
predominantly southern occurrence (O’Kelly 1954:144; O’Sullivan & Downey 2004).
These counties do indeed display larger numbers of fulachta fiadh than average but developments in
archaeology over the last 20 years have firmly established the fulachta fiadh as a nation-wide
phenomenon as they have now been recorded in significant numbers in every county of Ireland (see
map above) (Feehan 1991:202; O’Drisceoil 1991:4; O’Sullivan & Downey 2004; Stout & Stout
1997:40).
An example of the major increase in recorded sites is the fact that not a single fulacht fiadh was known
to exist in County Dublin as late as 1988 (O’Drisceoil 1988:673). By 2004 38 sites containing fulachta
fiadh had been excavated in the same county1. This fact strongly suggests that the majority of sites are
still unknown to archaeologists as rescue excavations, even in a highly developed county like Dublin,
only represent a minor percentage of the total.
Another hypothesis developed during the early years of fulacht fiadh research was that their
distribution may be limited by geological factors. Areas with limestone bedrock were considered
unsuitable locations for fulachta fiadh as limestone tends to turn into lime when exposed to heat which
reacts into calcium hydroxide when submerged in water, thus making the water in the trough unsuitable
for a range of activities (Buckley 1990:170; O’Kelly 1954:144). This hypothesis has since then been
discredited as significant numbers of fulachta fiadh have been found in the lime stone rich counties of
Galway and Clare (Buckley 1990:170; Coffey 1984).
Archaeologists have noted however that local geology may to some extent affect the distribution and
nature of fulachta fiadh. Victor Buckley has suggested that the use of igneous rocks, commonly found in
northern Ireland, may explain the lack of large, upstanding mounds in that part of the country (Buckley
1990). Buckley’s experiments have showed that igneous rocks are significantly more resistant to rapid
changes in temperature than sedimentary and some metamorphosed types of rocks. Similar tendencies
have also been noted by burnt mound researchers in Scandinavia (Buckley 1990; Larsson 1986, 1990).
Assuming that the stones were used until fracturing rendered them unusable the resistant nature of the
northern rocks may account for the lack of large burnt mounds in that area.
Locally fulachta fiadh are generally found in close proximity to water sources (Feehan1991;
O’Drisceoil 1991). A survey of nearly two thousand fulachta fiadh in County Cork revealed that only 8
percent of the recorded sites were situated in areas without direct access to a water source (Power
1990:14). The remaining sites were situated near streams (48%), marshes (21%), springs (10%),
lakes/rivers (4%) and wells (9%).
17
Burnt mounds in County Cavan
County Cavan is one of the counties with the smallest amount of recorded fulachta fiadh (see Image 6).
The archaeological survey of Ireland contains a total of 23 entries of fulachta fiadh and burnt mounds in
the county1. Five additional sites are also documented to have been excavated prior to 20041 (Murphy
1998). The archaeological testing performed in connection with the Butlers Bridge to Belturbet road
improvement scheme has recently generated additional eight sites that likely represent fulachta fiadh
activity (Gallagher et al 2007) thus bringing the total number of known fulachta fiadh in County Cavan
to 36. The majority of these sites are concentrated to three areas.
The largest concentration is located between the towns of Cavan and Belturbet in central County
Cavan. More than 60 percent of the fulachta fiadh in the county are situated in this area with a significant
cluster occurring in an area approximately 5 x 4 km in size located less than 2 km south-east of
Belturbet on the eastern side of the River Erne (see Image 7).
The second concentration of fulachta fiadh in Cavan is located at the border between counties Cavan
and Meath just east of Virginia while a third group consisting of only two sites is situated at the border
to County Monaghan near the town of Cootehill.
It should be noted however that these three concentrations do not necessarily reflect the prehistoric,
distribution of fulachta fiadh. On the contrary the distribution pattern seems to be highly artificial in
nature as it more or less corresponds with areas of intensive infrastructural development such as the N3
and the Cavan Town Bypass. Of the 22 fulachta fiadh clustered between Cavan Town and Belturbet only
6 mounds are not directly linked to the route of a road and these six mounds were all found in close
proximity of each other by the same archaeologist on a single occasion, by extension meaning that only
one fulacht fiadh site has been detected in central County Cavan independently of development projects.
Considering the fact that most areas designated for archaeological investigations in connection with
infrastructural development tend to be only a few hundred metres wide (or less) the count of 16 fulachta
fiadh type features found on a stretch of road totaling less than 20 km is actually quite impressive. The
data is certainly not sufficient for a secure estimate of the potential amount of burnt mounds in County
Cavan but even a conservative guess would be that there are hundreds of potential burnt mound sites
located throughout the county.
18
IMAGE 6.
Fulachta fiadh and burnt mounds in County Cavan. Features less than 300 m apart are presented together1; 4 (Gallagher et al 2007).
19
Burnt mounds between Cavan Town and Belturbet
Very little has been published concerning fulachta fiadh in County Cavan and several recent excavations
are still at a stage where the final excavation reports are being compiled. Below is a concise presentation
of the fulachta fiadh recorded in central County Cavan before 2004. It should be noted that recent
publications may already have made this list incomplete.
Out of a total of 23 sites with burnt mounds situated between Belturbet and Cavan Town nine have
so far been excavated and published in the Excavations Bulletin (prior to 2004), these sites are
summarized below.
IMAGE 7.
Map showing the distribution of fulachta fiadh sites between the towns of Cavan and Belturbet. Note the
correspondence between the location of known sites and the routes of recently constructed or improved roads1; 4
(Galagher et al 2007).
1. Straheglin, 1 fulacht fiadh, excavated in 2008
2. Putiaghan Upper and Bun, 5 fulachta fiadh, excavated in 2008
3. Rosskeeragh, 6 fulachta fiadh, reported to DoE by archaeologist Mick Drumm in 2003
4. Kilduff, 1 fulacht fiadh, excavated in 2008
5. Drumalure Beg, 1 fulacht fiadh, excavated in 2008
6. Drummany, 1 fulacht fiadh, excavated in 1998
7. Derrygarra Upper, 1 fulacht fiadh, excavated in 1998
8. Drumcalpin, 1 fulacht fiadh, excavated in 1998
9. Drumbo 1 & 2, 2 fulachta fiadh, excavated in 1998
10. Tullymongan Lower, 1 fulacht fiadh, excavated in 2003
11. Pollamore Near, 1 fulacht fiadh, excavated in 2004
12. Tirquin, fulacht fiadh like features, excavated in 2004
13 Cornaghleragh, 1 fulacht fiadh, excavated in 2004
20
Derrygarra upper
This site, excavated in 1998 in connection with the Cavan-by-pass road scheme consisted of an
irregular spread of burnt mound material covering an area of 79m² with a maximum depth of 0,4m. No
trough was detected during the excavation. A 14C date was obtained from this site dating it to cal. 21341972 BC5 (Murphy 1998).
Drumbo 1
This site consisted of a small mound of heat shattered stones set in a matrix of charcoal enriched soil.
The site was heavily disturbed but was interpreted by Deirdre Murphy to represent the remains of a
former fulacht fiadh. The preserved burnt mound material covered an area of less than 1m² and had a
maximum depth of 0,28m. No trough was detected on this site. A 14C date places the site at cal. 906814 BC6 (Murphy 1998).
Drumbo 2
Drumbo 2 consisted of a semi-oval mound of burnt mound material covering an area of roughly 76m²
with a maximum depth of 0,17m. A wood lined trough was detected on site as were the remains of a
hearth or pyre that was likely used to heat the stones used in the trough. The trough had a capacity of
approximately 438l. A dendrochronological date was obtained from one of the timbers lining the
trough dating the site to 959+9 BC3 (Murphy 1998).
Drumcalpin
Drumcalpin consisted of an irregular mound of charcoal and heat shattered stones covering an area of
approximately 125m² with a maximum depth of 0,5m. The mound was heavily truncated by modern
activity which luckily did not destroy the trough that was detected under the main deposit of the
mound. The trough was lined with clay and may originally also have been lined with timber, although
none was preserved. The capacity of the trough was approximately 861m². A 14C date was obtained
from this site dating it to cal. 1154-932 BC7 (Murphy 1998).
Drummany
The fulacht fiadh at Drummany consisted of two distinct deposits of heat shattered stones and charcoal
enriched soil. The deposits were irregular and covered an area of approximately 61m². The depth of the
deposits ranged from 0,15 to 0,3 m. A trough was detected on site with a capacity of more than 1300l.
The trough was simple in design and no traces of any lining were found. Deirdre Murphy states
however that the nature of the underlying subsoil, a hard and compact boulder clay, would have been
sufficient for keeping water in the trough without the need for additional lining8 (Murphy 1998).
Tullymongan lower
Was a fulacht fiadh which consisted of a mound 128m² in plan and 0,5m in depth. The mound was
situated in close proximity to various prehistoric settlement remains but the these have yet not been
confirmed as being contemporary with the fulacht fiadh. No trough was detected on site and no 14C dates
have yet been published8.
21
Cornaghleragh
The fulacht fiadh in Cornaghleragh is to date the largest excavated in County Cavan with a mound that
covered 216m² in plan and had a depth of 0,8m.
Several features were detected underlying the main mound deposit. A large pit has been interpreted
as a simple well as it was excavated in proximity to a spring that kept it continuously filled with water. A
slot trench was also detected underneath the main mound and has provisionally been interpreted as a
wind break. The trough, also situated under the burnt mound is the largest recorded fulacht fiadh trough
in the county with a capacity of 1440 litres. No dates have yet been published from this site9.
Pollamore Near
This site consisted of a mound of heat shattered stones and charcoal, approximately 33m² in plan and
0,85m in depth. The deposit also contained large amounts of hazelnut shells.
The mound was situated at the edge of a semi-circular indentation dug into the subsoil. The
indentation measured approximately 5,8 x 3,4m and had a maximum depth of 0,63m. Several unworked
pieces of tree branches and trunks were found lying around the edges of this feature.
Another interesting find from Pollamore Near consisted of the partial remains of a horse found
inside a pit found underneath a spread of burnt mound material. The cranium of the horse was also
found in an adjacent bog10.
Tirquin
The site at Tirquin differs from the ones presented above in the respect that it does not consist of a
single large burnt mound/burnt spread but rather of a number of pits and deposits of burnt mound
material. At least one of the pits was probably used as a trough and the feature displayed an adjacent
gully with two postholes cut into it, the feature has been suggested by the excavators to have
functioned as some sort of flow control mechanism.
Finds of pottery were made on this site and it has preliminarily been dated to the Bronze Age11.
22
Finds
Fulachta fiadh sites generally tend to be poor in artefacts (O’Sullivan & Downey 2004). A compilation of
finds from fulachta fiadh sites published in 1990 (Cherry 1990) showed that the majority of the artefacts
recovered consisted of stone or metal axe heads, stone scrapers, flint arrowheads, quern stones,
whetstones, spindle whorls and shards of pottery. Thus the material appears to be predominantly
functional rather than ritual or ornamental in nature. The occasional finds of non functional nature,
recorded prior to 1990, consisted of a shale bracelet from a site in County Down, a gold dress fastener
from County Mayo and fragments of an amber bead found in County Carlow (Cherry 1990). A small,
gold plated, metal ring was uncovered at Killeens by O’Kelly during his pioneering excavations in
County Cork (O’Kelly 1954:131).
The large amount of newly excavated fulachta fiadh sites all across Ireland renders the catalouge of
artefacts from these type of features (Cherry 1990) slightly obsolete and makes the compilation of an
updated publication highly desirable.
It is clear however that most excavation reports from fulachta fiadh sites published in the last few
years indicate a trend towards predominantly functional artefacts. The vast majority of reported
artefacts consist of flakes, blades and scrapers made out of flint or chert as well as occasional finds of
pottery, usually dating to the Bronze Age12.
Burnt mounds and environmental archaeology
Very little environmental archaeology has to date been performed on burnt mounds and even less has
been published into the public archaeological domain.
The most common type of investigation performed on burnt mound sites is analysis of floral
remains. The results of these investigations have so far generated little in the way of new knowledge.
The Irish Archaeobotany Discussion Group reports for example that preserved floral remains have only been
detected on less than 8% of the investigated sites and then only in small quantities (McClethie et. al.
2007, Monk, pers. correspondence).
Other types of analyses such as identification of insect remains, wood species analyses from burnt
mound charcoal deposits and palynological work has also been performed on some material from burnt
mound sites. In common to all this work is that it is currently being processed and most of it is not
ready for publication (Davis, pers. correspondence; Timpany, pers, correspondence).
Clearly, environmental archaeology is a discipline that could provide more in the way of scientific
data than it currently does in the attempts to solve the questions surrounding the burnt mounds of
Ireland.
23
Function
Fulachta fiadh have been researched, with varying amount of intensity, over the last 55 years. Despite the
research performed to date the function of this feature type remains something of a mystery.
This situation is hardly a result of a lack of attempts to define plausible interpretations concerning
the function of fulachta fiadh but rather from an inability by archaeologists to identify the empirical data
to support their hypotheses. Archaeologists are faced with a situation where the morphology,
distribution and chronology of fulachta fiadh are relatively well researched but where our knowledge of
the function, and by extension also the importance and purpose of the fulachta fiadh in Irelands
prehistoric economy and society, is restricted to the extremely basic fact that they were used to bring
water to boiling temperature. As the boiling of water must be seen as one of the most basic technical
innovations ever created, commonly used for a range of different activities, an interpretation of the
fulachta fiadh phenomenon can never be truly complete unless its function is better understood.
The cooking hypothesis
And it was their custom [the fianna] to send their attendants about noon with whatever they had killed in the
morning’s hunt to an appointed hill, having wood and moorland in the neighbourhood, and to kindle raging fires
thereon, and put into them a large number of emery stones; and to dig two pits in the yellow clay of the moorland,
and put some of the meat on spits to roast before the fire; and to bind another portion of it with suagans in dry
bundles and set it to boil in the larger of the two pits and keep plying them with stones that were in the fire, making
them seethe often until they were cooked. And these fires were so large that their sites are to-day in Ireland burnt to
blackness and these are now called Fulacht Fian by the peasantry (Céitinn: Foras Feasa ar Éirinn II in
O’Kelly 1954:148).
The passage above is from Foras Feasa ar Éirinn by Seathrún Céitinn (Geoffrey Keating), written in
the 17th century. Combined with other historical references to ancient cooking places in Irelands past
as well as studies of ethnographic parallels from different parts of the world this description of food
preparation has laid the foundation for the oldest and perhaps most widely accepted interpretation
of fulachta fiadh as places of food preparation (Barfield & Hodder 1987; O’Driceoil 1988, 1990,
1991). Among the archaeologists who support this hypothesis are several groups who interpret the
cooking function of fulachta fiadh slightly differently.
One of these groups is best represented by Michael O’Kelly who, as already mentioned,
performed the first truly scientific investigations of fulachta fiadh. O’Kellys interpretations of the
investigated sites were heavily influenced by the early written sources. Therefore the experiments
that were performed in connection with the excavation and reconstruction of Ballyvourney I in
County Cork were designed to test whether the cooking-techniques described in the written sources
could be replicated. (O’Kelly 1954).
O’Kellys experiments showed that the water in the reconstructed trough (with a capacity of 454
litres) could be brought to boiling temperature in about 30 minutes and subsequently be kept boiling
by occasionally adding further hot stones. A leg of lamb, wrapped in straw, submerged in the water
and kept boiling for almost four hours was tried for consumption. The result was a piece of meat
that, according to O’Kelly, was “cooked to the bone and free from all contamination” (O’Kelly
1954:122). Christy Lawless conducted a similar experiment in 1988 and confirmed that meat cooked
in this manner “had good colour, good odour, [...] was very moist, succulent and very tasty”
(Lawless 1990:8).
The success of O’Kellys experiments combined with the morphological similarity between his
sites and the features described in historical sources led O’Kelly to interpret the fulachta fiadh as
cooking places.
24
O’Kelly did however make it clear that the 14C dates from the sites investigated in County Cork
( C dated to the Bronze Age*) as well as other sites known at the time in other parts of the county
did not support a connection between the fulachta fiadh and the mythological fianna (O’Kelly
1954:138ff). The concept of the fian, (landless and usually young aristocrats, not yet in possession of
an inheritance) appears in early medieval Irish law tracts and the fian should thus be considered as an
occurrence dating to the late Iron Age and the early medieval period (Ó Cróinín 1995:88).
An alternative to the hypothesis that fulachta fiadh were the temporary “hunting stations” of
roaming hunters and warriors has been proposed by John Feehan (1991). Based on finds of querns
and flint tools, objects which he associates with domestic activities, Feehan postulated the
hypothesis that the fulachta fiadh can be interpreted as sites of winter dwelling for a population
supported by a pastoral economy (Feehan 1991:205). The lowland areas, bordering onto lakes and
bogs, where fulachta fiadh are generally found may have been used as areas of early grazing by the
Bronze Age herdsmen who during this time of the year substituted their diet of meat with one
mainly based on cereal based foods such as porridge and pottage.
According to Feehan fulachta fiadh would have played a significant role in the day to day activities
of winter settlements as the boiling of water would not only be suitable for the preparation of cereal
based food but also for personal hygiene and washing. Hot stones could also have been used for
baking and household heating (Feehan 1991:205).
14
Fat extraction
A rather recent addition to the fulacht fiadh debate is an article by environmental archaeologist Mick
Monk (Monk 2007) who has suggested that fulachta fiadh may have functioned as sites of fat production.
The hypothesis has some validity as animal fat, especially the blubber of marine mammals, is known to
have played a significant role in prehistoric economies throughout Europe (Gustavsson 1986; Lindqvist
& Storå 1997).
Even though it is unlikely that marine mammals such as seals or whales were boiled in fulacht fiadh
troughs throughout Ireland it is nonetheless possible that extraction of fat from animal parts by
immersing them in boiling water took place at burnt mound sites.
Animal fat rises to the surface of water when heated and it would have been easily separated from the
water with a simple scoop if allowed to cool before collection. The final product would have had many
possible uses, possibly even preservation of the very meat from which it derived, similar to the French
course of confit* (Monk 2007; Monk pers. correspondence).
The major problem with this hypothesis is that it may prove to be close to impossible to confirm in
by empirical data. Lipid studies have been suggested as a possible means of addressing the issue as
similar studies of lipids in pottery vessels have had some success. This suggestion may however turn
out to be a long shot as fulachta fiadh troughs may not have permitted fats to be sufficiently preserved
for identification (Monk 2007; Monk, pers correspondence).
Lipid studies of archaeological contexts also require rather comprehensive understanding of the
diagenesis of the materials intended for study, one way of obtaining such data being the establishment
of modern references (Isaksson 2000). If lipid studies are to be useful in providing additional data
concerning fulachta fiadh such a knowledge base of reference studies and materials would first have to be
established (Monk, pers correnspondence).
*
It should be noted that O’Kellys 14C dates were performed while the method was still in its infancy and the results were
general at best. The date from Killeens for example displays a span of 1500 years when calibrated (2900-1400 BC, 95,4%
confidence) with a significant portion of that span covering what generally is considered to be the late Neolithic. O’Kellys
samples were redated during the 1980s and published in a compilation of dates from 25 other sites (Brindley & Lanting
1990). All of O’Kellys sites were, after the re-dating, placed firmly in the early and middle phases of the Bronze Age.
25
Bathing and saunas
In the discussion concerning the functional aspects of fulachta fiadh a hypothesis that they were
saunas or bathing facilities tends to be one that is often found quoted in articles and excavation
reports13 (Murphy 1998).
The sauna hypothesis was initially proposed by Lawrence Barfield and Mike Hodder (1987) who
used an extensively investigated burnt mound in south Birmingham in England as their main object
of study. During the excavation of the feature a significant portion of the main mound deposit was
sieved indicating a total absence of bone fragments. After verifying that soil acidity could not have
accounted for the lack of bones Barfield and Hodder began to search for an explanation to the
function of the mound other than preparation of meat (Barfield & Hodder 1987:371f).
Drawing heavily on historical and ethnographic parallels the authors suggested that their burnt
mound could have been used as a sweat house or sauna. The lack of bones was seen as only one of
several indicators, others being a total absence of finds relating to food preparation and the close
proximity to water (which is typical for saunas in many parts of the world) (Barfield & Hodder
1987:371).
Barfield and Hodder also saw the large amount of burnt stones and charcoal as an indication that
the feature had been used over a longer period of time rather than during short hunting expeditions
as proposed by O’Kelly and others (Barfield & Hodder 1987:371). In this respect their view differs
significantly from that of O’Kelly and other archaeologists who have experimented with fulachta
fiadh. O’Kelly for example showed that the operation of a trough usually results in approximately
two thirds of the trough being filled with stones after each use (O’Kelly 1954:122). Considering that
most burnt mound troughs have a capacity of hundreds of litres an impressive mound can
potentially be accumulated in a relatively short period of time.
The initial publication by Barfield and Hodder (1987) was written for the purpose of challenging
the common interpretation of burnt mound as cooking sites. Giving rise to the most significant
debate in burnt mound research the sauna hypothesis has in turn been subject to criticism on several
accounts. The perhaps most significant of these is the fact that personal cleansing in a dry or steam
sauna requires the presence of an enclosed structure and such features are exceptionally rare on
fulachta fiadh sites (O’Drisceoil 1988:677). Other criticism of the sauna hypothesis has addressed the
facts that in saunas steam is usually created by pouring water on hot stones rather than the other way
around (thus negating the need for a trough) and the fact that the few structures found on fulachta
fiadh sites do not actually enclose the area around the trough indicating that the trough was not used
for the creation of steam (O’Drisceoil 1988:677f). Diarmuid O’Drisceoil has also pointed out the
idea of close proximity to water as being indicative of a sauna as irrelevant because any activity
involving hundreds of litres of water would logically have favored such placement (O’Drisceoil
1988:679).
Personal hygiene has however historically not been limited solely to the use of sweathouses and
saunas. A. T. Lucas published an article as early as 1965 where he compiled references to bathing
and washing in early Irish literature (Lucas 1965). In his article Lucas presents several instances
where the use of hot stones for the purpose of heating bathwater is described. He also proposes that
the large troughs of fulachta fiadh may have functioned as bath tubs during a time when metal or
wooden tubs were not readily available (Lucas 1965:78f). This hypothesis is however far from
accepted as most people would consider bathing in troughs filled with sharp, scorching hot stones to
be uncomfortable at best (O’Drisceoil 1988:679).
26
Textile processing
The hypothesis that fulachta fiadh may have functioned as sites of textile production and/or processing
is often neglected in the archaeological debate. This proposed function is however just as valid as those
mentioned above, and in many ways just as experimented upon.
There are three processes connected with textile production that have been suggested to have taken
place at fulachta fiadh sites: washing, dying and fulling of wool2 (Jeffrey 1991).
Washing is a process not only necessary for cleaning dirty clothes but also as a first step in processing
newly sheared wool which tends to be quite filthy and greasy2.
Fulling is a quite simple process where a woven piece of cloth is submerged in hot water together
with a detergent and thereafter agitated intensively for a short time. The process produces the dual
result of cleaning and de-greasing the cloth as well as making it stronger, warmer and partially water
proof. This is achieved by heating the wool until the microscopic scales of the individual hairs open up
and interlock with each other2 (Nockert 1991:150).
Dyeing is a process which in its simplest forms is arguably even more straightforward than fulling
(Denvir). A piece of cloth or wool can be submerged in warm water together with a dye that releases
pigmentation in water to achieve simple colouring. Dying is known to have been performed throughout
Europe from prehistoric times onward and the craft developed over time into a complex process where
various types of substances were used, often in complex combinations of dyes and mordants2 (Nockert
1991:72f).
Since all three processes presented above require the presence of warm or hot water, a large
container, and preferably the presence of a source of fresh water in which to rinse the textiles, fulachta
fiadh seem just as likely to have been constructed for textile processing as for any of the other functions
presented in this chapter. That at least is the view of Anne-Marie Denvir, an archaeologist that in her
undergraduate thesis proposes that fulachta fiadh would have made “excellent centres for textile
production”2. Denvir was not the first archaeologist to suggest such a function as an article by S. Jeffrey
(1991) proposed fulling as a possible function for burnt mounds in the early 1990s and A. T. Lucas
(1965) mentioned historical references to hot stones being used for washing as early as 1965. What is
special about Denvir’s work is the fact that she performed a set of experiments, very much in the spirit
of O’Kelly, in order to strengthen her hypotheses. Denvir used a trough specifically built for the
experiments to prove that fulling, dying and washing can relatively simply be achieved by the means of
hot stone technology2.
Using the simple dye of ivy berries (Hedera helix) a piece of wool was successfully dyed dark green and
fulling and washing was achieved using little more than hot water and a detergent (stale urine)2. The
experiments must thus be considered to be equally convincing as those involving meat preparation.
Brewing
One of the most recent additions to the debate concerning functional aspects of burnt mounds is a
hypothesis proposed by Billy Quinn and Declan Moore (2007) who have suggested that a primary
function of fulachta fiadh sites was brewing.
Looking to the long history of fermented beverages in many parts of the world, as well as numerous
ethnographic parallels of beer brewing with the help of hot stone technology, Quinn and Moore set up
an experiment to determine whether a trough heated with stones could be used to convert water and
malted grain into wort, one of the final processes involved in brewing (Quinn & Moore 2007).
The experiment turned out to be successful and the results were presented in an article in the popular
Irish magazine Archaeology Ireland (Quinn & Moore 2007) where the two authors documented how they
managed to turn 300 litres of water and 50 litres of malted grain into 110 litres of wort, perfectly usable
for fermentation into ale. The success of the experiment combined with the suggestion that cereal
produce may have been processed at fulachta fiadh sites exemplified by the occasional presence of
querns, has prompted the authors to conclude that “a primary use seems clear- these sites [burnt
mounds] were Bronze Age micro breweries (Quinn & Moore 2007)”.
27
Successful as the experiment may have been the conclusions of Quinn and Moore have not remained
unchallenged in the archaeological debate. The main issue working against the hypothesis is the fact
that it is based on a shaky empirical foundation. In reply to the initial article by Quinn and Moore
members of the Irish Archaeobotany Discussion Group (McCletchie et. al. 2007) pointed out the fact that
beer brewing is an activity that includes large quantities of cereal produce. Since fulachta fiadh are sites
where frequent firings take place as well as localities that are frequently waterlogged one would expect
traces of brewing activities to be detectable in the archaeobotanical record. Despite the excellent
preservation conditions present on many burnt mound sites the group stated that their own
investigations have shown that less than 8% of investigated sites contained cereal remains and then
only in small quantities (McCletchie et. al. 2007).
The discussion is still very much ongoing as a reply by Quinn and Moore (2008) has recently been
published where the questions raised by the Irish Archaeobotany Discussion Group are addressed. The
question of that of the clear lack of cereal remains on fulachta fiadh sites is discussed by the authors who
propose that the used grain was a valuable resource for its Bronze Age producers as it could be used
for bread baking or as animal fodder. Quinn and Moore also propose that the used malt, unless
preserved by charring or water logging, has such a poor rate of preservation that the 8% frequency of
sites containing cereal remains is actually a reasonable result (Quinn & Moore 2008).
Alternative functions
A number of alternative functions to the ones presented above have over the years been proposed for
fulachta fiadh. These include boat building, butter production, metallurgy and leather tanning (Barfield &
Hodder 1987:371).
Some of the proposed functions seem, considering the knowledge we possess about burnt mounds
today, as rather far fetched. Metallurgy is likely a candidate that should be removed from the
archaeological discussion as metallurgical processes tend to leave rather clear traces in the
archaeological record (Hambro Mikkelsen & Nørbach 2003). Boat building as a primary function is also
an unlikely candidate considering the sheer amount of fulachta fiadh located in areas hardly suitable for
waterway navigation (such as the Burren limestone plateau in County Clare).
A few of the hypotheses have been experimented upon, such as the tanning and hardening of leather
in hot water (Coles 1979:198) but generally the abovementioned functions have one thing in common:
they are poorly researched and are rarely supported by any firm empirical evidence.
28
2. Environmental archaeology in theory and practice
Theoretical and methodological considerations
Archaeology is a multidisciplinary science, a borrower where methods and theories from various
sciences are used to access various types of information stored in the archaeological record. This study
is an example of how methods originating from the natural sciences of botany, chemistry and physics
can be applied to serve archaeology.
Working within the framework of the greater discipline of Environmental Archaeology my main
theoretical inspiration has been the work of Dena Dincauze, an environmental archaeologist who has
helped to define and clarify many concepts of the discipline, concepts that vary in scope from
integration of archaeology into a more holistic ecological thinking (dealing with the interactions
between various organisms and their environments) to concepts defining the applicability of various
scientific methods on local archaeological phenomena (Dincauze 2000).
Due to the local scale of this thesis the latter theoretical considerations have been of particular
interest to me, especially concepts of taphonomy*, the understanding of how various human and natural
processes modify the archaeological material, processes that have to be understood and backtracked in
order to understand the message that is stored within the archaeological matrix.
Similar ideas, dissecting the concepts of modification of archaeological materials, have been around
for at least half a century. Schiffer’s (1976) identification of N- and C-transforms (natural and cultural) as
some of the primary factors governing the composition of the final archaeological record as well as
Binford’s (1968; 1989) focus on studies of anthropogenic processes are theoretical models that have
been an influence to me despite the fact that their use in the greater archaeological science has been
gradually phased out over the last 25 years.
Post-processual archaeology has also been an influence, particularly in highlighting the effects of
culture on seemingly natural phenomena. Considering Ian Hodder’s (Hodder 1982) belief that all
archaeological material, no matter how basic, reflects cultural behaviour, an environmental
archaeologist is faced with the task of studying an immensely complex web of natural and cultural
interactions. These interactions can be studied at local, regional or global scales.
This thesis is a local study of a regional phenomenon. To offset the effects of errors based on
preconceptions I have chosen to study each of my sites as a separate entity, representativity being the
primary consideration in the design of my sampling and interpretation strategy.
In order to answer the questions defined for this study I have studied the application of soil
chemistry, geophysical properties and archaeobotany on various archaeological materials that in some
way may act as references to the results provided by my analyses. Working in such a way I have omitted
studies of various aspects of human behaviour that may have affected the nature of the sites under
study such as the effects of ritual, tradition and idiosyncrasy. The choice to leave such studies outside
the framework of this study is not based on a belief that these factors are irrelevant to the
understanding of the studied sites, but because of my belief that they are unidentifiable by means of the
methods applied in this thesis.
No archaeological site is an island; all archaeological phenomena are interconnected in a complex
pattern. Similarly no archaeologist should be an island. Despite this thesis being a rather straightforward
attempt to apply deductive reasoning on an archaeological material it should not prohibit the use of the
results of this study in a wider analysis of the burnt mound phenomenon, even if such a study is based
on differing theoretical reasoning.
*
Taphonomy was originally a term used only to describe the decomposition processes of living organisms. It has since then
been borrowed by archaeologists to describe the decomposition and modification processes of both organic and inorganic
materials after their primary deposition (Darvill 2002:419).
29
Archaeobotany
Archaeobotany, palaeobotany, palaeoetnobotany. “A loved child has many names” goes a Swedish saying and
when dealing with the study of prehistoric flora and fauna and their mutual interactions that certainly
seems more than true. The modern term archaeobotany will be used throughout this text to describe the
method of analyzing plant remains extracted from archaeological contexts. The individual plant remains
will be referred to as plant remains or macrofossils (the latter also encompassing remains of non-plant
origin).
The realization that plant and animal remains may be preserved for many millennia or longer is not a
recent one. As early as 1848 Danish archaeologists, among them the rather well known Jens Worsaae,
started investigations of middens composed of shellfish waste found along the shores of southern
Scandinavia (Trigger 1997:81ff). A decade or so later, the now famous Swiss lake dwellings, with their
impressive array of preserved organic artifacts and waste were discovered (Trigger 1997:83f). Together
those two events led to the first investigations of human interaction with the environment based on
archaeobotanical and archaeozoological materials.
With time the study of plant and animal remains came to encompass several sub-disciplines such as
palynology, the study of pollen grains in prehistoric deposits, developed by Lennart von Post in the
early 1900s and also analyses of insect remains from prehistoric settlements (Trigger 1997: 247).
The study of zoological and floral remains from soil samples as well as studies of pollen from suitable
localities has over the years developed into an integral part of archaeology (Nesbitt 2006:20) and when
used in combination with traditional archaeology it has the potential to answer many questions
concerning human impact on its local environment as well as local agricultural practices and sometimes
even specific prehistoric processes involving organic resources (O’Connor & Evans 2005:Chap. 11).
In this study archaeobotanical investigations are mainly limited to the analysis of preserved plant
material visible to the human eye by means of a stereo microscope. There are several ways in which
macrofossil plant remains may be preserved in archaeological contexts. The five most common ways of
preservation are carbonization, preservation in arid conditions, preservation within coprolites, water
logging and imprinting (Viklund 1998:22).
Carbonization occurs when plant remains are subjected to heat of around 150-300ºC in an oxygen
poor environment. Plants subjected to higher temperatures or to an oxygen rich environment at the
time of heating tend to combust and evaporate (Viklund 1998:31f). Carbonization and water logging
are without doubt the two most common means of preservation encountered on archaeological sites in
northern Europe.
Preservation by imprinting on pottery and other types of clay are considerably rarer and so is
preservation in coprolites although both types of archaeobotanical record may occasionally occur on
Irish sites. Preservation due to arid conditions is on the other hand practically impossible in Ireland due
to the prevailing climatic conditions.
The actual procedure of retrieving material for archaeobotanical analysis is rather straightforward and
does not require advanced laboratory equipment (Branch et. al. 2005:93ff). Many of the steps can
actually be performed on site with rather primitive equipment. The primary goal of the pre-analysis
handling of archaeobotanical samples is to separate as much of the bulk soil of the sample as possible
from the information carrying remains. For this two methods may be utilized (frequently used in
combination): floatation and sieving. By pouring a dry soil sample into water the majority of organic
matter tends to float to the surface where it can be channeled into a separate container or a sieve (Brach
et. al. 2005:125). The problem with this method is that not all material of interest has a density lower
than water, allowing it to float. Bones, inorganic residue (perhaps from metallurgical processes) or
organic mater weighed down by mineralization may often sink straight to the bottom of floatation
tanks. Moist samples are also unsuitable for floatation, especially if derived from clayey deposits. An
experiment conducted during the course of this thesis shows that up to 75% of all analyzable material
would have been lost if the samples had been floatated prior to drying (see appendix 5). Water sieving
is exactly what the name implies. The sample is sieved through a set of sieves with varying mesh size,
separating the smallest fractions of the soil from the material to be analyzed. The mesh size can often
be varied depending on what type of analysis is being performed and what types of questions one is
30
trying to solve (Branch et. al. 2005:125). Once the material to be analyzed has been separated from the
bulk of the soil it is usually dried and inspected visually.
This final step of the method is also where the method enters its complicated phase. The material
needs to be detected and separated. Preserved fragments of plants are usually also separated from
bones, slag fragment, small fragments of pottery and pieces of wood or charcoal. The identification of
these classes of macro remains is important as they may be sent on to various specialists for further
analysis.
Once the preserved plant remains (usually, but not exclusively seeds) have been detected and
separated they need to be identified and counted. This may sometimes be very difficult and time
consuming as many remains tend to be fragmented or badly damaged by the passage of time or the
preservation process that conserved them in the first place.
The complexity of the method does not stop once the remains have been identified down to their
respective genus or species. In fact the interpretative phase of an archaeobotanical investigation is also
the most crucial one.
As mentioned previosly, enrionmental archaeologist Dena Dincauze stresses over and over again the
importance of taphonomy in her major work on theory and practice in Environmental Archaeology
(Dincauze 2000). In archaeobotany taphonomical considerations are focused very much on establishing
the origin and representativity of the plant remains extracted from archaeological contexts.
Transportation of material, unrepresentative preservation conditions, selective deposition of plants,
patterns of production and consumption, natural variations is plant population, etc. are factors that
must be considered when interpreting archaeobotanical results (Dincauze 2000:332ff; Viklund 1998).
31
Phosphate analysis
Phosphate analysis is a method developed for identification of the phosphate content in soils. P is a
substance that naturally circulates between various parts of the biosphere and the underlying soil.
As living organisms or their waste products decompose the phosphates tend to become fixed within
the organic or inorganic parts of the soil. Often the new compounds are insoluble and stable and can
remain stable in the soil for considerable periods of time unless physically removed (Crowther
1997:93ff; Heron 2005:565ff).
Phosphate analysis was originally developed for prospecting the agricultural areas of southern Sweden
for suitable sugar beet areas. It did not take long however before the inventor of the method, Olof
Arrhenius, could link anomalous concentrations of phosphates in some fields to historic and
prehistoric settlement (Arrhenius 1934). In fact, the largest Iron Age settlement site known in Scania
(the southernmost county of Sweden), Uppåkra, was detected by Arrhenius during his original surveys
(see Image 8). Since then phosphate analysis has become a common analytical tool, frequently utilised
during archaeological investigations.
IMAGE 8.
Map from the original phosphate survey of Olof Arrhenius. Note the significant concentration of phosphates at
Uppåkra, today known to be one of the largest and archaeologically richest Iron Age sites in southern Sweden
(Arrhenius 1934).
32
Within the framework of this thesis both organically and inorganically bound phosphates have been
analyzed, the implications of these two analyses being elaborated in greater detail later in this chapter.
Important to know however is that the method allows for both large scale surveying of large areas as
well as highly localized analyses of specific features or stratigraphies (Branch et. al. 2005:51).
When used for prospecting samples are usually extracted with a gouge auger, basically a hollow tube
open on one side which allows for the retrieval of a column of soil. When investigating stratigraphies or
specific features samples are usually taken systematically from archaeological contexts in separate
containers. For stratigraphies Kubiena boxes have proven to be particularly practical as they allow for
the transportation of intact stratigraphies to the laboratory.
When interpreting the results from any geochemical or geophysical analysis the importance of
taphonomy is just as important as when interpreting archaeobotanical remains even if the taphonomical
considerations are of slightly different nature (Dincauze 2000). Human actions within a given system
are of great influence to the deposition patterns of phosphate rich materials but equally important are
the chemical properties of the system in which the deposition is made as well as post depositional
changes to the system, the latter two often being governed by the complex rules of geological
formation processes and their interaction with the overlying biosphere (Dincauze 2000; Linderholm
2007).
Magnetic susceptibility
Magnetic susceptibility is a method of measuring the soils susceptibility to be magnetized. This property
changes with cultural disturbance of soils, water logging, burning or deposition of iron rich material in
the soil. Some biological organisms also have the capacity to affect this property (Linderholm 2007).
Magnetic susceptibility can be measured either directly in the field with a portable device called a
magnetometer or by bringing the soil to a laboratory based equivalent (Branch et al 2005:51;
Linderholm 2007; O‘Connor & Evans 2005:141). In this thesis the latter type of analysis has been
performed.
By extracting the soil with an auger and bringing it to the laboratory the archaeologist can choose to
analyze specific parts of the stratigraphic sequence. Portable magnetometers do not have that option.
In addition the soil can also be analyzed before and after ignition. The resulting quota is extremely
useful for interpretation of MS results as a high MS-quota (MS rising considerably after ignition) usually
indicates that the soil has not been subject to high temperatures before. If the quota is low it may
indicate prior firings of the soil (Linderholm 2007).
Two very important aspects worth considering when analyzing MS is that many natural processes can
alter the magnetic properties of the soil and that MS is not cumulative. Dumping ten times the amount
of organic matter in one location and not in another will create a corresponding increase of phosphates.
Lighting a fire ten times in one place and one time in another will not do the same to the results of MS
analysis. The nature of heating, its temperature and access to oxygen, as well as the iron content of the
soil are the main factors to consider, not the amount of firings (Linderholm 2007).
Loss on Ignition
Loss on Ignition is a very simple way of calculating the organic fraction of a soil sample. The soil is
weighed, heated to a temperature of around 500-600ºC, allowed to cool and then weighted again. Since
most of the organic matter will have burned and evaporated during the ignition calculation of the
percentage of organic matter is fairly simple (Crowther 1997:94ff).
Temperatures higher than 600ºC are unsuitable for calculating the amount of organic matter in soils
as some minerals will begin to alter their properties at those temperatures. In addition some soils,
especially ones with high clay and silt contents may contain water bound to the minerals in the soil,
water which may be released during ignition (Linderholm pers. comment).
33
Environmental archaeology in practice: the search for functional
aspects of prehistoric phenomena
Processing of animal based produce
Basically all these heaps were constructed according to a common scheme. The stone packing [heat shattered
stones], often in the shape of a horse shoe, was placed on a gently sloping outcrop, surrounding a natural
depression in the rock. In the small space between the stone packing and the depression, there are always larger,
unburned, stones forming a kind of stone frame (Gustavsson 1997:13).
The description above describes a feature that could very easily be mistaken for a fulacht fiadh, the only
difference being a placement around a natural depression on rocky ground rather than around a dug
out trough. The feature however is neither Irish nor is it dated to the Bronze Age. These heaps,
described by Gustavsson, have been detected on Kökar, a small island in the Baltic in the Åland
Archipelago roughly midway between Sweden and Finland (Gustavsson 1997).
The function of these features, dated to the Iron Age, has been interpreted as the processing of seal
blubber (a thick layer of vascularised fat under the skin of many marine mammals) into usable oil
(Gustavsson 1986).
As fat has been proposed as a possible function for fulachta fiadh the description of a site similar in
function and applied technology may be a good way to begin a survey of how environmental
archaeology may be used to identify prehistoric activities.
Fat production is a possible use for burnt mounds but it may also be very difficult to prove
empirically as fat may have a poor chance of preservation (Monk 2007; Monk, pers. correspondance).
Gustavsson, faced with a similar problem, sought to confirm the proposed function by drawing upon
ethnographic parallels from seal blubber processing still practiced at the time in Canada and the Soviet
Union (Gustavsson 1986).
The ethnographic data showed that hot stones are very useful indeed for the extraction of fat from
the blubber of seals as overheating and burning of the blubber would render it unusable. Instead of
heating the blubber over a fire Gustavsson suggested that it may have been placed in the stone troughs
together with hot stones and left to slowly “sweat” out the fat which thereafter, thanks to the slope of
the feature, was channeled into a separate depression in the rock (Gustavsson 1986).
In order to support this assumption phosphate analysis was performed on the features showing
heightened but not excessively high concentrations (Gustavsson 1986).
The most phosphate rich parts of an animal are the bones (Bethell & Smith 1989; Ezzo 1994),
suggesting that the interpretation of these features as oil production facilities rather than cooking or
roasting pits, may be a reasonable one.
An interpretation of these features as roasting pits or some other type of food preparation facility,
may have been expected, as many features of this type in Scandinavia have traditionally, just like the
Irish fulachta fiadh, been interpreted in this way (Norberg 1996; Wrede 1995).
The Swedish examples of features utilizing hot stone technology have traditionally been divided into
three categories. The feature category skärvstenshögar, occuring throughout of central Sweden have
sometimes been used as a parallell to the Irish and British burnt mounds (eg. Larsson 1990). This
analogy is however only based on the superficial morphology of the features and the skärvstenshögar are
actueally very poor comparisons to the Irish burnt mound as they refuse sites, places of discarded stone
and other waste contra to the Irish mounds which are the actual activity sites where the burnt stone was
created in the first place.
The other two feature types are known as kokgropar (cooking troughs/roasting pits) and
skärvstensvallar (heat shattered stone enclosures) (Löthman 1986).
34
The former are morphologically similar to fulachta fiadh and usually comprise a pit dug into the ground
with heat shattered stones present either in the pit or deposited around it. The main suggested function
has traditionally been food preparation by either direct firing inside the pit or by placing of hot stones
inside the pits which have been suggested as being either dry or water filled (Norberg 1996).
Unfortunately, despite their common occurrence throughout parts of northern Sweden these features
are poorly understood and their interpretation rests on rather dubious empirical evidence. In many
cases their function as either food preparation sites or “something else” is based solely on the presence
or absence of bones (Wrede 1995). As such the Swedish roasting pits are equally enigmatic as their
counterparts on the British Isles and are not the best candidate for the exploration of avenues of
methodological applications useful as a reference in this study.
The third main category of features displaying an adaptation of hot stone technology, the
Skärvstensvallar, is a phenomenon that has been known since the 1920s but only in the last three decades
has been subject to serious archaeological research (Spång 1986). Consisting of an enclosure of heat
shattered stones (believed to be a by-product of day-to-day activities) mixed with soil, surrounding a
sunken-floor construction these sites were initially interpreted as habitable houses where the sunken
construction and the enclosure acted as insulation against the cold climate (Spång 1986).Although this
interpretation may very well apply to many of these features their function as pure habitation sites has
lately been debated. The discovery of three such constructions at the Neolithic site of Bastuloken in
Ångermanland, northern Sweden has produced evidence of extensive processing of animal produce
(Ekholm 2006; Engelmark & Harju 2007; Hellkvist 2007). The evidence, in the form of large amounts
of animal bones of primarily elk, has been interpreted by some archaeologists as indications that
specialized activities (such as leather processing butchering) may have been performed on the site
(Engelmark pers. communication).
Regardless of whether the site was a habitable house or a semi-industrial site for the processing of elk
based products the large amount of bones is reflected by the input of phosphates in the surrounding
area (Hellqvist 2007).
The fact that phosphorous at different stages of its cycle of intake by organisms and deposition in soil
tends to bind to different fractions of the soil has been mentioned previously. In the case of sites like
Bastuloken where the primary source of phosphates were bones, the majority of P tends to bind to the
inorganic fractions, suggesting that similar activities at fulachta fiadh in Ireland should result in
comparable accumulation of phosphates.
At Bastuloken the input of P into the existing system was significant enough to be visible in
stratigraphies from cores taken in a small nearby lake (Hellqvist 2007). The increase of P during specific
times as seen in the cores suggests that there were several phases of activity at this site. By combining
the results of the phosphate analyses with studies of the micro and macrofossil remains from the same
layers suggestions have been made that the site was subject to at least three separate phases of use
(Hellqvist 2007).
The Bastuloken site was dedicated to the processing of animal produce obtained by hunting in a
Neolithic hunter-gatherer context. The same processes of phosphate deposition in the form of bone
waste would however also exist on a site dedicated to animal-based production in an agricultural
society.
The Bronze Age in Ireland was probably a period when agriculture was the backbone of the local
economies (Waddell 2000:205ff). Livestock herding would have necessitated dedicated sites for the
processing of the produce and if the burnt mounds were a part in this process then phosphate analysis
may be a useable avenue for further studies of the phenomena.
35
Prehistoric farming
Prehistoric arable fields
The introduction of crop based economies has traditionally, together with the introduction of animal
husbandry, been one of the areas of archaeological research where the uses of the methods of
environmental archaeology have played their most prominent role (eg. Brown 2007; Hillman 1981;
Reynolds 1981; van der Veen 1992; Williams 1989).
The exact circumstances surrounding the introduction of such an economy are still subject to
significant debate (Brown 2007; Wadell 2000:25ff; Williams 1989) and while some data points towards
early experimentation with agriculture in the fifth millennium BC (Brown 2007; Wadell 2000:25ff) most
recent research seems to indicate that agricultural experimentation occurred on the British Isles
sometime around 4000-3800BC with an establishment phase occurring from 3800-3000BC (Brown
2007).
Regardless of its exact date of introduction agriculture in the form of animal husbandry and crop
cultivation was long since established during the Bronze Age when most Irish burnt mounds were in
use (Waddell 2000:205ff).
Some possibilities of environmental archaeology to analyze places of animal based processes have
already been presented. Cereal based processes have however also been proposed as a possible function
for the Irish burnt mounds (Feehan 1991; Quinn & Moore 2007) and if such processes occurred on
these sites they should, like most human activities, have left detectable traces in the archaeological
record. In order to interpret such data one must first establish a framework of what types of
information are accessible by the methods applied on a specific material.
Most studies of prehistoric farming practices and the use of cereal produce have been based on
analysis of pollen stratigraphies and studies of carbonized plant remains (Branch et al 2005:67ff;
O’Connor & Evans 2005:160ff; Welinder 2004:70ff). These methods are highly useful in many
circumstances but there are also limitations, one of which is that neither can be used for efficient
localization of prehistoric arable fields (Engelmark & Linderholm 1996).
Prehistoric fields have traditionally been localized by archaeologists by surveying areas for physical
changes in the landscape or by identification of features associated with crop cultivation such as field
boundaries or stone clearance features (Engelmark & Linderholm 1996; Pedersen & Widgren
2004:270ff). Such physical manifestations of former arable landscapes are however not always present.
Phosphate analysis has, as mentioned previously, been used for the identification of prehistoric
settlement sites (Arrhenius 1934; Engelmark & Linderholm 1996; Heron 2005). The method can
however also be used in order to detect prehistoric arable fields.
As mentioned above animal matter, particularly bone, contains significant amounts of phosphates
that tend to become fixed in the inorganic fractions of the soil in which the material is deposited.
Phosphate is however also a very important nutrient for plants. Any farmer must address this fact as
long term agriculture is impossible unless the nutrients which are transported away with each crop are
replaced (Engelmark & Linderholm 1996).
At the beginnings of agricultural subsistence this problem was solved in different ways. One was by
abandoning depleted fields and clearing new ones every few years. This process was however not only
time consuming and comparatively cumbersome but must also have become increasingly more of a
problem as the Neolithic revolution triggered a population increase (Welinder 2004).
As agricultural technology developed many farmers began fertilizing their fields by spreading
farmyard manure on the fields, increasing the yield of the crops. By the end of the Bronze Age this
technology was in use in most parts of Europe. (Welinder 2004; Engelmark 1993). As many other
processes the manuring and extensive use of arable fields created long term changes in the soil.
Two primary changes due to manuring are the increased concentrations of P bound to the organic
parts of the soil and an increase in the amount of organic matter in the soil. A secondary effect of crop
fertilizing is an increase in nitrogen which stimulates the growth of N accumulating plants such as
goosefoot (Chenopodium spp.) (Engelmark & Linderholm 1996).
36
In the example of Bastuloken the high concentrations of phosphates were bound primarily to the
inorganic parts of the soil resulting in a low quota between organic and inorganic phosphates. Such a
result is typical for settlement sites and places of animal processing. An area with a high P quota is on
the other hand indicative of deposition of highly organic matter such as manure. Thus a surveyed area
which displays high concentrations of organic P, high levels of organic matter and a high P quota is a
likely candidate for a former field. By retrieving humic material from secure contexts in such a field the
cultivation phase can also be dated, a necessity when trying to tie the identified fields to other
archaeological phenomena (Engelmark & Linderholm 1996; Engelmark & Olofsson 1999).
Since many complex processes other than human interference affect the chemical composition of
soils it is very important however that these type of surveys are not limited to the suspected fields
themselves but also encompass surrounding areas that may act as reference points for the interpretation
of data. Evaluation of data in light of previously conducted surveys and studies of documented farming
practices is often also preferable for a reasonable interpretation (Engelmark & Linderholm 1996).
At Vassmolösa in Kalmar County in south-eastern Sweden postholes believed to belong to several
house structures were excavated in the late 1990s (Engelmark & Olofsson 1999).
A soil survey of the surroundings of the houses revealed two coherent areas that clearly stood out
from the background readings. Just west of the houses, which were located at the edge of this western
anomaly was an area with enhanced Magnetic Susceptibility, relatively high levels of phosphates and a
generally low P quota indicating typical “settlement type” refuse deposition. Beyond this area the levels
of organic P and P quota rose significantly while the MS of the soil dropped, indicating agriculture
around the settlement, particularly to the east of the settlement (Engelmark & Olofsson 1999).
Investigations of habitational sites which are well documented in historical sources have confirmed
the applicability of this method for the purpose of localizing abandoned arable fields. A soil survey
performed at Odlarlön, Västerbotten County, Sweden, showed that the results of the soil chemical
analyses for a yard, pasture and arable field corresponded well to similar interpretations of prehistoric
sites. The availability of historical sources for this particular site did however allow for a confirmation
of the soil chemical interpretation (Hardy 2001; Viklund 2007).
As Quinn and Moore (2007) among other have stated, cereal based processes at fulachta fiadh sites may
not necessarily have left a clear record in the form of preserved cereal remains. If the burnt mounds of
Ireland were used as a part of such processes they should however be situated in correlation to
prehistoric cultivation sites. The large amount of fulachta fiadh across the country indicates that whatever
process was being performed at these sites it must have been extensive and logistical considerations
would likely have created detectable correlations between prehistoric cereal producing areas and the
fulachta fiadh (as proposed production sites). To discern such a correlation between production and
processing sites would however likely require sampling on an ambitious scale utilizing not only
phosphate surveys but also other methods such as palynology, preferably in an area where the
distribution of fulachta fiadh is rather well known.
Crops
The houses from the Vassmolösa mentioned above were also analyzed in detail for macrofossil
remains. As the houses had not burned at any stage of their lifespan the archaeobotanical material was
rather sparse but did indicate the cultivation of at least two crops, barley (Hordeum vulgare) and flax
(Linum usitattisimum), providing qualitative data about the prehistoric agriculture of the site (Engelmark
& Olofsson 1999).
When the conditions for the preservation of macrofossil remains are right in-depth analyses of this
type can provide relatively high resolution data on certain activities performed on archaeological sites,
adding to the wider scale data provided by methods like palynology and large area phosphate analysis
(Hillman 1981; Viklund 1998).
By analyzing the remains of Scandinavian long houses (primarily postholes) Karin Viklund has
illustrated how such analyses may be performed. One of the houses presented in her thesis is House 1
from a site at Gene in Ångermanland County in northern Sweden. This was the first long house in
Scandinavia analyzed using both archaeobotany and geochemistry (Ramqvist 1983; Viklund 1998).
37
Using the archaeobotanical data coupled with phosphate analysis as well as studies of artefacts and
house morphology the excavator, Per Ramqvist, was able to present an interpretation of the internal
division of the house (Ramqvist 1983:158).
IMAGE 9.
Graphic representation of the results of the archaeobotanical and phosphate analyses as well as the final
interpretation of the internal organization of House 1 at Gene in Ångermanland, Sweden (Ramqvist 1983).
Viklund who has performed and examined data from several analyses of this type concluded in her
thesis that functional analysis of long houses from Scandinavia has a good chance of identifying in
particular grain storage areas, stables and to a lesser extent threshing barns, the latter two being more
difficult to detect due to the fact that some parts of the plant assembly are more fragile. In threshing
barns for example the primary material likely to be deposited would have consisted of chaffs and straw,
easily destroyed by most heating regimes (Viklund 1998).
Viklund also acknowledged the vital importance of a deeper understanding of the processes under
study. A problem in European archaeobotany, however, is the lack of well documented agricultural
practices at their most basic level. The problem stems from the fact that European agriculture is long
since modernized and does not provide a suitable reference to prehistoric habits (Hillman 1981).
Gordon Hillman, working mainly with British archaeobotanical material, has proposed that studies
into the practices of less modernized agricultural societies may provide reasonable parallels to
European prehistory (Hillman 1981).
Using a Near Eastern comparison he proposes that archaeobotanists may, at the very least, be able to
discern certain stages of crop processing as well as be able to separate sites dedicated to pastoral and
crop based production (Hillman 1981).
38
IMAGE 10.
Example the various stages of cereal processing as presented by Viklund (1998, after Hillman 1981).
Another aspect of archaeobotanical studies proposed by Hillman as particularly usable is the study of
plant physiology, growth and distribution patterns (Hillman 1981).
A rather simple study based on plant physiology is for example measurement of the length of
identified weeds. As various harvesting techniques have been practiced over the course of prehistory
different types of weeds have been accidently harvested with the crops. A major change, sometimes
visible on multiperiod sites, is the introduction of straw harvested as fodder for animals. Prior to the
introduction of this practice only the ears of a cereal were harvested, either by hand or with a simple
sickle or knife. During such harvesting very few low growing weeds tended to accumulate in crop
storage areas. As straw became a resource the cereals were instead cut at the base with a sickle or a
scythe resulting in accidental harvest of even low growing species (Engelmark 1993).
Another example for how studies of plant physiology can be used to interpret archaeobotanical
remains is examining the original weight and size of the weed seeds. As removing weeds and other
plant residue from the grain is vital prior to the production of flour (some weed seeds are poisonous,
others unpalatable or difficult to digest) (Korsmo 1981; Viklund 1998) several techniques have been
practiced to make this process as efficient as possible. Sieving was one of them, another was
winnowing, a practice where the seed is thrown into the air allowing for separation of the light residue
from the heavier grain. As the size and weight of weed seeds determines the stage at which these
remains are potentially separated from the grain the study of these properties can be sometimes be used
to determine the stage at which a cereal material was preserved (Viklund 1998).
Hillman has proposed that spring contra autumn sowing may also be discerned by studies of the
growth patterns of weeds (Hillman 1981). Using cleavers (Galium aparine) as an example he proposes
that the occurrence of these weeds in archaeobotanical assemblages from British sites dating to the
Iron Age and Romano-British periods is a clear indication of autumn sowing. To support spring sowing
Hillman proposes that a lack of autumn germinating weeds such as cleavers could be used as evidence
if the material at the same time contains spring germinating species of similar weight and size (thus
eliminating the possibility that the archaeobotanical material was preserved at a stage when the weeds
had already been cleaned) (Hillman 1981).
Studies such as Hillman’s and Viklund’s are necessary because they add qualitative properties to the
interpretation of the plant assemblages found in archaeological contexts. This is a vital part in
identifying the taphonomy of the material, an understanding without which a true understanding of the
material is impossible.
39
Beer and brewing
Brewing is a function that has been proposed for fulachta fiadh. In fact Quinn and Moore (2007) see it
as a likely primary function of burnt mounds in Ireland.
Beer and other fermented beverages can be assumed to have played a significant role in Europe’s
prehistory as a comparatively easily produced mind altering substance. It is not surprising then that
traces of various production processes related to the creation of fermented beverages containing
alcohol are occasionally encountered in the archaeobotanical record.
Beer appears to have originated in Mesopotamia at least 9000 years ago, even if its spread from that
area is not entirely documented in the archaeological record (Behre 1999:35f). We know however that
beer was known and common throughout the antique world as references to this drink occur in
Egyptian, Greek and Roman written sources (Behre 1999:35; Olsson 1992:3f). During the medieval
period descriptions of beer production became common and it is these sources that have provided
modern researchers with the most valuable insights into historic and prehistoric brewing (Behre
1999:35ff).
Beer brewing is a moderately complex process which requires the grain to be processed in several
steps (Behre 1999; Olsson 1992; Unger 2001:387).
The first step to a successful brewing in pre-industrial societies is to submerge the grain in water for
several days, regularly rinsing the grain and changing the water. The purpose of this procedure is dual as
it cleans the grain from impurities and at the same time stimulates the grain to start germinating. Once
the grain has been stimulated into early germination they are allowed to grow sprouts of about 5-10
mm. During the sprouting process some of the starch in the grain is transformed into sugar allowing
for fermentation. When the germination has gone on for a sufficiently long time the process is aborted,
usually by abruptly drying the grain.
A next step called roasting can be used. This is a process where the grain is warmed to about 60-70ºC
before being ground into malt, a roughly ground mash of grain. The malt is thereafter mixed with water
and heated in a container resulting in wort. Before allowing the wort to ferment however the beer was
usually spiced. The additives not only give the final brew a nicer taste but most of them also contain
substances that significantly extend the lifespan of the brew.
The fermentation of beer was in prehistoric times achieved by exposing the wort to airborne yeast.
The importance of yeast in brewing seems not to have been understood until the 16th century when it is
first discussed in German written sources (Behre 1999:35).
Prior to the 18th century all beer brews were top fermented, usually resulting in thick foam forming at
the surface of the brew which had to be regularly removed (Behre 1999; Olsson 1992:7).
IMAGE 11.
Germinated barley. Modern reference and carbonised specimen from a Swedish Viking Age site (see page 44).
40
The most commonly used beer additive today is hops (Humulus lupulus). This species was however,
prior to the 9th and 10th centuries almost unknown as a beer additive outside the confines of western
and central European monasteries (Olsson 1992:7). In most areas of Europe sweet gale (Myrica gale) was
instead the dominating beer spice. Sweet gale was indeed of some importance for several local
economies in northern Europe until the 18th century when unfounded rumors about its ill effects of
human health and sanity led several countries to outlaw its use (Behre 1992:42f).
In addition to sweet gale and hops many other species of plants have been used as beer additives,
either functioning as substitutes for the species mentioned above or complementing them in order to
create unique tastes (Behre 1999:43).
Anchusa officinalis
Artemisia absinthium
Artemisia vulgaris ***
Asarum europaeum
Calluna vulgaris ***
Citrus limon
Cnicus benedictus
Euphrasia rostkoviana ***
Feoniculum vulgare
Fragaria vesca ***
Geum urbanum ***
Hysopus officinalis
Inula helenium
Juniperus communis ***
Laurus nobilis
Lavandula angustifolia
Majorana hortensis
Melissa officinalis
Mentha pulegium ***
Mentha spicata ***
Origanum vulgare
Phyllitis scolopendrium ***
Picea abies
Pimpinella anisum
Potentilla anserina ***
Prunus avium ***
Prunus spinosa ***
Quercus sp. ***
Rosmarinus officinalis
Rubus fruticosus ***
Rubus idaeus ***
Salvia officinalis
Sambucus nigra ***
Sanicula europaea ***
Stachys officinalis ***
Szygium aromaticum
Teucrium scordium
Thymus serphyllum
Veronica officinalis ***
Vinca minor
Zingiber officinale
Humulus lupulus
Myrica gale ***
TABLE 1.
Plant species documented in historical sources to have been used as beer additives (compiled by Behre 1999).
Species marked with *** would probably have been known and available in Ireland during the bronze age14; 15
(Godwin 1975; Rose & O’Reilly 2006).
The table above shows a compilation of species known to have been used as beer additives because
they have been mentioned in medieval or later sources (Behre 1999). Some of the species are
commonly available throughout Ireland while others were not imported to northern Europe until the
spread of Christianity and the monastic gardening traditions (Godwin 1975; Olsson 1992). It is, of
course impossible to say that no other species were used as beer additives throughout prehistory as
many more species of plants display the similar aromatic properties to those listed above
Many of the plants listed in the table above are very common species, especially the ones marked as
likely to have grown in Ireland during the Bronze Age (Godwin 1975; Rose & O’Reilly 2006). This
means that they do often occur in the archaeological record.
Behre (1999) notes that species from his list occur on many of the sites that he himself has
investigated. Obviously not all these sites can be breweries.
Sometimes however, the suitable conditions and perhaps a measure of pure luck do preserve
materials that probably derive from brewing.
One such material was investigated by Karin Viklund from the Envrionmental Archaeology
Laboratory in Umeå (Viklund 2004). The material derived from RAÄ128, a site in Vinberg parish in
Halland, Southern Sweden. The site dated to around 1000-1100 AD. The site consisted of four pits
(alternatively small structures with a sunken floor) located in close proximity to settlement remains
“typical” for the period (long houses).
Each of the houses contained five or six distinct layers. Since both the lower as well as the higher
deposits displayed similar characteristics (inclusions of charcoal and heat shattered stones) Viklund
concluded that they had all been created due to the same process and that they all indicate primary use,
repeated several times, rather than a single use and secondary infilling.
41
During the archaeobotanical analysis of the material from these pits two factors stood out as
indicators for brewing.
Firstly the assemblage of plant remains was rather unique. Cereals, a type of plant remains that
normally dominates many samples from this period were very sparse. The single most numerous
species turned instead out to be sweet gale (Myrica gale).
Sweet gale is a very common plant in Scandinavia where it grows in many bogs and other moist
environments. The sheer amount of sweet gale seeds (more than 700) combined with the fact that the
seeds reappeared in most contexts indicated that they had been purposefully brought to the site
(Viklund 2004). The seed coats of the specimens were in many cases fractured and there were no traces
of the tiny drops of resin that always cover the sticky sweet gale seeds. Both aspects can be explained
by immersion in hot water and were thus seen as another indication of Brewing.
Perhaps even more unique than the presence of large assemblages of sweet gale seeds was the
presence of a powdery substance in three of the pits. The substance was found in the upper part of the
stratigraphy and Viklund speculates whether it may be residue of beer foam from the top fermenting
process known to have been used during the relevant period. At Viklund’s suggestion the foam was
analyzed soil chemically and showed rather high levels of phosphates (Viklund 2004). Similar levels of
phosphates have since then also been recorded on modern beer foam from experimental brewing
(Linderholm pers. comment). Since the top fermenting technique, which produces vast amounts of
foam residue, would have been in use throughout Europe’s prehistoric period (Unger 2001) soil
chemistry of suscpected brewing facilities may be one way of confirming or dismissing their presence
on fulachta fiadh sites (Viklund pers. comment).
The site from Halland seems as a very likely candidate for a prehistoric brewery. The presence of
significant amounts of heat shattered stones further supports this hypothesis as hot stones (and later
metal objects, including cannonballs) are known to have been used in this way in many parts of Europe
(Viklund 2004).
The relative absence of cereal remains on the site does not necessarily work against this hypothesis as
none of the structures seems to have burned, eliminating the possibility for carbonization due to an
accident. Contrary to the malt, which is perfectly edible, the beer additives were of little use once they
had been sieved out of the wort (Viklund 2004). Human selection may in this case have had a
significant impact on the nature of the archaeobotanical record.
42
IMAGE 12.
Sweet gale. Uncarbonized, modern specimens. Note the small drops of resin present on the uppermost
picture.
The material from Vinberg presented above can be said to represent the waste products from the
brewing process. The sweet gale seeds and the possible beer foam can be seen as traces from the final
stages of brewing. The site was ordered, other types of residue lacking and in the end the site must have
been purposefully abandoned. There are however sites that provide archaeologists with entirely
different insights into the brewing process.
Between 1978 and 1984 the Department of Archaeology at the University of Uppsala (south-central
Sweden) conducted research excavations of a late Vendel Period/early Viking Age† site in Hässelby,
Uppland (north-east of Stockholm) (Olsson 1992:9).
One of the several features discovered on the site was the remnants of a long house witch had been
abandoned after a catastrophic fire. Disastrous as the fire must have been for its inhabitants the house
did provide today’s archaeologists with the preserved remains of what probably is a very limited span of
time, an archaeological snapshot.
†
The Swedish Vendel Period, named after the Vendel burial site is usually considered to date between 550 and 800 AD.
The Viking Age usually defines the period between 800 and 1066 AD.
43
IMAGE 13.
Plan of House 1 at Hässelby in Uppland, Sweden. Showing the location of the considerable concentration of
germinated barley (Olsson 1992).
During the excavation one feature stood out as unique. It was made up of a layer of carbonized cereal
grains which were sampled and sent to the Environmental Archaeology Laboratory in Umeå where it
became clear that most of the grains were not only germinated but also retained most of the sprouts
still intact (Olsson 1992). Measurements of 100 randomly selected sprouts showed that their length
varied between 4,8 and 9,0 mm with an average of 6,9 mm, i.e. the length at which germination is
usually aborted through drying.
Evidence that drying had actually been attempted came from the location of the deposition inside the
house. The seeds were found laying unceremoniously in a pile on the floor just a few steps from the
main hearth of the structure. As this appears to be a very poor location for storage of grain it prompted
the excavators to suggest that the seeds had originally been stored in a container, perhaps a wicker
basket, suspended from the ceiling of the house. The location of this hypothetical basket, not directly
above the hearth but sufficiently close to it for warmth, may have provided the optimal drying
conditions inside this building (Olsson 1992).
A different type of site, at Eberdingen-Hochdorf in southwest Germany, has also produced some
evidence of drying and roasting of germinated barley (Hordeum vulgare). Depositions of charred,
germinated barley were made inside a U-shaped trench. The find was relatively clean from
contamination and unlike the find from Hässelby the sprouts were not present with the grain (Stika
1996). This latest factor is important as the trench in which the grain was found could have been
interpreted as a storage area. If such a storage area was damp enough germination of the grain could
have began prematurely, ruining the crop. Since sprouts are normally separated from the grain before
the malt is prepared the feature has instead been interpreted to have a function in the brewing process
(Stika 1996:86ff).
44
Hans-Peter Stika, an archaeobotanist who has performed several germination experiments has
proposed a hypothesis that the U-shaped trench may have functioned as a kiln where the germinated
grain was roasted before grinding (Stika 1996:86f).
Identifying brewing in the archaeological record is a task very well suited to archaeobotany. In fact, it
is hard to imagine how such sites could be confirmed using any other method.
Brewing is a process where specialized techniques are used on some of the most common crops
commonly found in the archaeobotanical record making identification of brewing processes in
prehistory possible only when conditions have allowed for preservation of brewing materials in a state
where it is identifiable as such.
It is very likely that brewing was an extremely common occurrence in prehistory and undoubtedly
many of the cereal finds identified on archaeological sites were probably intended for beer production.
No amount of cereal find can however prove that brewing has taken place on a specific site.
Experiments, like those of Quinn and Moore (Quinn & Moore 2007) have shown that brewing can
be successfully performed in fulachta fiadh. It may however turn out to be difficult to prove that
hypothesis unless favorable circumstances at some burnt mound site has allowed evidence to be
preserved and we, as archaeologist, are lucky enough to find it.
IMAGE 14.
Section through trench feature interpreted as a drying/roasting facility for germinated barley at EberdingenHochdorf in southwest Germany (Stika 1996).
Plant based dyeing and tanning
Historical and archaeobotanical evidence from the Mediterranean clearly indicates that plant based dyes
were of economic importance in the area throughout antiquity. Roman, Greek and Hebrew sources
mention species such as weld (Reseda luteola), madder (Rubia tinctorum) and woad (Isatis tinctoria) as
important plants that were purposely cultivated on a significant scale. Finds from Egyptian tombs and
mummies confirm the use of these plants in Mediterranean antiquity (Zohary & Hopf: 191ff).
Medieval sources from areas in northern Europe also confirm the importance of plant based dying.
Woad (Isatis tinctoria), bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), northern bedstraw (Galium boreale) and Keck
(Anthriscus sylvestris) are examples of species that have been recorded as dyestuff in medieval sources
(Harrisson 2002: 32ff; Tunón 2005).
Post-medieval written sources as well as ethnographic observations from various locations around the
world have further provided large amounts of knowledge concerning the use of plants for dying in preindustrial societies (Jönsson 1910 ; Tunón 2005).
In short there is little shortage of knowledge concerning the use of plant based materials in various
colouring processes, technologies that more than likely have their origins in prehistory.
Despite prehistoric dying being primarily a plant based activity, identification of sites dedicated to that
type of production, using of archaeobotany and other environmental methods may be virtually
impossible due to two primary reasons, preservation ratio and identifiability.
45
Production and processing of grain-based products or beer, as described above, often involves
processes where plant material is exposed to environments with a better chance of accidental
preservation. Roasting of malt and drying of grain are examples of activities that run a strong chance of
accidental charring. Dying is a primarily water based process where chances of accidental preservation
are limited.
Brewing, spicing, flour production, malting, threshing and winnowing are all processes that involve
specific parts of a plant, parts that in many instances are both more easily preserved and easily
identifiable when preservation has taken place. Dying on the other hand is a process where the
desirable parts often were roots, stalks and leaves (Jönsson 1910), parts of plants that are generally
more difficult to distinguish from “normal” charcoal and ash and usually very difficult to identify in
detail.
A second difficulty in identifying dying processes is the fact that most dyeing plants recorded in
historical sources which are native to northern Europe are also some of our most common weeds,
examples being various species in the cleavers genus (Galium) and the daisy (Asteraceae) family.
The problems of identifying dying apply even more to leather tanning processes which are also based
on plants based products.
Various types of tanning have the dual function of providing leather with a desired colouration as
well as providing it with other properties, such as stiffness and durability for boot production, or
flexibility and softness for various types of clothing (Jönsson 1910: 517ff).
Most plants can theoretically be used for tanning but traditionally species with a high content of
tannins (naturally occuring polyphenols that among other things give red wine and tea their distinctive
colouration) have been preferred.
Historically documented species preferred for tanning are oak (Quercus), willow (Salix), alder (Alnus),
larch (Larix), pine (Pinus) and spruce (Picea) (Jönsson 1910; Tunón 2005).
As the tanning process is at its most effective if plant parts rich in tannin (>40%) are used the most
commonly applied part of the above mentioned species was the bark.
Similarly to dying preservation of bark is a water based process is difficult to imagine and even if it
did occur the chances of distinguishing such remains from common “fire wood” charcoal is virtually
impossible.
Summary
As seen from the examples above archaeobotany and soil chemistry can be used as tools to illuminate
various archaeological issues. An important aspect of any scientific study is however also recognizing
the limitations of the applied method.
The examples above illustrate how animal based production can leave traces in form of increased
phosphate levels in the soil of archaeological context and their surrounding areas. Phosphate analysis
can also be used to detect agricultural activities, detection of activities that traditionally has been the
arena of botanically based disciplines such as archaeobotany and palynology.
Archaeobotany is also a method that can be used to identify specific aspects of agricultural practices
and various elements of plant based processes.
Some activities may however be difficult, or even impossible to detect and analyze with the methods
used in this thesis. Some functions suggested for fulachta fiadh, such as personal hygiene or fulling, have
not been discussed in detail and no reference studies have been presented in the above chapter.
This has to do with the limitations of the methods as activities of this type rarely leave discernable
traces accessible through environmental archaeology. Although some processes that do not leave a
distinct imprint in the archaeological matrix may be partially proven by negative evidence and a process
of elimination of other contradicting explanations, it is my belief that these explanation models are best
investigated by applying interdisciplinary overlapping. In essence: if my method can not access certain
data then perhaps a different one can. By overlapping methods and creating interdisciplinary synthesis a
more complete picture of prehistoric processes may be an attainable goal.
46
Such an interdisciplinary approach is not possible, nor is it attempted in this thesis. The limited
empirical background available for this thesis only allows a specialized study of a phenomenon. It is
however written and intended as a small contribution to an overall picture of the fulacht fiadh
phenomenon.
IMAGE 15.
A visual representation of the theory behind this thesis. Investigation of various phenomena is possible with the
methods applied in the thesis but one must also be acutely aware of their limitations. No study should be seen as
an isolated effort, only by interdisciplinary overlapping is true archaeological knowledge attained.
47
3. The empirical material and its geographic context
The area of investigation: a general overview
The main goal of this thesis is to determine whether a combination of geochemical, geophysical and
archaeobotanical analyses can be used to investigate functional aspects of burnt mounds.
For this purpose five sites were selected for sampling: Bun 4, Putiaghan Upper 1, 2 and 3 and
Straheglin 1 (see map below).
The three Putiaghan Upper sites were located in a cluster of four burnt mounds of which one,
Putiaghan Upper 4, was determined to be unsuitable for this investigation because of very limited
access to the surrounding area. Putiaghan 2 and 3 are in very close proximity to each other and were
processed as one site. Straheglin 1 was located approximately 1,2 km to the north-west towards the
town of Belturbet.
The sampling was performed in two separate stages. Samples for the geochemical and geophysical
analyses were taken prior to the final excavation of the sites, the sample grid and location based on the
results of the archaeological testing performed during the summer of 2007 (Gallagher et al 2007).
Stage two, involving the collection of archaeobotanical samples was performed by ACS staff (directed
by site director Gearoid Kelleher) during the course of the excavations in spring of 2008. As significant
amounts of samples were collected during the excavations a representative amount was selected from
each site.
During the processing of samples from phase two samples were also collected from Bun 4 at the
request of site director Derek Gallagher. This site contained numerous features, among others a
possible house structure, a likely ring barrow and a possible burnt mound. The site was situated
approximately 240 m east of Putiaghan Upper 1.
IMAGE 16.
Proposed route of the realigned N3 through the area investigated in this thesis. The burnt mound sites are
marked in red.
48
The area of the proposed realignement of the N3 between Cavan Town and Belturbet is located within
the north Irish drumlin belt. As such the local topography is dominated by alternating small lakes and
hills created by glacial action at the end of the last glacial (Aalen 1997). Besides the lakes and the hills
the only major geographic feature in the area is the River Erne. None of the sites was however directly
adjacent to the river, the closest sites being Putiaghan Upper 1, Bun 4 and Strahelgin 1, located 300-400
m away from the river. The topographic location of these sites on hill tops and slopes makes alluvial
deposition from the river unlikely. No alluvial deposits were detected anywhere near the sites during
the centreline testing except for some minor deposits of alluvial character on the shore of Putiaghan
Lough (Gallagher et al 2007).
All sites investigated in the course of this thesis were located in pastures (Gallagher et al 2007)
without any indications of crop cultivation in the near past. The local vegetation, except that of various
grasses and herbs present in the pastures, consisted mostly of shrubs and low trees that were grown
along the field boundaries. In Putiaghan Upper 2, 3 and 4 wetland species such as Carex (sedge) and
Juncus (rushes) were also present, reflecting the close proximity to Putiaghan Lough. Juncus species were
also noted in Putiaghan Upper 1, reflecting the documented high water table (see description of
Putiaghan Upper 1 below).
The topsoil in the area (Ap-horizon) generally reflected the general nature of the underlying subsoil
(C-horizon) which was composed of silts and clays. Local variations in the composition of the subsoil
seemed to be consistent with changes in local topography and proximity to lakes, streams and water
filled drainage ditches. Some areas also consisted of drained bogs that had been made into pastures
(Gallagher et al 2007).
The Geological Survey of Ireland has documented the bedrock in the area as mostly comprising
limestone along with sandstone, shale and various metasediments16. No bedrock outcrops were
detected during the centreline testing so presumably postglacial geological processes have buried the
bedrock beneath the depth of standard archaeological testing.
IMAGE 17.
Photograph of Putiaghan Upper 1 on the day of the pre-excavation soil survey. Facing east-southeast.
Photograph: Radoslaw Grabowski
49
The area of investigation: archaeological monuments
IMAGE 18.
Monuments and archaeological sites in the investigated area
known prior to the archaeological investigations in connection with
the N3 realignment scheme 1; 4.
A limited amount of recorded archaeological monuments were
known in the area prior to the N3 realignment scheme.
The six fulachta fiadh in the town land of Rosskeeragh,
close to Putiaghan Upper have already been presented.
A ringfort is located north-east of Putiaghan Lough, also in
the townland of Rosskeeragh. The site also contains the
remains of a possible hut, although the two features may be
unrelated.
The two small lakes in the area, Putiaghan Lough and Bun
Lough both contain remains of crannogs or suspected
crannogs while a possible enclosure has been recorded south
of Bun Lough.
Aside from the six fulachta fiadh there are no features or
monuments in the area that can be securely tied to the Bronze
Age4.
50
Putiaghan Upper 1
License No: E3821
General overview
Putiaghan Upper 1 was located on one of the higher points of a hill between Putiaghan Lough and
River Erne. The site was located on a field bordered on two sides by a road and rural habitation, the
remaining sides bordering onto other fields separated by hedge rows and field boundary ditches
(Gallagher et al 2007).
During centre-line testing one burnt mound composed of at least two separate deposits was detected
in the north-western part of the field. This feature appeared prior to the excavations as the largest and
most distinctly defined of the four selected burnt mounds (Gallagher et al 2007).
The location of this burnt mound was slightly unusual as it was several hundred meters away from a
water source. During the first phase of the sampling several areas of high water table were however
noted in close proximity to the burnt mound. The high water table also explained the occurrence of
various Juncus species on the field as these are typical wetland species.
Soil sampling
To accommodate a comprehensive sampling of what appeared to be the most extensive of the burnt
mounds detected during testing a 4 x 4 m sample grid was laid out across a 30 x 30 m area around the
feature (see Image 19). Outside the 30 x 30 m grid samples were taken at 10 m intervals resulting in a
total investigation area of approximately 65 x 55m (0,36 ha). Some sample points had to be adjusted
away from the main sample grid due to the presence of stones and testing trenches.
Only two samples were extracted from within former test trenches. These two samples were
extracted from the main burnt mound material below the depth of test trenching (secure context).
Otherwise the samples were extracted from the lower part of the topsoil (Ap-horizon) or, when
encountered, from anthropogenic deposits (possible features). On occasion reference samples from the
underlying subsoil (C-horizon) were also extracted.
The samples were taken from a total of 72 sample points. Numerous points resulted in several
individual samples, taken at different depths in the stratigraphy.
Archaeobotanical sampling
During the excavation of Putiaghan Upper 1 most contexts discovered on the site were sampled. A
total of 32 3 litre samples were selected for archaeobotanical analysis. These 32 samples represent 13
individual contexts consisting of the burnt mound itself and several adjacent or underlying pit/troughlike features. All features are described in detail in the results chapter.
51
IMAGE 19.
Location of test trenches and soil survey sample points at Putiaghan Upper 1.
52
Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3
License No: E3822 (PU2) and E3823 (PU3)
General overview
Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3 were two sites that were located on a hill slope close to the shore of
Putiaghan Lough, north-west of Putiaghan Upper 1.The slope towards Putiaghan Lough was broken by
a small plateau roughly halfway between the two sites.
The vegetation in this area was of typical wetland character with inclusions of Carex (sedge) and Juncus
(rushes) species. The vegetation as well as the presence of alluvial deposits close to the shore of
Putiaghan Lough indicates that the lake is prone to flooding. The area has probably also been subject to
considerable movement of water down the slope towards the lake, accentuating its wetland character.
During centre-line testing two burnt mound like features were detected in this area along with several
smaller pit/spread like features (Gallagher et al 2007).
Soil sampling
Due to the proximity of the features in Putiaghan 2 and 3 (less than 40m) the site was treated as one
unit. The entire area, including the plateau (which was not recommended for excavation) was sampled
using a 5 x 5 m grid set out in a rectangular pattern. Due to the large amount of test trenches the
rectangular sample pattern had to be adjusted on several occasions (clearly visible in Image 20 below).
The only samples extracted from within the backfilled test trenches were taken from the burnt mound
features below the depth of the test trenching (secure contexts). In total samples were taken from 107
sample points across an area 95 x 45 m in size (0,43 ha). Several sample points resulted in more than
one individual samples, taken at different depths in the stratigraphy.
Most samples were extracted from the lower part of the topsoil (Ap-horizon) or, when encountered,
from anthropogenic deposits (possible features). On occasion reference samples from the underlying
subsoil (C-horizon) were also extracted.
Archaeobotanical sampling
During the excavation of these two sites samples were collected from almost every context. A total of
five 3 litre samples, representing two contexts (burnt mound spreads), were selected for
archaeobotanical sampling from Putiaghan Upper 2.
From Putiaghan Upper 3 a total of seven samples (five in 3 litre and two in 10 litre bags) were
selected from three contexts representing the main burnt mound material and a pit found partially
overlaid by the main mound material. All features are described in greater detail in the results chapter.
53
IMAGE 20.
Location of test trenches and sample points at Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3.
54
Straheglin 1
License No: E3825
General overview
Straheglin 1 was located in a rather large pasture field. The investigation area was situated on a hill
slope. At the base of the hill was a bog that most likely had been drained and transformed into a
pasture in modern times.
One burnt spread and several suspicious charcoal-rich features were detected during centre-line
testing just above the former bog (Galagher et al 2007).
IMAGE 21.
Straheglin 1 during centre-line testing in 2007. Note how the clayey soil underlying the Ap-horizon on the hill is
replaced by peat at the base of the slope, indicating the former location of a bog. Facing southeast.
Photograph: ACS Ltd.
55
Soil sampling
The samples were taken at 5 m intervals around the main burnt mound feature and at 10 m intervals
further out covering an area approximately 65 x 45 m in size (0,3 ha). The grid was set out to cover
most of the slope on which the features were located, the flat area at the top of the hill as well as a
portion of the former bog. Samples from a total of 41 points were extracted at Straheglin 1 (some
points resulted in several individual samples taken at different depths in the stratigraphy).
Most samples were extracted from the lower part of the topsoil (Ap-horizon) or, when encountered
from anthropogenic deposits (possible features). On occasion reference samples from the underlying
subsoil (C-horizon) were also extracted.
Archaeobotanical sampling
A total of four 3 litre samples from Straheglin 1 were selected for archaeobotanical analysis. These
represent three contexts consisting of the fill from one trough and two charcoal rich deposits. All three
features are elaborated upon in the results chapter of this thesis.
IMAGE 22.
Location of test trenches and soil survey sample points at Straheglin.
56
Bun 4
License No: E3816
General overview
The site of Bun 4 was situated in a pasture where, during centre-line testing, severeal archaeological
features were detected. These features consisted of a possible ring-barrow, a slot trench of a possible
structure and the possible remains of a hearth. No burnt mounds were detected during the testing
(Gallagher et al 2007).
A burnt mound was however found during the final excavation of the site at the periphery of the
field. Because of the proximity to Putiaghan Upper 1 a limited amount of samples were also taken from
this site as a complement to the overall study.
Archaeobotanical sampling
A total of eight 3 litre samples were collected from Bun 4 for archaeobotanical analysis. These samples
represent six contexts consisting of one burnt mound three small pits/possible postholes and two fills
of a large pit that has preliminarily been interpreted as a well (Gallagher pers. comment).
57
4. Analytical procedure
Geophysics and geochemistry
All samples collected during the first phase of this project have been subject to the analyses described
below. During the second phase of the sampling sub-samples of 200 ml were taken from every bag
selected for archaeobotanical analysis. These were analyzed with the same methods as the soil survey
samples.
Analytical methods
Inorganic phosphate analysis (CitP ppm)
The phosphates were extracted with the citric acid method developed by Arrhenius (1934) and refined
by Environmental Archaeology Laboratory in Umeå (Engelmark & Linderholm 1996). Inorganic
phosphates were determined by citric acid (2%) extraction. The concentration of P2O5 is presented as
parts per million (ppm).
A problem with weak acid extraction is that it may sometimes be rendered ineffective by high pH in
soil. Since large areas of Ireland are situated on top of calcareous limestone bedrock this was a potential
problem.
To confirm that high pH was not offsetting the effect of the citric acid a total of 240 samples were
also extracted with an addition of hydrochloric acid (HCl). As the results turned out largely unaffected
HCl extraction was discontinued in the remaining samples.
Total phosphate analysis (CitPOI)
The total phosphate content, allowing for calculation of organically bound phosphates by subtraction
of CitP from CitPOI, was arrived at with the same method as for CitP. Prior to analysis of the total
phosphate content the samples were ingnited at 550ºC in order to decompose the organic matter,
release organically bound elements and break the silica lattice (Engelmark & Linderholm 1996).
The concentration of P2O5 after ignition is presented as parts per million (ppm).
Loss on Ingition (LOI%)
Weighing a dry sample prior to and after oxidative combustion allows for calculation of the percentage
of organic matter in the soil. The amount of organic matter is presented as % of the initial mass.
((Soildry-Soil550)*100)/100=LOI%
pH analysis (pH)
In order to control that high pH was not affecting the results of the phosphate analysis several site
transects and selected points from the soil survey were analysed. pH was also measured in one sample
from each context selected for archaeobotanical analysis. Measurements of pH in the archaeobotanical
samples had the dual purpose of controlling that calcareous conditions were not affecting the
phosphate analysis as well as providing information on the potential preservation conditions for
unburned bone.
The pH measurement was done in a 6 to 1 solution of soil and 0,1M KCl with a Mettler Toledo MP
225 pH meter.
58
Magnetic Susceptibility (MS)
The magnetic susceptibility was measured with a Bartington MS2 magnetometer equipped with a MS2B
sensor. The susceptibility is presented per 10g of dry soil.
Prior to analysis the soil was dried, homogenised and sieved through a sieve with 1,25 mm mesh size.
Magnetic Susceptibility after oxidative ignition (MS 550)
The magnetic susceptibility was measured after oxidative ignition at 550ºC. The magnetic susceptibility
was measured with a Bartington MS2 magnetometer equipped with a MS2B sensor. The susceptibility is
presented per 10g of dry soil.
Prior to analysis the soil was dried, homogenized and sieved through a sieve with 1,25 mm mesh size.
Statistical processing
P Quota
The P quota is a simple way of showing the relationship between the amounts of organically and
inorganically bound phosphate in the soil. A higher quota represents higher amount of organically
bound phosphate in the soil.
CitPOI/CitP=PQuota
MS Quota
The MS quota is a simple way of showing the relationship between magnetic susceptibility prior to and
after oxidative ignition. A low MS quota may indicate prior heating of the soil.
MS550/MS=MSQuota
Interpolation
In the results chapter much of the data is presented as an interpolated visual representation. All
geochemical and geophysical data was processed using ArcView 3.2 GIS software. The interpolation is
made according to the Inverse Distance Weighted method and the data is classified at equal intervals.
IMAGE 23.
Homogenised phosphate samples prior to treatment with citric acid. Photograph: Radoslaw Grabowski.
59
Archaeobotany
Analytical procedure
All archaeobotanical samples were dried prior to final processing. The dry samples were floatated and
water sieved through a set of sieves, the smallest with a mesh size of 0,5mm.
Once the floatated and water sieved samples were dry they were visually inspected through a stereo
microscope. Any material of interest, in this case carbonized seeds, bone and some stone objects, were
separated and identified using the reference collection of the Environmental Archaeology Laboratory
and a selection of relevant literature14; 15 (Beijerinck 1976; Bolin 1926; Grigas 1986; Korsmo et al 1981;
Renfrew 1973; Rose & O’Reilley 2006; Schoch et al 1988; Zohary & Hopf 1993).
Statistical processing
Archaeobotanical results can be presented in various forms. If extensive archaeobotanical remains are
present within a defined area the results of the analysis are usually best interpreted after an analysis of
the significance of the finds from individual contexts. The quantity of an archaeobotanical material can
for example be correlated to the size of the sample, the volume of the original context or the
production quantities of seeds and other plant parts for each identified species (Branch et al 2005:98f).
As will become apparent from the results in the chapter below the material from these sites is not
suitable for comparison between sites as only one feature produced an archaeobotanical material of
significant quantity.
The results of the archaeobotanical analysis are therefore presented as raw counts in the results
chapter and the appendices.
Floatation experiment
The archaeobotanical samples analysed in the course of this thesis were all collected on site during the
spring of 2008. Prior to the samples being shipped to Sweden for analysis they had to be reduced in
size (otherwise their weight would have been counted in hundreds of kilograms).
A decision was made that the samples would be processed by floatation and water sieving in Ireland
and dried prior to shipping. As the samples were transported to ACS’s Drogheda office just days prior
to my arrival they were still moist, wet or even waterlogged.
From personal experience I know that floatation alone is sometimes used for archaeobotanical
analysis with the presumption that any material that does not float to the surface is of little interest.
From personal experience I also know that the floatation is sometimes performed on wet samples
without prior attempts to dry the material, usually to accommodate speedy processing of samples
directly on site or during the post-excavation phase of archaeological projects.
Since the material extracted by floatation and the water sieved residue was to be separated anyway I
decided to perform a simple experiment in order to determine the percentage of plant material that
would have been lost if floatation alone had been used on the wet samples.
All material that was extracted by floatation in Drogheda was assigned a respective sample nr
followed by category designation “C”. All residue extracted in Drogheda by water sieving was dried and
the now totally dry samples were floatated once more in Umeå. All floating material was this time
designated as category “A” and the remaining residue as category “B”. Not directly connected to the
main questions of this thesis the results of the experiment are presented in Appendix 5.
60
5. Results
Putiaghan Upper 1
Pre-excavation survey
The phosphate analysis of the area around the fulacht fiadh in Putiaghan Upper 1 displayed generally low
levels of inorganic as well as organic phosphates. Three concentrations of phosphate content were
however identified in the area.
The most distinct of these was the burnt mound itself which displayed higher than average levels of
inorganic phosphates (CitP) and relatively low levels of organic phosphates (CitPOI) as well as organic
matter (LOI%). This result may be indicative of processing of animal produce on the site.
The second anomalous reading of phosphates was detected just south of the fulacht fiadh and is likely a
result of agricultural activity, possibly modern one. The increased levels of inorganic phosphates were
reflected by a corresponding increase in organic matter and organic phosphates, possibly indicating the
deposition of manure.
The third anomaly was an area approximately 10- 20 metres east of the fulacht fiadh. The increase in
phosphates was rather limited and vaguely defined making it problematic to interpret. It may be the
result of natural variations in the soil.
The result of the MS analysis showed a very clear increase in susceptibility limited to the northeastern quadrant of the burnt mound, a likely indication of in situ burning. Interestingly the
susceptibility in the rest of the mound was the same as in the surrounding area. This may indicate
limited disturbance of the material after its initial deposition as activities such as heavy ploughing would
most likely have displaced the burnt soil over a wider area.
Another interesting indication from the MS analysis was seen in the results of MS550. The results
from this analysis showed that the potential susceptibility was distinctly lower in the topsoil overlaying
the burnt mound than the surrounding area. This may indicate that the site was subject to some form
of soil clearance prior to the construction of the fulacht fiadh. If the feature had been built on top of
undisturbed soil the potential susceptibility in that area should have remained the same as the average
for the entire field. However, if the site was cleared prior to the establishment of the fulacht fiadh the
process may have resulted in the removal of iron rich strata of the soil, lowering its potential
susceptibility.
The analysis of the acidity of the soil from Putiaghan Upper 1 showed a pH of 4,6 – 6,3. Thus pH is
likely not a factor affecting the phosphate analysis. The acidic conditions are also indicative of
conditions unfavourable for the preservation of unburned bones.
61
IMAGE 24. Inorganic phosphate concentration at Putiaghan Upper 1.
IMAGE 25. Total phosphate concentration at Putiaghan Upper 1.
62
IMAGE 26. PQuota at Putiaghan Upper 1.
IMAGE 27. Organic content of the soil at Putiaghan Upper 1.
63
IMAGE 28. Magnetic susceptibility at Putiaghan Upper 1.
IMAGE 29. MS after oxidative combustion at Putiaghan Upper 1.
64
IMAGE 30. Pre-excavation plan of Putiaghan Upper 1.
65
IMAGE 31. Post-excavation plan of Putiaghan Upper 1.
66
Feature analysis
After sectioning and removal of the main burnt mound material several pit/trough like features were
found in Putiaghan Upper 1. Of the 32 archaeobotanical samples collected on site 13 have so far been
analysed for macrofossil remains, one from each sampled context.
F10- burnt mound deposit
Sample 316, deposit F10
The sample was comparatively rich in charcoal with inclusions of heat shattered stones as well as burnt
“gravelly” particles likely representing fractured stones. The sample had a distinctly “ashy” character
which is consistent with its proposed origins.
The preserved plant material was very sparse and consisted of only one seed, that of sun spurge
(Euphorbia helioscopia).
As seen from the pre-ex and post-ex plans above the deposit overlaid several pits. The uppermost fill
in pits F47, F45, F38 and F52 were assigned the same number (F10) as the main mound material. As
the uppermost fill in these pits likely represents secondary infill action postdating the abandonment of
the site they should be considered as belonging to the mound rather than the pits in terms of the
validity of the macro fossil remains.
Samples 319, 320, 327, 342, deposit F10
These samples were virtually identical to the sample classified in the field as belonging to the main
mound material. The only discernable difference was a lower frequency of charcoal inclusions. It is
possible that the process of redeposition from the main mound into the pits (likely water induced
erosion) may to some extent have sorted the material.
No plant remains of any kind were found in these samples but one possibly struck piece of slate was
detected in sample MAL_0003_327 (F10) from F38. The stone was not retouched and, in the event of
being worked, it is likely a piece of debitage.
IMAGE 32.
A possibly struck piece of slate like stone from fill F10 of cut F38.
Photograph: Radoslaw Grabowski
67
Cut F74, pit with fills F72 and F75
Pit F74 has been interpreted as a possible trough (Kelleher in print). It contained two fills and displayed
evidence of being partially recut by a later pit (F77). Both fills were sampled during the excavation and
analyzed for macro fossil remains.
Sample 334, primary fill F75
Other then inclusions of charcoal this sample contained no material of interest. The sample did not
contain any traces of heat shattered stones.
Sample 324, secondary fill F72
Similarly to the primary fill this deposit did not contain any macro fossil material of notice. Some
fragments of heat shattered stones were however present indicating a secondary nature of the
deposition process as the heat shattered stones may indicate erosion of the main burnt mound material
into the pit.
IMAGE 33.
Cut F61, pit with fills F44, F62 and F63
This feature was very adjacent to the abovementioned pit F74. It contained a total of three fills of
which only the primary F63 was sampled during the excavations. F61 has been interpreted as a possible
trough (Kelleher in print).
Sample 329, primary fill F62
Other than heat shattered stones and charcoal inclusions this pit contained no macro fossil remains of
interest.
IMAGE 34.
68
Cut F38, pit with fills F10, F48, F49, F50, and F51
This pit was located centrally underneath the main fulacht fiadh mound. It has preliminarily been
interpreted as a trough of the fulacht fiadh. A large stone at the base of the pit may represent the remains
of stone lining (Kelleher in print). Two of the fills were sampled, F48 and F51.
Samples 328 and 335, fills F48 and F51
These samples provided no macro fossil material of interest besides charcoal and heat shattered stones.
IMAGE 35.
Cuts F54, F68, F55 and F81, several recut pits
The largest set of features excavated at Putiaghan Upper 1 consisted of four intercutting pits. The
earliest of these is believed to be F54 which was filled with primary fill F58. F58 was also present in cut
F68 which may be contemporary to F54. F68 was cut by a separate pit (F55) which contained primary
fill F57 and secondary fill F56. All the above features were in turn truncated by a pit with cut F81.
Sample 339, primary fill F58 of cuts F54 and F58
Only minor inclusions of charcoal and heat shattered stones were noted in the sample from this
context.
Sample 330, primary fill F57 of cut F55
This sample contained charcoal and fragments of heat shattered stones. A total of three seeds were
recovered and identified as blackberry (Rubus fruticosus coll.) and raspberry (Rubus idaeus). Both seeds
were however uncarbonised which casts some doubts on their validity as they may represent recent
contamination. However, there were no Rubus shrubs noted in the immediate vicinity of the feature and
the high water table on this site combined with the compact, clayey nature of the fill (Kelleher in print)
does not exclude the possibility that these seeds were preserved due to wet and anaerobic conditions.
69
Cut F3, a pit with fills F4 and F24
This was a pit, containing two fills, excavated just north of the fulacht fiadh. The primary fill, F24, was
sampled and analysed.
Sample 343, primary fill F24
Only charcoal and heat shattered stones were noted in this deposit.
IMAGE 36.
Geochemistry and geophysics
Similarly to the pre-excavation soil survey the levels of phosphates in the investigated features were
comparatively low. Some trends were however detectable in the data from the phosphate analysis.
Comparison of the primary layers from each of the analysed pits/troughs showed that three features
in particular (F54, F74 and F3) contained higher concentrations of inorganic phosphates and lower
PQuotas than the other features.
The Magnetic Susceptibility of the individual features was generally low, indicating that none of the
features was used for in situ burning. Thus none of the features can be directly tied to the increase in
MS detected in the pre-excavation survey (ie. the hearth was located close to the features but has since
been destroyed).
A hearth or pyre would most likely have been used on the site to heat the large amount of hot stones.
Such a feature might possibly have been destroyed by post-depositional activity or simply remained
undetected in the mass of charcoal and burnt residue on site.
70
CitP
CitP
PQuota
Pquota
80
12
70
10
60
8
50
40
6
30
4
20
2
10
0
average from
Ap-horizon
F10, burnt
mound material
F24, primary of
cut F3
F51, primary of
cut F38
F75, primary of
cut F74
F63, primary of
cut F61
F58, primary of
cut F54
F57, primary of
cut F55
average from
Ap-horizon
F10, burnt
mound material
F24, primary of
cut F3
F51, primary of
cut F38
F75, primary of
cut F74
F63, primary of
cut F61
F58, primary of
cut F54
F57, primary of
cut F55
0
IMAGE 37.
Graph showing the inorganic phosphate content and the PQuota for the pits/troughs of Putiaghan Upper1.
Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3
Pre-excavation survey
The phosphate levels on this site were generally low. Two areas of interest were however clearly
detectable. The first of these was an increase in phosphates in the alluvial sediment from the sample
point closest to Putiaghan Lough. This is likely an increase created by the downward movement of
phosphorous material from the surrounding fields (the lake is at the lowest point of the surrounding
landscape). As such the anomaly is not directly representative of on-site activities.
The second anomaly was limited to the small plateau between Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3. This
anomaly may be linked to activities performed on the plateau, the only flat part of the field. This
assessment is supported by the fact that the PQuota for the samples from the plateau was generally
low.
An increase in organic phosphates as well as organic matter was also detected at the eastern end of
the plateau and it may indicate deposition of organically rich refuse at the periphery of the plateau.
The MS analysis for this site proved very interesting as a general increase in susceptibility was
recorded around the plateau, the most significant anomalies corresponding very well with the locations
of several smaller features in Putiaghan Upper 2. Raised susceptibility was also recorded at the western
end of the plateau.
The calculated MSQuota for the area showed a low quota (indication of prior disturbance and firing)
across the plateau and around the recorded features with increasing quotas for samples taken at the
periphery of the site, perhaps indicating the general extent of the site.
The pH of the soil was generally low across the site indicating that calcareous conditions have not
affected the results of the phosphate analysis and that the conditions on site are not favourable for
preservation of unburned bones.
71
IMAGE 38. Inorganic phosphate concentration at Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3.
IMAGE 39. Pquota at Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3.
72
IMAGE 40. Total phosphate concentration at Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3.
IMAGE 41. Organic content of the soil at Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3.
73
IMAGE 42. Magnetic susceptibility at Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3.
IMAGE 43. MSQuota at Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3.
74
IMAGE 44. Plans of Putiaghan Upper 2 (top) and Putiaghan Upper 3 (bottom).
75
Feature analysis
All of the archaeobotanical samples from Putiaghan Upper 2 have been analysed in the course of this
thesis. Due to the extremely rich nature of the samples from Putiaghan Upper 3 a representative
amount was selected for analysis. In total four samples from Putiaghan Upper 3 were analysed, one
from each of the fills in pit F14 [PU3] and two from the main burnt mound material. The selection
was made to be approximately representative of the total volumes present in each context.
Due to the fact that the sites were excavated under different licenses and were documented separately
each context number quoted in this section will have the site abbreviation presented in square brackets
after the context number (eg. F14 [PU3]).
F3 [PU2] and F4 [PU2], two deposits of burnt mound material
These two deposits were composed of typical burnt mound material. The larger one, F4 [PU2], was
composed of two separate halves (see plan above), adjacent to each other and identical in composition.
Sample 300, burnt mound material deposit F3 [PU2]
This deposit produced very little material of interest. Inclusions of charcoal were present, although in
comparatively small quantities as were inclusions of heat shattered stones.
Only one carbonised seed was retrieved from this context, that of goosefoot (Chenopodium sp.).
Samples 301-304, burnt mound material deposit F4 [PU2]
The samples from the larger of the two burnt spreads were very similar to those from F3 [PU2]. No
seeds were recorded in this deposit and the only other identifiable macrofossil was the thorax (?) of an
insect.
F14 [PU3], a pit with fills F12 [PU3] and F11 [PU3], overlain by deposit F8 [PU3]
Cut F14 [PU3], was a pit with two fills (context F12 [PU3] and F11 [PU3]) and one area of
oxidisation (F13 [PU3]) that was found at the base of the pit. The oxidisation has been interpreted as a
single event of in situ burning (Kelleher in print). The feature has been interpreted as a possible
furnace.
Burned bones were noted during the excavation in both the primary and secondary fills as well as the
overlaying spread of charcoal enriched material (Kelleher in print). Ritual deposition of cremated bone
or the use of bones as fuel has been suggested as possible explanations for the presence of the bones
(Kelleher in print).
IMAGE 45.
76
Sample 305, primary fill F12 [PU3]
This sample contained comparatively large amounts of charcoal but no discernable traces of heat
shattered stones. Occasional occurrences of burned bones were also noted in the sample. The truly
interesting macrofossils from this context were however the carbonised plant remains. Because of the
richness of the sample only a fraction of the available material has been processed so far. The material
has so far provided a total of 2156 carbonised seeds of cereals and various weeds.
The cereals consisted of 544 specimens of oat (Avena sp.), 471 examples of hulled barley (Hordeum
vulgare), 120 bread/club wheat (Triticum aestivum ssp. vulgare/ssp. compactum) and 785 cereal remains that
were too fragmented for identification.
Concerning the finds of oats (Avena sp.) it is often difficult to distinguish the wild growing wild oats
(Avena fatua) from the cultivated Avena sativa. The identification is only possible if the lemma bases of
the seeds have been preserved (Renfrew 1973:94). Three lemma bases of wild oat (Avena fatua) were
detected in the material. However, since oats (Avena sp.) make up the numerically largest group of
cereals from this context it seems unlikely that all Avena remains in the pit belong to wild oats.
Another interesting aspect of the cereal material is that at least two types of wheat were being
cultivated; bread wheat (Triticum aestivum ssp. vulgare) and club wheat (Triticum aestivum ssp. compactum).
Distinguishing club wheat and bread wheat is slightly problematic as the carbonised remains tend to
be very similar. Therefore the two species are presented together in this thesis. Most of the material
appears to belong to bread wheat but the finds of 21 rachis segments of club wheat confirm that at
least a percentage of the wheat belongs to T. compactum.
The third cereal recorded in the pit was hulled barley (Hordeum vulgare). There were no indications on
the barley (or any of the other cereals) that would support germination prior to carbonization.
The weed remains were composed of 13 specimens of mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), 4 goosefoot
(Chenopodium sp.), 62 black-bindweed (Fallopia convolvulus), 10 hemp-nettle (Galeopsis sp.), 109 small
waterpepper (Persicaria minor), 1 water pepper (Persicaria hydropiper), 6 knotgrass (Polygonum aviculare) and 1
common sorrel (Rumex acetosa). The sample also contained one unidentified seed of grass (Poaceae) and 4
fragments of hazelnut shell (Corylus avellana).
IMAGE 46.
Left: Modern reference of club wheat rachis
segments as well as carbonised specimens
from Putiaghan Upper 3.
Below: Carbonised seeds of club wheat
(Triticum aestivum ssp. compactum) from
Putiaghan Upper 3.
Photographs: Radoslaw Grabowski.
77
Sample 311, secondary fill F11 [PU3]
The secondary fill of pit F14 [PU3], contained slightly less charcoal and significantly less preserved
plant remains than the underlying primary fill. In total 139 carbonised plant remains were found in this
fill. Despite the difference in numbers the overall composition of these remains roughly mirrored those
of fill F12 [PU3]. The carbonised cereal remains consisted of 23 specimen of oat (Avena sp.), 40 hulled
barley (Hordeum vulgare), two possible grains of wheat (Triticum aestivum ssp. vulgare/ssp. compactum) and 69
grains of cereal that were too fragmented for identification. The weed flora was represented by 4 seeds
of small water-pepper (Persicaria minor) and one seed of knotgrass (Polygonum aviculare).
The remaining macrofossil material consisted of occasional burned bones and one find of a snail
shell.
IMAGE 47.
A selection of weeds from pit F14 in Putiaghan
Upper 3.
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris),
knotgrass (Polygonum aviculare) and black
bindweed (Fallopia convolvulus).
Note the similarities but also the differences
between P. aviculare and F. convolvulus, the
former usually being more asymmetric than the
latter and lacking the “shiny” and “sharp”
edges of F. convolvulus. Drawings from Bolin
(1926) and Lindman (1917).
Photographs: Radoslaw Grabowski
78
Samples 307-308, burnt deposit F8 [PU3] overlaying pit F14 [PU3]
The two analysed samples from the burnt mound produced results similar
to those of the two fills in pit F14 [PU3]. A total of 122 cereal and weed
remains were found in the samples. These were composed of 22 grains of
oat (Avena sp.), 28 hulled barley (Hordeum vulgare), 7 bread/club wheat
(Triticum aestivum ssp. vulgare/ssp. compactum) and 53 unidentified cereal
fragments. Two seeds of mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), 1 hemp nettle
(Galeopsis sp.), 2 knotgrass (Polygonum aviculare) and 5 fragments of hazelnut
shell (Corylus avellana) were also found in the samples.
Similarly to the two fills the main burnt deposit contained occasional
burned bones and significant amounts of charcoal.
Geochemistry and geophysics
The analysis of the sub- samples from the respective features in Putiaghan
Upper 2 and 3 shows that the phosphate levels of most features correspond
approximately to the average “natural” background of this site, the only
exception being the two fills of pit F14 [PU3].
The primary fill of the pit displayed phosphate levels significantly higher
than the site average. The phosphate concentration in the secondary fill was
approximately half of that in the primary fill but still significantly higher
than the surrounding area.
The PQuota in both fills was low. Normally this indicates deposition of
material which is rich in inorganic phosphates. The burnt bones from both
deposits may account for some of the inorganic phosphates but the most
likely scenario is that the bones and the carbonised seeds in combination
with each other have resulted in the increased concentration of phosphates.
Uncarbonised grain would have resulted in an increase of organically bound
phosphate but since the seeds were burned the organic phosphate
compounds were probably already broken by the time this pit was
abandoned (Linderholm pers. comment).
The magnetic susceptibility in pit F14 [PU3] was also higher than average,
confirming the in situ burning indicated by the layer of oxidised soil at the
base of the feature F13 [PU3].
Image 48.
Barley (Hordeum vulgare) from
Putiaghan Upper 3.
Photographs: Radoslaw Grabowski
79
Straheglin 1
Pre-excavation survey
As previously mentioned the site of Straheglin 1 was situated on a slope of a hill with a bog situated at
its base.
The soil survey performed prior to the excavation shows clear indications of how this topography has
affected the results of the analyses. The entire area of the slope seems to have been subject to
downward movement of soil from the slope towards the base of the hill. The results of inorganic
phosphate analysis shows clearly how the soil has moved down the hill and been deposited in the bog.
The MS analysis shows a similar trend.
Both analysis also show that the lower susceptibility and lower phosphate concentration is limited to
the slope only. The flat top of the hill has thus likely not been affected to the same degree by erosion as
the slope. The LOI analysis shows, unsurprisingly, that the amount of organic matter is very high in the
area of the former bog.
IMAGE 49. Phosphate concentration at Straheglin 1.
80
IMAGE 50. Magnetic susceptibility at Straheglin 1.
IMAGE 51. Organic content in the soil at Straheglin.
81
IMAGE 52. Post-excavation plan of Straheglin 1.
Feature analysis
Four contexts from Straheglin 1 were analysed for macro fossils. These consisted of one small burnt
spread (F25) which was cut by pit F36, the remains of a possible pyre (F51) and the fill of a pit,
possibly a trough (F19). Finds of hazelnut shells as well as bovine and red deer bones were noted
during the excavation in pit F22 (Kelleher in print). This pit was however not investigated within the
framework of this project.
F25- a small burnt spread
Sample 314
This was the spread of charcoal and burned stones that was detected during testing and preliminarily
interpreted as the remains of a fulacht fiadh-like activity. A large portion of this deposit was missing due
to the cutting of a later pit.
The archaeobotanical sample from this spread contained sparse amounts of carbonised plant remains
consisting of four seeds of wheat (Triticum sp.) and one seed of cleavers (Galium sp.). One fragment of
hazelnut shell (Corylus avellana) was also present in the sample.Significant amounts of small fragments of
heat shattered stone and charcoal were also noted in this deposit.
82
Cut F21, a pit (possible trough) with fill F19
Samples 312, 315
The archaeobotanical sample from this pit contained sparse amounts of carbonised plant remains
consisting of one barley (Hordeum vulgare), one seed of hemp nettle (Galeopsis sp.), one specimen of
cleavers (Galium cf. aparine) and one small seed that was too badly fragmented for identification. The
only other macrofossil remain was a section of an insect exoskeleton. The sample also contained
considerable amounts of heat shattered stones and moderate inclusions of charcoal.
F51, the remains of a possible pyre
Sample 313
This sample contained rather sparse archaeobotanical material consisting of four carbonised wheat
grains (Triticum sp.), one carbonised cleavers seed (Galium sp.) and 2 fragments of hazelnut shell
(Corylus avellana). The sample contained comparatively large amounts of charcoal as well as
inclusions of fragmented heat shattered stones. The soil also had a distinctly “ashy” character.
Geochemistry and geophysics
The soil analysis results of the subsamples from the three features show that phosphate
concentration and the magnetic susceptibility follow the general trend of the site. The only
anomalous readings on this site were the rather high amounts of organic matter in deposits F51
and F25, possibly indicating deposition of organically rich, but not necessarily phosphate rich,
material.
IMAGE 53. Cleavers. Drawing from Lindman (1917). Photographs: Radoslaw Grabowski.
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Bun 4
All samples taken from Bun 4 were analysed in the course of this study. Three of the features consisted
of small pits that have preliminarily been interpreted as postholes. These were partially overlain by a
burnt mound deposit which was also sampled. The final sampled feature was a large pit which has been
interpreted as a possible well.
The perhaps most interesting aspect of the burnt mound and the underlying pits/postholes is that
they were found in close proximity to features of a clearly ritual nature such as the ring barrow and the
associated burials of cremated human bones (Gallagher in print).
Feature analysis
Cut F242, a possible well with fills F254, F149 and F141
Samples from two contexts were analyzed from the large pit in Bun 4 representing the two uppermost
fills of the feature.
Samples 351, 352. Secondary fills F149 and F141
The archaeobotanical material from these two fills was very sparse consisting of only one carbonised
hulled barley (Hordeum vulgare) grain from fill F149. F141 displayed occasional inclusions of unburned
bones and both fills produced only occasional inclusions of charcoal.
Cuts F12, F14 and F15, possible postholes with primary fills F20, F64 and F61
These three features were all located adjacent to each other and have preliminarily been interpreted as
postholes (Gallagher in print). The possible posthole F15, possibly belongs to a simple rectangular
structure which was initially overlain by F11, the main burnt mound material.
Sample 350, F61 primary fill of F15
The primary fill from the posthole believed to belong to a small structure produced no valid
macrofossil material other than occasional inclusions of charcoal.
Samples 353-355, primary fills F20 and F64 of F12 and F14
These two fills, belonging to possible postholes just outside the presumed rectangular structure
mentioned above both contained moderate inclusions of charcoal as well as occasional finds of burned
bone.
Possible posthole F14 also contained fragments of heat shattered stones and three carbonised plant
remains. The plant remains were composed of two grains of hulled barley (Hordeum vulgare) and one
cereal grain that was too fragmented to be identified.
F11, burnt mound
Samples 348, 349
The burnt mound of Bun 4 contained sparse amounts of carbonised plant material in the form of a
single seed of goosefoot (Chenopodium sp.). A single seed of common fumitory (Fumaria officinalis) was
also found in an uncarbonised state in this deposit. Due to the shallow and surface-adjacent nature of
this deposit this seed most likely represents modern contamination. The only other macro remains
noted in this context were occasional inclusions of burned bone.
84
Geochemistry and geophysics
The soil analyses for the subsamples taken from the macrofossil samples presented above is slightly
difficult to interpret as there was no site-wide survey done of Bun 4. There is however a trend towards
higher phosphate levels in both fills of the large pit (F141 and F149) which would support the
interpretation of the feature as a well as wells often display depositions of material rich in phosphates
(bones and other types of rubbish) (Engelmark 1995; Linderholm pers. comment). The occurrence of
unburned bones in one of the fills (F141) would support the assumption that the increased levels of
phosphates originate from waste being deposited in a well. Wet and anaerobic conditions may have
allowed these bones to be preserved.
85
6. Interpretation
Interpretation: Putiaghan Upper 1
The site of Putiaghan Upper 1 is possibly the closest thing to a “traditional” fulacht fiadh sampled within
the framework of this thesis.
The phosphate analysis showed very limited input of phosphorous material on this site and this input
was spatially limited to an area directly underneath the fulacht fiadh and a few individual underlying
features. The results of the MS analysis similarly showed that the fires that must have been present on
the site were limited to an area directly adjacent to the identified troughs.
Translating these, rather vague, soil chemical and geophysical indications into a reasonable
interpretation the site’s function is difficult but the increased phosphate content in three of the features
coupled with the low PQuotas in the same features may indicate the processing of animal based
produce on the site.
The absence of preserved plant material on this site may be seen as either evidence that plant based
activities were not performed at Putiaghan Upper 1 or that preservation conditions or preservation
prerequisites did not exist on this site. In light of the finds of limited amounts of uncarbonised Rubus
seeds, preserved in the wet conditions of one of the pits, the former explanation seems as the most
likely one.
The disturbance on this site, as seen primarily in the MS and MS550 analyses, is spatially limited. The
investigated areas south and east of the feature show little or no traces of significant disturbance. This
site may thus have functioned in isolation or it may have been situated at the periphery of a larger
activity area that has subsequently been destroyed by road construction and housing development to
the north and west. It is also possible that the limited nature of the disturbance may indicate a short or
low-intensive use of this site.
Interpretation: Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3
The geochemical and geophysical soil analysis of this site indicates a clear spatial division of the site
into areas used for different types of activities.
The central plateau, which is the only truly level part of the field where this site is located, displays
increased levels of inorganic phosphates and a comparatively low PQuota, indicating activities where
animal based produce was processed. The increased levels of organic phosphate at the periphery of the
plateau may also indicate deposition of organically rich waste at the edges of this area, possibly
suggesting a link between the cereal processing area (represented by pit F14 [PU3]) and the plateau
(such a link could for example be that F14 [PU3] was a drying/roasting area while the plateau was used
for one of the processing steps usually preceeding drying/roasting such as winnowing or threshing).
The hearths or pyres that must have been in use during the application of hot stone technology on
this site were most likely distributed around this central area of activity. This assumption is supported
by the correspondence between areas of significantly increased magnetic susceptibility and the
deposition of the majority of burnt stones and charcoal enriched soil at Putiaghan Upper 2.
One feature, pit F14 [PU3], which contained a large find of carbonised plant material makes the
overall interpretation of this site difficult as the nature of the archaeobotanical assembly contradicts the
preliminary dating of the site as belonging to the Bronze Age (see separate interpretation of the pit
below).
In the event of all features present at Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3 being contemporary the data would
indicate a true multipurpose activity site with a primary function being the processing of cereal produce.
The cereal remains do however suggest a much later (early mediaval or later) date for pit F14 [PU3]
and if that date is indeed correct one must consider whether this applies to the entire site or just the pit.
The overall area investigated during this thesis has turned out features of predominantly Bronze Age
character such as the “classical” fulacht fiadh at Putiaghan Upper 1 and the ring barrow at Bun 4. The
86
burnt mound/burnt spread deposits in Putiaghan Upper 2 display many similarities to the burnt mound
in Putiaghan Upper 1 with regards to the lack of plant material, limited albeit detectable increases of
inorganic phosphates and similar soil morphology consisting of redeposited A and C horizon material
mixed with significant amounts of heat fractured stones.
Pit F14 [PU3] on the other hand displays higher phosphate concentrations, considerable input of
plant material and little or no evidence for heat shattered stone material. Thus the data seems to
indicate a separate date for the two parts of the site with Putiaghan Upper 2 possibly dating to the
Bronze Age and Putiaghan Upper 3 probably dating to the early medieval or later. If 14C dates become
available this interpretation may have to be re-evaluated.
IMAGE 54.
Proposed model for the spatial organization of Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3.
87
Interpretation: pit F14 [PU3]:
Formation
IMAGE 55.
Graph showing the internal relationships
between the various groups of identified
floral remains in primary fill F12, secondary
fill F11, and the overlaying spread of
charcoal rich soil F8.
Pit F14 [PU3] and its associated spread of charcoal
enriched soil was the only significant find of carbonised
plants detected within the framework of this thesis. In
total less than 2 percent (14 litres) of the total volume
(aprox. 900 litres) of the feature’s three contexts was
investigated resulting in more than 2000 individual seeds.
All three contexts appear to be the result of a single
event of carbonisation. This hypothesis is primarily
supported by the sheer amount of carbonised seeds. Since
less than 2% of the entire volume of the feature has so far
been analysed the potential amount of carbonised seeds in
the pit may be in excess of 100,000 individual grains.
Although reoccurring processing of cereals in
connection to this feature may have resulted in the
accidental carbonisation of a limited amount of grains it is
my belief that this material must be the result of an entire
batch of cereal produce being lost due to accidental
ignition during a single event.
The ratio between the identified species in the individual
contexts seems to support this hypothesis showing a
strong correspondence in all three contexts (see graph,
Image 55). The taphonomy affecting the final ratios of
each identified species in this pit would likely have
involved many complex parameters such as the original
growing conditions, the nature of the harvesting
techniques as well as the rinsing and storage regimes. It is
unlikely that the relationship between the different species
would have remained this similar in all three contexts
unless they originated from the same event.
Plant based indicators of local agriculture
The macrofossil remains of weeds from this pit show a predominance of weeds that thrive in heavy,
clayey and nutritionally rich soils, possibly indicating a conscious utilisation of such environments in the
local agriculture. The significant presence of water peppers (Persicaria hydropiper and Persicaria minor) may
also indicate that the fields were insufficiently drained as these species only occur in moist conditions.
The weed assembly consists (almost exclusively) of tall or twining species (Korsmo et al 1981). Thus
the lack of low-growing weeds may indicate agriculture where the straw of the cereal was not harvested
as animal fodder. Another indication seen in the weed flora is that most seeds belong to species that
establish themselves during the spring (Korsmo et al 1981). This fact is a very clear indication that the
cereals grown in this area were spring sown.
The cereals consist of three species that historically became the dominating crops of agricultural
Europe. The presence of barley is unsurprising on a site which has preliminarily been dated to the
88
Bronze Age as this species was already well-established on the British Isles during the Bronze Age and
continued to play a significant role in the agriculture of the area long after the last fulachta fiadh were
constructed (Godwin 1975:410; Hubbard 1976; Rowley-Conwy 2000).
The presence of free-threshing wheat and oat is however more problematic in light of the preliminary
dating. Oat is known to appear occasionally on Irish sites during prehistory but only in very small
quantities. In the absence of lemma bases the occurrence of this species can not be securely determined
as either belonging to conscious cultivation of oat (Avena sativa) or to (Avena fatua) the wild growing
predecessor to cultivated oat. Secure evidence of cultivation of Avena sativa across the British Isles has
been limited to sites dating to the Early Medieval period or later. The same applies to cultivation of
free-threshing wheat (Fyfe et al 2004; Monk pers. corresponance).
The establishment of a secure chronology for this feature is thus important in order to determine
weather the feature is related to the other Bronze Age features in the surrounding area (and thus
indicating very early cultivation of oat and free-threshing wheat) or weather the feature represents a
separate phase of activity.
Function
Returning to the functional and formational aspects of this feature the evidence seems to indicate a
drying or roasting function. The feature may perhaps be a roasting pit of a type similar to the
Eberdingen-Hochdorf trenches presented in Chapter 2 (Stika 1996) where the grain was dried/roasted
by channeling hot air from an adjacent heat source into an enclosed space. Alternatively the pit may
also be a storage facility for cereals that was somehow subject to accidental ignition.
If the feature is some form of drying/roasting pit the general absence of carbonized straw, lemma
bases and other parts of the cereal which are usually removed prior to consumption would indicate that
the cereals were in the later stages of processing (see Image 10 on page 39) when they were accidentally
ignited.
One function that this feature does not support is brewing. The archaeobotanical evidence displays
no evidence of typical pre-brewing processing regimes such as germination or malting. One of the
weed species encountered in the pit (Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris) has been documented in historical
sources as a useful beer additive (Behre 1999) but this species is represented by only 15 individual
seeds. As mugwort is one of the most common weeds in northern Europe, each plant producing
between 50 000 and 700 000 individual seeds (Korsmo et al 1981:34f), the presence of 15 seeds in the
investigated portion of the pit must be seen to represent unconcious contamination rather than
purposeful utilisation of the plant in question.
Interpretation: Straheglin 1
The site of Straheglin 1 is a very good example of how natural, post-depositional, processes can alter
the potential use of a scientific method for the interpretation of a site. The applied geochemical and
geophysical methods have on this site been rendered unusable for the interpretation of the functional
aspects of the burnt mound because of soil displacement due to colluvial action.
Despite this fact the results show that the method does indeed perform the task for which it was
developed. It gives the archaeologist a tool to study properties of the soil that are not easily accessible
by traditional excavation methods. Since the soil displacement seen at Straheglin 1 has more than likely
also affected the anthropogenic deposits on this site the data is valuable in its own right as a historical
record of the soil formation processes in the area.
The archaeobotanical material from this site was sparse but generally in line with that detected at
Putiaghan Upper 3. The presence of not only barley but also free-threshing wheat on this site does
however cast the same doubts on the preliminary dating of this site as it did on Putiaghan Upper 3.
Clearly additional dates are necessary for a comprehensive interpretation of the material.
89
The presence of cereals, hazel nut shells and bones (detected during the excavation, not the analysis)
does however indicate a site belonging to an agrarian economy with evidence for both cereal based
agriculture as well as pastoral and hunting activities as indicated by bones presumably belonging to both
bovines and red deer.
Interpretation: Bun 4
This site was only partially investigated, the analysis being limited to a selection of features adjacent to a
burnt mound.
The archaeobotanical material was rather sparse. The retrieved cereals originated from contexts
belonging to a possible well feature and the postholes of a small structure. Unfortunately neither of
these features can be securely linked to the burnt mound or the rest of the site. The samples from the
postholes were also taken from the primary fills of the features which puts in doubt the reliability of the
data in interpreting even the structure to which they belong. This stems from the fact that, when
sampling the remains of structures, the secondary fill of postholes should be targeted as the material
from the secondary layers is most likely to represent activities performed prior to the abandonment of
the structure. The plant material in primary fills of postholes on the other hand tends to represent
activities performed prior to the establishment of the structure. Since the activities represented by the
primary fill of postholes and the establishment phase of a structure may chronologically separate the
archaeobotanical material in the primary fills of the postholes must be interpreted with a great degree of
scepticism unless good chronological control has been established for the investigated contexts
(Engelmark 1985; Engelmark et al 1998).
The increased phosphate content in the large pit investigated on Bun 4 seems to confirm the
interpretation of the feature as a well as wells often display increased phosphate concentrations due to
the accumulation of waste inside them (Linderholm pers. comment). The presence of unburned bone
fragments inside the feature also seems to support this assumption as the deposits must have been
continuously waterlogged for such a material to be preserved in the overall acidic environment.
Site comparison
With exception for Putiaghan Upper 3 the investigated sites display many similarities. The
archaeobotanical material was limited and when it was obtained it did not generally occur in deposits
that can be clearly linked to burnt mound activity. There were occasional finds of weed and other plant
seeds present in fulacht fiadh related deposits such as the Rubus seeds in pit F55 at Putiaghan Upper 1
but the occurrences were very occasional and indicative of limited contamination rather than human
utilisation of the plants. The cereal finds in the burnt mound type features at Straheglin 1 (wheat,
cleavers and hazelnuts) and Putiaghan Upper 3 are exceptions where the plant assembly does indeed
indicate an anthropogenic means of deposition.
The charcoal rich spread and pit at Putiaghan Upper 3 is an obvious example of an anomaly being
detected among a generally homogenous material. This pit, based on the evidence from the
archaeobotanical analysis, is not a fulacht fiadh type burnt mound, i.e. it was not used for heating of
water by means of hot stone technology but rather for either storage or drying/roasting of cereal
produce. The feature also appears to be of a much younger date.
The nature of the soil of the investigated burnt mound in Straheglin 1 on the other hand conforms
well to the other investigated burnt mound features thus indicating a possible cereal based function for
the features. This indication is however supported by the presence of only four cereal grains. Coupled
with the fact that these grains (similarly to Putiaghan Upper 3) indicate a later (early medieval and
onward) date the evidence seems to contradict what is generally known about the chronology of these
features.
The phosphate analyses of the investigated features show similar trends across all sites. The limited
phosphate input indicates low-intensive use, possibly involving the processing of animal produce. A
90
comparison of the phosphate input in the investigated features and the overall background levels shows
only marginally elevated levels of phosphorous material (see Image 56) on all sites except Putiaghan
Upper 3 and Bun 4.
The anomalous nature of the feature in Putiaghan Upper 3 once again makes this site an unlikely
candidate for an interpretation of the general nature of the burnt mounds of this area. The raised levels
at Bun 4 are however interesting as this site not only contained a burnt mound but also a large amount
of other features of primarily ritual character. The raised phosphate levels at Bun 4 thus seem to mirror
the superficial complexity of the site, indicating more intensive and/or prolonged human activity on the
site.
Since all of the sites containing “proper” burnt mounds appear to have been used on a limited scale
they may possibly have been utilised by the local inhabitants as agriculturally-industrial activity areas.
Taking into consideration the fact that the hinterland around the investigated features displays both
additional burnt mounds and a ritual site of likely Bronze Age date (the ring-barrow at Bun 4) it is not
far-fetched to speculate whether the stretch of land between River Erne and the adjacent lakes to the
north may have supported one or more fully established Bronze Age communities, communities where
the burnt mounds functioned as processing areas for the local subsistence economy. No habitation
sites have so far been found in this area but since the corridor of the N3 realignment rarely exceeds 100
m in width it is possible that the habitation sites may be located somewhere outside the investigated
area.
IMAGE 56.
Box and whisker plot showing the phosphate input at the various sites compared to the average background levels
of the Ap horizon.
91
7. Conclusions
The applicability of the method
At the beginning of this text three questions were formulated for this thesis. The first was weather a
combination of archaeobotany, geochemistry and geophysics could provide valuable data for the
overall interpretation of fulacht fiadh type burnt mounds.
The results presented above clearly show that a range of usable information can be obtained from the
application of these methods. The analyses presented in this thesis have detected indications of various
factors such as the intensity of use of the burnt mounds, the extent of disturbance around the
individual sites as well as the spatial organisation of the spaces surrounding these features. The analyses
have also identified one feature, the pit in Putiaghan Upper 3, as not belonging to the category fulacht
fiadh/burnt mound at all.
The analyses have also been useful in determining some limitations of the applied methods as seen in
the soil analyses of Straheglin 1 which turned out to be more useful for a study of the geological
processes on that site rather than functional aspects of the burnt mounds themselves. This is somewhat
unfortunate as trying to provide data for an interpretation of the functional aspects of the burnt
mounds was the second question formulated for this thesis.
Functional aspects indicated by the method
Excluding the cereal rich pit found at Putiaghan Upper 3 all of the investigated sites have shown
indications of various activities involving both processing of animal produce as well as occasional
evidence of cereal-based agriculture. Thus the evidence seems to point towards an interpretation of the
burnt mounds (in this specific area) as activity sites for the local subsistence economy, probably
engaged in the processing of animal produce. Possible functions could be fat extraction or meat
preparation. Other processes involving animal produce may also have been performed on the sites but
the relatively low enhancement of phosphate input on the sites seems to indicate a very limited
deposition of bones, thus pointing towards the processing of pre-treated animal produce. If the burnt
mound sites were used in activities such as the slaughter and butchering of animals the phosphate levels
would in all likelihood have been much higher due to a larger amount of bones being deposited in situ.
Some hypotheses suggested for fulachta fiadh in the past are rather clearly contradicted by the results of
the analyses. One of these is the suggestion that fulachta fiadh may have functioned as bathing/sauna
installations. Such sites would in all likelihood have been considerably “cleaner” then the surrounding
area with regards to phosphate input and the presence of bones.
The hypothesis that the burnt mounds were used for the preparation of cereal based food such as
porridge also seems unlikely. I base this assumption on two facts: the lack of secure cereal occurrences
in the actual troughs (which often display excellent preservation conditions) and the size of the troughs
which usually ranges in hundreads of litres, indicating a more ambitious type of activity. While meat,
cooked, dried or smoked can be stored for lengths of time by applying various preservation techniques
porridge can only be consumed shortly after preparation, thus negating the need for vast quantities of
water.
Feehan’s suggestion that the fulachta fiadh were winter dwellings for a pastorally oriented population
also seems unlikely. The sites investigated here show no signs of permanent or seasonal habitation, in
fact most activities seem to be limited to an area directly around the burnt mounds (with exception for
the ritual activity around the Bun 4 fulacht fiadh). If fulachta fiadh were, as Feehan proposes, used for
preparation of cereal foodstuffs and basic household activities then the housholds themselves would
most likely have left some trace in the archaeological record record.
Evidence of brewing is also sorely lacking in the material. The cereals in the anomalous pit at
Putiaghan Upper 3 may have been intended for brewing but if that was the case none of the typical
92
signs are visible in the material. Since the pit is also, most likely, an occurrence separate from the burnt
mound phenomenon the cereals do not bear any significance for the burnt mound debate even though
they are highly interesting in their own right as a material representing local agricultural practices during
historical or prehistoric times.
Possibilities for the future
The analyses performed during this thesis should be seen as a taste of what type of information may be
obtained by conscious and planned application of environmental methods on this specific type of
material. There are many ways in which such a study could be extended and elaborated upon.
It is clear that the fulachta fidh did not exist in isolation. Despite the evidence indicating a low-intensive
use of these sites, the surrounding area must contain further evidence of the community by which they
were operated. Performing more extensive excavations of such areas as well as procuring more 14C
dates for areas with burnt mounds and other, various archaeological remains is one way of addressing
the wider nature of these features by placing them in a proper chronological and geographical context.
In such studies the methods of environmental archaeology can be of great use. An extension of the
geophysical and geochemical analyses would probably run a high chance of identifying additional
activity areas, arable fields and habitation sites. Analyses of this kind can also very effectively be
performed in a non-destructive way, eliminating the necessity to fully excavate the entire area. Another
method that could provide additional data on the development of human settlement in the area is
palynology. By performing pollen analyses on sediments from one of the many bogs or lakes in the area
chronological control and additional data concerning the establishment of arable agriculture could be
obtained.
Complementing the spatially extensive soil surveys and palynological methods, qualitative data
concerning specific features could be obtained by the application of the full arsenal of methods
developed within environmental archaeology on any macrofossil samples extracted in the future. The
archaeobotanical analyses could very effectively be combined with osteological analyses of extracted
bone material and analyses of insect remains from waterlogged deposits could provide information that
complements the data carried by floral remains.
Most importantly however, for the success of a study aimed at answering the many questions
surrounding fulachta fiadh, will always be intent and planning. Only by planning an investigation in a way
that corresponds to the questions at hand can relevant data be collected. As mentioned before, the
number of excavated fulachta fiadh numbers in the hundreds. The grim fact is that Irish archaeologists
can probably excavate another thousand without ever gaining more information than what is already
available as long as the traditional method of simply removing archaeological contexts and recording
their superficial morphology remains unassisted by the methods of more specialised disciplines.
Returning to the main theoretical consideration of this thesis it seems clear to me that only an
interdisciplinary approach to a complex archaeological problem can attain any form of reliable results.
This thesis, it seems to me, has shown that environmental archaeology can play a vital role in such an
interdisciplinary approach to the burnt mound issue.
93
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Internet-based resources
1
www.excavations.ie – Database of Irish Excavation Reports. 2008-04-06.
2
www.angelfire.com/fl/burntmounds/ – Fulachta Fiadh- An Irish Mystery. Internet-based publication of
a undergraduate study by Anne-Marie Denvir. 2008-03-07.
3
www.excavations.ie – Database of Irish Excavation Reports. Site 1998:017, Drumbo 2. 2008-04-06.
4
www.archaeology.ie – National Monuments Service. Dpt. of the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government. Monuments Database. 2008-05-05.
5
www.excavations.ie – Database of Irish Excavation Reports. Site 1998:015, Derrygarra Upper. 200804-06.
6
www.excavations.ie – Database of Irish Excavation Reports. Site 1998:016, Drumbo 1. 2008-04-06.
7
www.excavations.ie – Database of Irish Excavation Reports. Site 1998:018, Drumcalpin. 2008-04-06.
8
www.excavations.ie – Database of Irish Excavation Reports. Site 1998:019, Drummany. 2008-04-06.
9
www.excavations.ie – Database of Irish Excavation Reports. Site 2004:0113, Cornaghleragh. 2008-0406.
10
www.excavations.ie – Database of Irish Excavation Reports. Sites 2004:0124, 2004:0125, 2004:0126.
Pollamore Near. 2008-04-06.
11
www.excavations.ie – Database of Irish Excavation Reports. Site 2004:0129. Tirquin. 2008-05-06.
12
www.excavations.ie – Database of Irish Excavation Reports. Examples of sites containing finds:
1993:230, 1994:170, 1994:230, 1998:484, 1998:608, 1999:053, 1999:625, 1999:647, 1999:656, 2000:0067,
2001:1135, 2001:0072, 2001:0081, 2001:889, 2001:898, 2001:910, 2001:945, 2002:0451, 2002:0641,
2002:1440, 2003:1663, 2004:0266, 2004:1133, 2004:1146, 2004:1151. 2008-05-09.
13
www.excavations.ie – Database of Irish Excavation Reports. Site 1997:614. Johnstown North. 200804-12.
14
www.habitas.org.uk/flora/ – Flora of Northern Ireland. 2008-07-12.
15
linnaeus.nrm.se/flora/ - Den Virtuella Floran. Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet. 2008-07-12.
16
www.gsi.ie – Geological Survey of Ireland. Department of Communications, Marine and Natural
Resources. 2008-06-13.
17
www.britannica.co.uk – Encyclopaedia Britannica. Searchword: Confit. 2008-07-12.
100
Personal comments/correspondence
Dr. Stephen Davies. University College Dublin.
Prof. Roger Engelmark. University of Umeå.
Derek Gallagher. Archaeological Consultancy Services.
Johan Linderholm. Universtity of Umeå.
Michael Monk. University College Cork.
Dr. Scott Timpany. Headland Archaeology.
Dr. Karin Viklund. University of Umeå.
101
Appendix 1: Analysis results Putiaghan Upper 1, License No: E3821
1a: Geophysical and geochemical analysis, pre-excavation survey
MAL No
Field No
08_0003:0001
08_0003:0002
08_0003:0003
08_0003:0004
08_0003:0005
08_0003:0006
08_0003:0007
08_0003:0008
08_0003:0009
08_0003:0010
08_0003:0011
08_0003:0012
08_0003:0013
08_0003:0014
08_0003:0015
08_0003:0016
08_0003:0017
08_0003:0018
08_0003:0019
08_0003:0020
08_0003:0021
08_0003:0022
08_0003:0023
08_0003:0024
08_0003:0025
08_0003:0026
08_0003:0027
35
41
43
29
29
15
29
39
38
36
36
33
29
37
32
3
34
26
8
23
29
66
60
69
49
57
51
Northing
Easting
(IG)
(IG)
314875,1539
236870,9995
314866,8213
236874,5617
314874,8831
236875,0409
314875,3622
236866,9374
314875,3622
236866,9374
314879,8618
236859,0422
314875,3622
236866,9374
314891,2359
236871,937
314887,2154
236871,7078
314879,1536
236871,2287
314879,1536
236871,2287
314868,1129
236870,5621
314875,3622
236866,9374
314883,1116
236871,4995
314863,0925
236870,2079
314859,9677
236853,8344
314871,1543
236870,7496
314863,3008
236866,2083
314880,1535
236855,0009
314883,6115
236863,3752
314875,3622
236866,9374
314873,7167
236894,18
314880,4451
236883,5401
314856,6917
236912,0264
314866,5922
236878,603
314866,3838
236882,6235
314874,654
236879,0822
Cit-P
Cit-POI
Soil Horizon
ppm
ppm
PQuota
LOI (%) MS
Anthropogenic?
21,8
299,1
13,7
6,1
Ap
27,9
292,9
10,5
6,5
Ap
27,9
273,0
9,8
6,5
Anthropogenic
33,4
310,5
9,3
10,1
C
29,9
206,4
6,9
5,5
Ap
35,0
340,5
9,7
8,3
Anthropogenic
27,5
294,5
10,7
8,6
Ap
29,9
304,8
10,2
7,8
Ap
31,7
312,2
9,8
7,7
Anthropogenic?
44,5
267,5
6,0
6,4
Anthropogenic?
29,5
309,5
10,5
11,5
Ap
29,1
347,0
11,9
6
Anthropogenic
47,1
440,1
9,3
13,4
Ap
27,2
293,9
10,8
6,6
Ap
28,0
336,9
12,0
6,8
Ap
25,0
283,5
11,3
6,2
Ap
31,0
291,6
9,4
6,8
Ap
43,7
416,3
9,5
10,2
Ap
29,7
308,8
10,4
6,8
Anthropogenic?
32,9
396,9
12,1
8,8
C
45,9
202,7
4,4
4,5
Ap
34,5
279,7
8,1
6,4
Ap
38,6
315,5
8,2
7,3
Ap
32,6
317,5
9,7
7
Ap
38,4
325,5
8,5
7,6
Ap
30,0
281,8
9,4
6,7
Ap
36,8
310,4
8,4
8,1
102
6
7
9
10
6
11
28
8
10
63
25
9
11
16
10
10
10
9
13
10
10
10
11
15
10
10
10
MS550
MSQuota
762
127
1716
245,1
1424
158,2
1693
169,3
892
148,7
1775
161,4
1276
45,6
1582
197,8
1538
153,8
643
10,2
1395
55,8
1009
112,1
1263
114,8
1913
119,6
1507
150,7
1086
108,6
1173
117,3
1547
171,9
1472
113,2
1448
144,8
597
59,7
2771
277,1
1951
177,4
2029
135,3
1422
142,2
1521
152,1
2413
241,3
pH
No data
No data
No data
4,9
5,1
No data
4,8
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
4,6
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
5,2
No data
No data
4,7
4,7
No data
No data
08_0003:0028
08_0003:0029
08_0003:0030
08_0003:0031
08_0003:0032
08_0003:0033
08_0003:0034
08_0003:0035
08_0003:0036
08_0003:0037
08_0003:0038
08_0003:0039
08_0003:0040
08_0003:0041
08_0003:0042
08_0003:0043
08_0003:0044
08_0003:0045
08_0003:0046
08_0003:0047
08_0003:0048
08_0003:0049
08_0003:0050
08_0003:0051
08_0003:0052
08_0003:0053
08_0003:0054
08_0003:0055
08_0003:0056
08_0003:0057
08_0003:0058
08_0003:0059
08_0003:0060
08_0003:0061
08_0003:0062
08_0003:0063
08_0003:0064
58
52
65
72
54
61
71
55
48
50
47
2
70
62
63
56
53
59
22
21
22
21
46
67
68
64
16
4
5
21
45
6
7
44
40
28
19
314870,4043
314878,6536
314889,43
314844,8456
314886,6738
314882,3825
314843,9986
314890,7359
314862,5717
314870,5918
314891,9025
314863,2383
314843,0552
314886,4446
314890,4651
314862,3217
314882,6533
314874,3832
314879,6744
314875,5497
314879,6744
314875,5497
314886,9446
314873,1116
314857,4961
314890,0009
314883,9032
314864,0299
314867,9879
314875,5497
314882,9449
314872,05
314876,0913
314878,9453
314862,8841
314871,3209
314867,5712
236882,8943
236879,3946
236904,0811
236855,3142
236879,8113
236883,6026
236870,8422
236880,0613
236878,3739
236878,853
236876,1033
236849,8555
236886,1673
236883,8943
236884,0609
236882,4152
236879,603
236883,0818
236863,0836
236862,8961
236863,0836
236862,8961
236875,77
236903,1276
236897,145
236894,0704
236859,313
236854,0427
236854,2927
236862,8961
236875,52
236854,5635
236854,7301
236875,2908
236874,3117
236866,6666
236862,4378
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Anthropogenic
Anthropogenic
Anthropogenic
Anthropogenic
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Anthropogenic
Ap
Ap
Anthropogenic?
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
33,3
32,3
34,0
28,1
33,3
32,2
32,1
32,8
33,7
37,7
28,0
27,7
35,5
38,1
34,6
33,2
32,9
34,2
33,9
30,1
26,5
28,0
36,0
35,9
25,4
29,9
27,1
26,8
29,1
22,5
32,7
29,1
27,2
29,4
30,1
31,6
30,9
103
243,2
296,1
260,3
289,8
311,7
306,3
319,7
251,0
313,3
300,4
290,2
291,0
220,3
317,0
250,6
289,8
283,8
288,6
264,1
332,1
286,6
205,7
244,7
284,2
286,2
294,1
312,2
294,1
322,1
205,7
270,1
315,4
260,2
321,6
313,6
253,1
328,4
7,3
9,2
7,7
10,3
9,4
9,5
10,0
7,7
9,3
8,0
10,4
10,5
6,2
8,3
7,2
8,7
8,6
8,4
7,8
11,0
10,8
7,3
6,8
7,9
11,2
9,8
11,5
11,0
11,1
9,1
8,3
10,8
9,6
10,9
10,4
8,0
10,6
5,5
7,3
6,7
6
6,7
6,9
6,9
6,1
7,5
6,6
7,2
7,6
4,7
6,7
6,3
6,6
6,8
7,4
6,9
8,5
8,4
4,3
5,7
7,4
6,3
7,2
7,8
6,7
6,8
4,2
6,4
7
6,8
7,6
7
6,9
7,7
14
10
19
15
15
14
10
15
10
9
12
10
26
14
19
10
13
10
12
12
14
9
20
15
14
14
18
10
10
7
10
11
11
16
11
10
10
1416
2314
2249
1618
1263
1562
1633
1637
2228
1361
2014
1672
1079
1388
1948
1557
1863
1411
1373
1252
1749
615
1829
2425
1807
2123
1794
1648
1658
803
1292
1685
2784
1211
1552
1408
2019
101,1
231,4
118,4
107,9
84,2
111,6
163,3
109,1
222,8
151,2
167,8
167,2
41,5
99,1
102,5
155,7
143,3
141,1
114,4
104,3
124,9
68,3
91,45
161,7
129,1
151,6
99,7
164,8
165,8
114,7
129,2
153,2
253,1
75,7
141,1
140,8
201,9
No data
No data
4,6
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
5,1
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
08_0003:0065
08_0003:0066
08_0003:0067
08_0003:0068
08_0003:0069
08_0003:0070
08_0003:0071
08_0003:0072
08_0003:0073
08_0003:0074
08_0003:0075
08_0003:0076
08_0003:0077
08_0003:0078
08_0003:0079
08_0003:0080
08_0003:0081
08_0003:0082
08_0003:0083
08_0003:0084
08_0003:0085
14
14
24
13
7
17
22
9
10
11
20
25
12
22
18
31
30
37
42
1
27
314875,8414
314875,8414
314887,6945
314871,8
314876,0913
314887,9445
314879,6744
314884,1531
314888,1945
314863,8007
314871,5709
314890,6734
314867,8212
314879,6744
314863,5091
314883,4032
314879,3411
314883,1116
314870,8626
314860,1969
314867,3213
236858,8339
236858,8339
236863,5418
236858,5631
236854,7301
236859,5422
236863,0836
236855,2092
236855,4592
236858,1048
236862,6253
236863,771
236858,3548
236863,0836
236862,2086
236867,3957
236867,1874
236871,4995
236874,77
236849,7097
236866,4583
Ap
Anthropogenic?
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Anthropogenic
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
C
Ap
Anthropogenic?
Anthropogenic
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
41,1
27,1
28,0
30,1
28,1
30,2
25,1
35,8
26,5
27,6
30,1
27,6
31,5
34,5
33,9
24,3
36,3
25,1
31,8
24,4
37,6
Abbreviations/explanations:
(IG)- Coordinated within the Irish National Grid as defined by OSI.
Ap horizon- Topsoil
C horizon- Subsoil
Anthropogenic- Possible archaeological feature
104
392,0
203,0
276,3
320,7
266,0
310,4
225,7
253,0
277,0
250,0
307,8
306,1
322,2
215,6
325,8
208,5
205,8
216,8
293,1
250,9
355,6
9,5
7,5
9,9
10,7
9,5
10,3
9,0
7,1
10,5
9,1
10,2
11,1
10,2
6,3
9,6
8,6
5,7
8,6
9,2
10,3
9,5
9,4
3,8
6,8
7,2
6,7
7,4
6,7
6,5
7,1
5
6,6
8,1
7,2
5,4
6,9
5,7
7,4
5,4
6,8
6,8
7,9
14
8
9
6
17
6
9
11
8
25
8
15
13
7
6
31
55
11
7
7
6
1495
476
1454
1852
2539
1425
1368
1560
1508
885
1453
2562
2145
487
1038
1142
750
638
1807
1728
1664
106,8
59,5
161,6
308,7
149,4
237,5
152
141,8
188,5
35,4
181,6
170,8
165
69,6
173
36,8
13,6
58
258,1
246,8
277,3
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
5,4
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
4,6
No data
1b: Geophysical and geochemical analysis, archaeobotanical sub-samples
MALNo
08_0003_316
08_0003_317
08_0003_318
08_0003_319
08_0003_320
08_0003_321
08_0003_322
08_0003_323
08_0003_324
08_0003_325
08_0003_326
08_0003_327
08_0003_328
08_0003_329
08_0003_330
08_0003_331
08_0003_332
08_0003_333
08_0003_334
08_0003_335
08_0003_336
08_0003_337
08_0003_338
08_0003_339
08_0003_340
08_0003_341
08_0003_342
08_0003_343
08_0003_344
08_0003_345
08_0003_346
08_0003_347
ACS sample Context
No
No
Context Type
10
10 Burnt Mound dep.
17
10 Burnt Mound dep.
32
10 fill of pit
32
10 fill of pit
23
10 fill of pit
23
10 Burnt Mound dep.
31
72 fill of poss posthole
30
72 fill of poss posthole
30
72 fill of poss posthole
13
10 fill of pit
14
48 fill of pit
13
10 fill of pit
14
48 fill of pit
21
63 fill of pit
26
57 fill of pit
22
63 fill of pit
21
63 fill of pit
22
63 fill of pit
29
75 fill of pit
16
51 fill of pit
21
63 fill of pit
29
75 fill of pit
15
51 fill of pit
36
58 fill of pit
21
63 fill of pit
36
58 fill of pit
45
10 fill of small pit
9
24 fill of pit
22
63 fill of pit
9
24 fill of pit
36
58 fill of pit
36
58 fill of pit
Cit-P ppm
Cit-POI ppm Pquota LOI (%) MS
MS550 MSQuota
29,6
240,1
8,1
19
19
1351
71,1
41,8
297,1
7,1
12,7
14
1677
119,8
26,4
265,6
10,1
10,5
11
1676
152,4
30,0
270,0
9,0
10,7
10
1723
172,3
48,9
268,8
5,5
7,2
3
456
152,0
41,2
318,3
7,7
9,1
4
733
183,3
36,6
255,2
7,0
8,8
3
1050
350,0
33,6
228,4
6,8
7,9
3
653
217,7
39,1
189,8
4,8
5,2
3
279
93,0
32,0
237,1
7,4
7
3
273
91,0
36,1
106,2
2,9
2,3
17
37
2,2
35,9
264,7
7,4
9,9
5
989
197,8
31,9
114,8
3,6
3,2
9
87
9,7
34,1
141,4
4,2
4,1
7
246
35,1
45,4
333,7
7,3
10,2
1
157
157,0
35,5
174,9
4,9
4,7
2
229
114,5
36,4
129,3
3,6
3,2
5
87
17,4
52,2
209,2
4,0
6,5
5
617
123,4
68,6
240,4
3,5
5,9
6
95
15,8
36,1
160,2
4,4
4,4
18
266
14,8
30,2
120,3
4,0
2,6
3
50
16,7
69,3
207,0
3,0
5,3
7
173
24,7
26,4
102,6
3,9
2,7
17
81
4,8
85,2
215,1
2,5
5,5
6
69
11,5
46,4
163,8
3,5
7,7
5
685
137,0
69,3
156,4
2,3
5,5
5
147
29,4
30,4
265,3
8,7
8
4
779
194,8
55,2
248,5
4,5
5,5
4
144
36,0
38,2
121,6
3,2
3,8
12
79
6,6
45,0
271,2
6,0
6
6
198
33,0
57,9
195,7
3,4
4,9
8
120
15,0
67,0
184,8
2,8
4,3
4
56
14,0
105
pH
5,4
no data
no data
5,2
no data
no data
no data
no data
5,4
no data
no data
5,4
5,4
5,5
6
no data
no data
no data
6
5,8
no data
no data
no data
7,6
no data
no data
5,4
6,3
no data
no data
no data
no data
1c: Macrofossil analysis
MAL No
ACS sample Context
No
No
08_0003:316
08_0003:319
08_0003:320
08_0003:324
10
32
23
30
Context Type
10
72
72
10
Cereals
fill of pit
fill of poss posthole
fill of poss posthole
fill of pit
08_0003:327
08_0003:328
08_0003:329
13
14
21
57 fill of pit
63 fill of pit
63 fill of pit
08_0003:330
08_0003:334
08_0003:335
08_0003:339
08_0003:342
08_0003:343
26
29
16
36
45
9
63
75
51
10
24
58
Weeds/other plants
Euphorbia helioscopia: 1
Rubus fruticosus (unc): 1
Rubus idaeus (unc): 3
fill of pit
fill of pit
fill of pit
fill of small pit
fill of pit
fill of pit
Lab
Notes
Charcoal
(HS) (A)
(HS) (A)
(HS) (A)
(HS)
XXXX
XX
X
XX
(HS) (A)
worked
stone (?)
(HS)
(HS)
XXX
XX
XXX
(HS)
(HS)
(HS)
(HS) (A)
(HS)
Abbreviations/explanations:
(HS)- Contained heat shattered stones
(A)- The soil was of a distinctly “ashy” character
(unc)- Seeds were uncarbonised
Charcoal (ml/3litres of soil):
X <12 ml
XX 12-50 ml
XXX 50-100 ml
XXXX > 100 ml
106
X
XX
XX
X
X
X
Appendix 2: Analysis results, Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3, License No: E3822, E3833
2a: Pre-excavation survey
Northing
Easting
(IG)
(IG)
MALNo
Field No
08_0003:0086
102 315185,13564 236741,45726
08_0003:0087
100 315175,33525 236738,96118
08_0003:0088
137 315172,68152 236737,70000
08_0003:0089
126 315151,87211 236738,75098
08_0003:0090
139 315164,69407 236727,13765
08_0003:0091
143 315166,90113 236722,61843
08_0003:0092
141 315175,33525 236732,36628
08_0003:0093
142 315162,40819 236720,43765
08_0003:0094
131 315159,88584 236736,99059
08_0003:0095
130 315154,70976 236734,23177
08_0003:0096
145 315177,54230 236727,79451
08_0003:0097
144 315171,28897 236724,74667
08_0003:0098
140 315169,13446 236729,34471
08_0003:0099
103 315190,73211 236729,84392
08_0003:0100
102 315185,13564 236741,45726
08_0003:0101
103 315190,73211 236729,84392
08_0003:0102
122 315151,05760 236743,82196
08_0003:0103
108 315170,92113 236747,89451
08_0003:0104
106 315175,96583 236742,06157
08_0003:0105
132 315164,32623 236739,14510
08_0003:0106
104 315186,26544 236727,63687
08_0003:0107
129 315167,53172 236748,47255
08_0003:0108
127 315156,86427 236743,27020
08_0003:0109
101 315180,59015 236739,30275
08_0003:0110
103 315190,73211 236729,84392
08_0003:0111
105 315181,85132 236725,53490
08_0003:0112
111 315182,48191 236753,51725
08_0003:0113
138 315160,25368 236724,93059
Cit-P
Cit-POI
ppm
ppm
SoilHorizon
PQuota
LOI (%) MS
Ap
70,0
264,6
3,8
7,2
Ap
19,6
215,1
11,0
4,5
Ap
22,7
283,7
12,5
6,1
Ap
15,8
187,9
11,9
3,5
Ap
16,4
223,3
13,6
5,7
Ap
21,5
212,7
9,9
5,2
Ap
21,5
270,9
12,6
6,5
Ap
24,4
266,7
10,9
7,8
Ap
16,2
250,9
15,5
5,5
Ap
35,3
373,6
10,6
9,9
Ap
19,4
236,3
12,2
5,7
Ap
21,8
272,6
12,5
7,2
Ap
25,0
296,1
11,8
8,2
Ap
34,2
147,5
4,3
4,3
Ap
35,1
348,4
9,9
12,5
Ap
43,9
171,3
3,9
1,5
Ap
21,5
276,8
12,8
6,1
Ap
22,4
250,1
11,2
3,8
Anthropogenic?
18,9
198,0
10,5
4,7
Ap
18,6
254,5
13,7
5,8
Ap
27,6
280,3
10,2
6,2
Ap
24,5
333,0
13,6
5,8
Ap
22,2
254,9
11,5
5,6
Ap
18,5
214,9
11,6
5,7
Ap
34,1
188,5
5,5
3,9
Ap
24,7
177,1
7,2
4,3
Ap
35,2
195,5
5,6
6,1
Ap
22,4
249,4
11,2
6,4
107
5
14
26
15
13
21
10
19
30
6
18
14
13
11
7
4
54
13
5
16
9
46
51
4
10
9
7
15
MS550
MSQuota pH
479
95,8
no data
716
51,1
no data
1450
55,8
no data
557
37,1
5,6
1560
120,0
no data
1431
68,1
no data
1831
183,1
no data
2160
113,7
no data
1293
43,1
no data
1626
271,0
no data
2765
153,6
no data
2034
145,3
no data
2205
169,6
no data
404
36,7
7,8
1074
153,4
no data
463
115,8
7,6
1800
33,3
no data
928
71,4
no data
185
37,0
no data
1458
91,1
no data
204
22,7
no data
1548
33,7
4,8
1549
30,4
4,5
714
178,5
no data
477
47,7
8,5
447
49,7
no data
391
55,9
4,8
1584
105,6
no data
08_0003:0114
08_0003:0115
08_0003:0116
08_0003:0117
08_0003:0118
08_0003:0119
08_0003:0120
08_0003:0121
08_0003:0122
08_0003:0123
08_0003:0124
08_0003:0125
08_0003:0126
08_0003:0127
08_0003:0128
08_0003:0129
08_0003:0130
08_0003:0131
08_0003:0132
08_0003:0133
08_0003:0134
08_0003:0135
08_0003:0136
08_0003:0137
08_0003:0138
08_0003:0139
08_0003:0140
08_0003:0141
08_0003:0142
08_0003:0143
08_0003:0144
08_0003:0145
08_0003:0146
08_0003:0147
08_0003:0148
08_0003:0149
08_0003:0150
106
115
145
109
121
107
136
111
110
124
128
107
133
135
116
117
118
113
114
134
120
123
125
119
112
239
255
249
251
219
240
209
250
218
236
225
259
315175,96583
315183,21760
315177,54230
315174,07407
315164,82544
315182,58701
315166,53329
315182,48191
315178,04152
315159,93838
315161,25211
315182,58701
315170,99995
315162,06662
315174,49446
315148,87682
315153,34348
315172,83917
315180,11721
315157,99407
315162,22427
315155,52427
315166,16544
315157,75760
315168,34623
315152,71608
315145,56861
315147,51056
315143,43785
315166,03601
315151,12476
315163,20244
315145,32586
315168,01016
315151,74511
315161,43624
315136,80283
236742,06157
236736,12353
236727,79451
236749,47098
236759,35019
236745,37216
236734,67843
236753,51725
236751,38902
236748,10471
236745,42471
236745,37216
236741,29961
236732,49765
236745,24078
236748,34118
236750,44314
236755,46157
236734,62588
236729,42353
236758,11529
236746,08157
236751,28392
236752,59765
236753,22823
236771,66034
236763,08337
236771,25577
236780,80372
236793,91904
236777,02769
236765,30079
236776,16460
236789,29953
236786,57564
236791,92515
236783,47390
Anthropogenic?
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Anthropogenic
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
15,9
22,4
25,0
16,1
29,7
32,3
21,8
19,4
18,6
18,5
22,5
27,2
19,4
19,5
22,0
36,0
39,3
23,7
19,0
18,4
48,0
21,5
24,3
45,0
18,6
57,3
48,9
34,7
29,9
34,1
35,9
46,3
30,7
35,0
27,1
45,5
33,5
108
188,4
232,2
298,5
274,2
362,2
343,0
280,2
124,3
250,0
293,5
290,2
301,1
260,0
218,7
171,9
267,9
309,4
300,4
209,7
261,1
396,0
289,3
335,9
247,0
273,7
441,9
416,7
393,3
383,0
215,1
325,3
302,4
336,6
291,4
288,0
324,1
290,9
11,9
10,4
11,9
17,0
12,2
10,6
12,9
6,4
13,4
15,9
12,9
11,1
13,4
11,2
7,8
7,4
7,9
12,7
11,1
14,2
8,2
13,4
13,8
5,5
14,7
7,7
8,5
11,3
12,8
6,3
9,1
6,5
11,0
8,3
10,6
7,1
8,7
4,9
6,2
7,1
4,8
9,4
9,6
7,4
2,4
6,0
5,9
6,7
10,0
5,4
5,3
4,0
6,1
7,1
5,0
4,8
6,1
9,3
6,3
6,7
6,5
4,2
13,4
8,5
7,1
8,0
8,9
5,8
7,5
7,6
7,9
6,8
8,0
6,6
33
4
10
12
34
14
10
3
12
68
42
16
13
39
8
21
50
17
15
13
40
58
54
32
11
40
25
57
16
4
64
68
30
8
24
17
16
269
524
1603
1051
3400
1887
2128
130
1286
1402
1820
1545
1582
1170
336
1229
1369
1280
871
1681
2621
1571
1598
1137
878
2442
2070
2013
2532
417
1250
1111
1838
630
2505
1464
2510
8,2
131,0
160,3
87,6
100,0
134,8
212,8
43,3
107,2
20,6
43,3
96,6
121,7
30,0
42,0
58,5
27,4
75,3
58,1
129,3
65,5
27,1
29,6
35,5
79,8
61,1
82,8
35,3
158,3
104,3
19,5
16,3
61,3
78,8
104,4
86,1
156,9
no data
no data
no data
4,5
no data
no data
4,9
7,7
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
08_0003:0151
08_0003:0152
08_0003:0153
08_0003:0154
08_0003:0155
08_0003:0156
08_0003:0157
08_0003:0158
08_0003:0159
08_0003:0160
08_0003:0161
08_0003:0162
08_0003:0163
08_0003:0164
08_0003:0165
08_0003:0166
08_0003:0167
08_0003:0168
08_0003:0169
08_0003:0170
08_0003:0171
08_0003:0172
08_0003:0173
08_0003:0174
08_0003:0175
08_0003:0176
08_0003:0177
08_0003:0178
08_0003:0179
08_0003:0180
08_0003:0181
08_0003:0182
08_0003:0183
08_0003:0184
08_0003:0185
08_0003:0186
08_0003:0187
227
254
232
260
207
210
252
241
261
205
211
223
206
224
213
238
230
212
217
247
245
223
234
228
229
248
243
257
216
214
246
201
242
222
233
253
202
315163,94341
315133,72807
315151,90882
315134,77996
315157,64589
315165,17579
315141,33406
315148,75126
315130,94999
315152,27110
315167,74634
315168,18783
315154,45218
315163,44988
315172,18639
315154,71198
315155,96785
315169,71970
315170,04353
315136,74889
315147,75331
315168,18783
315156,92366
315161,92978
315158,69218
315150,15378
315142,92539
315140,76766
315172,07691
315173,92606
315143,35693
315142,89767
315143,30299
315167,41792
315159,32413
315139,39211
315144,92296
236771,03865
236799,57596
236798,77998
236788,08605
236762,78216
236760,73092
236785,41586
236780,93857
236797,31034
236760,57512
236767,32607
236783,89036
236756,05718
236787,32538
236769,11767
236767,04819
236789,57591
236762,65234
236784,68002
236803,10924
236795,90782
236783,89036
236774,57327
236775,63842
236783,08096
236765,10624
236789,56949
236774,19567
236780,02103
236764,49587
236804,80845
236756,49859
236784,12122
236778,04688
236769,04409
236790,08195
236751,92872
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
C
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
C
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
53,3
30,7
36,8
66,9
52,2
42,4
30,1
32,9
46,7
45,4
35,6
29,6
60,0
18,6
32,6
62,5
56,4
42,6
30,4
34,9
34,4
24,6
58,6
42,4
31,7
100,4
32,4
24,5
36,0
38,0
35,9
30,7
26,8
32,0
44,3
29,5
19,2
109
413,3
344,9
318,0
284,7
308,7
410,5
285,7
365,9
432,1
277,2
413,7
149,8
395,5
159,2
282,7
404,5
263,7
436,9
172,8
440,0
429,0
105,9
428,4
358,4
297,9
439,7
299,0
331,9
300,1
345,4
382,2
341,7
327,0
299,9
366,0
322,3
351,3
7,8
11,2
8,7
4,3
5,9
9,7
9,5
11,1
9,3
6,1
11,6
5,1
6,6
8,6
8,7
6,5
4,7
10,3
5,7
12,6
12,5
4,3
7,3
8,4
9,4
4,4
9,2
13,5
8,3
9,1
10,6
11,1
12,2
9,4
8,3
10,9
18,3
11,3
9,0
8,6
6,5
8,2
11,3
5,4
5,7
12,2
4,9
12,2
2,7
9,3
4,1
7,0
11,1
6,6
10,4
4,0
12,1
10,8
1,9
13,3
9,4
7,0
11,4
6,3
6,4
7,6
7,2
9,9
7,8
6,4
7,4
12,0
7,4
6,8
22
12
14
17
38
26
7
72
6
19
15
6
39
43
27
23
23
19
60
20
9
4
36
91
77
47
8
18
32
34
10
36
11
44
23
9
35
2622
2014
1062
2272
1834
3948
837
1598
2015
1014
3028
1411
2777
759
1706
2191
1801
2758
363
1845
1978
50
3338
2168
2046
1513
1193
2225
1687
2225
775
1735
2035
1468
1892
2204
2027
119,2
167,8
75,9
133,6
48,3
151,8
119,6
22,2
335,8
53,4
201,9
235,2
71,2
17,7
63,2
95,3
78,3
145,2
6,1
92,3
219,8
12,5
92,7
23,8
26,6
32,2
149,1
123,6
52,7
65,4
77,5
48,2
185,0
33,4
82,3
244,9
57,9
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
4,4
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
5,2
no data
4,7
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
7,2
no data
no data
08_0003:0188
08_0003:0189
08_0003:0190
08_0003:0191
08_0003:0192
08_0003:0193
08_0003:0194
08_0003:0195
08_0003:0196
08_0003:0197
08_0003:0198
08_0003:0199
08_0003:0200
08_0003:0201
08_0003:0202
231
235
220
223
258
215
256
226
244
226
208
203
221
204
237
315153,94110
315153,71403
315174,68279
315168,18783
315138,79873
315174,03132
315142,33201
315159,81744
315139,87760
315159,81744
315159,90486
315147,54544
315169,41181
315149,59669
315149,72224
236794,13961
236781,96349
236786,67391
236783,89036
236778,94267
236775,36204
236770,36570
236795,67603
236794,23558
236795,67603
236758,31615
236758,49791
236773,40763
236753,95400
236791,32264
Ap
Ap
Ap
Anthropogenic
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
32,4
34,6
220,0
30,3
30,3
32,9
27,0
94,6
32,0
38,4
61,0
68,6
38,1
60,5
29,7
Abbreviations/explanations:
(IG)- Coordinated within the Irish National Grid as defined by OSI.
Ap horizon- Topsoil
C horizon- Subsoil
Anthropogenic- Possible archaeological feature
110
310,7
359,9
283,1
225,4
340,0
251,3
360,7
346,5
324,0
359,1
390,6
365,0
389,3
354,9
342,8
9,6
10,4
1,3
7,4
11,2
7,6
13,3
3,7
10,1
9,3
6,4
5,3
10,2
5,9
11,5
7,8
6,7
1,9
6,1
7,4
5,6
5,5
8,4
6,8
11,4
8,6
6,3
11,3
5,7
8,4
9
66
3
30
15
9
23
21
14
50
45
30
9
34
28
1273
1963
61
812
2397
777
1337
879
1682
1541
2582
1093
2400
1362
2065
141,4
29,7
20,3
27,1
159,8
86,3
58,1
41,9
120,1
30,8
57,4
36,4
266,7
40,1
73,8
no data
no data
6,4
4,8
5,3
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
2b: Geophysical and geochemical analysis, archaeobotanical sub-samples
MALNo
08_0003_300
08_0003_301
08_0003_302
08_0003_303
08_0003_304
08_0003_305
08_0003_306
08_0003_307
08_0003_308
08_0003_309
08_0003_310
08_0003_311
Site
PU 2
PU 2
PU 2
PU 2
PU 2
PU 3
PU 3
PU 3
PU 3
PU 3
PU 3
PU 3
ACS sample Context
No
No
Context Type
2
3 Burnt Mound dep
3
4 shallow dep
3
4 shallow dep
3
4 shallow dep
3
4 shallow dep
4
12 fill of pit
4
12 fill of pit
2
8 Burnt Mound dep
2
8 Burnt Mound dep
2
8 Burnt Mound dep
3
11 fill of pit
3
11 fill of pit
Cit-P
ppm
30,2
33,3
no data
6,0
59,8
427,3
624,6
44,1
24,0
27,1
191,3
129,2
Cit-POI
ppm
Pquota
LOI (%) MS
MS550
MSQuota
228,8
7,6
7,7
6
322
53,7
174,3
5,2
5,3
7
374
53,4
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
220,5
36,7
5,4
15
542
36,1
161,0
2,7
5,3
24
428
17,8
498,8
1,2
14,5
231
1394
6,0
437,9
0,7
17,2
276
1608
5,8
263,1
6,0
6,8
11
201
18,3
190,4
7,9
5,7
4
508
127,0
224,1
8,3
5,6
4
385
96,3
381,1
2,0
7,4
7
174
24,9
no data
no data
7,8
18
187
10,4
111
pH
6,9
4,9
no data
no data
no data
5,9
no data
5,7
no data
no data
no data
5,6
2c: Macrofossil analysis
Site
MAL No
ACS sample No Context No Cereals
PU2
08_0003:300
2
3
PU2
08_0003:301
3
4
08_0003:302
08_0003:303
08_0003:304
PU2
PU2
PU2
PU3
08_0003:305
3
3
3
4
Weeds/other plants
Chenopodium sp: 5
4
4
4
Avena sp: 544
Avena fatua lemma base: 3
Hordeum vulgare: 471
T. aestivum ssp. vulgare/ssp.
compactum: 120
T. compactum rachis segments: 21
12 Cerealia indet: 785
Lab Notes
(HS)
Charcoal
X
(HS), 1 insect fragment
(HS)
(HS)
(HS)
X
X
X
X
Artemisia cf. vulgaris: 13
Chenopodium sp: 4
Corylus avellana: 5
Fallopia convolvulus: 30
Fallopia cf. convolvulus (frg): 32
Galeopsis sp: 10
Persicaria cf. hydropiper: 1
Persicaria cf. minor: 109
Poaceae: 1
Polygonum aviculare: 6
Rumex acetosa: 1
Indet: 6
(BB)
XXXX
Artemisia cf. vulgaris (frg): 1
Corylus avellana: 4
Galeopsis sp: 1
cf. Polygonaceae: 1
Polygonum aviculare: 1
Polygonum cf. aviculare (frg): 1
08_0003:307
2
(BB)
XXXX
Artermisia cf. vulgaris: 1
Corylus avellana: 1
Indet: 1
(BB)
XXXX
Persicaria cf. minor (frg): 4
Polygonum cf. aviculare (frg): 1
(BB)
1 snail shell
XXX
PU3
08_0003:308
2
PU3
08_0003:311
3
Avena sp: 3
Hordeum vulgare: 8
8 Cerealia indet: 19
Avena sp: 23
Hordeum vulgare: 40
Triticum (?) sp: 2
11 Cerealia indet: 69
112
(HS)- Sample contained heat
shattered stones
(BB)- Sample contained
burned bones.
(frg)- Fragment
Charcoal (ml/3litres of soil):
X <12 ml
XX 12-50 ml
XXX 50-100 ml
XXXX > 100 ml
PU3
Avena sp: 19
Hordeum vulgare: 20
T. aestivum ssp. vulgare/ssp.
compactum: 7
8 Cerealia indet: 34
Abbreviations:
Appendix 3: Analysis results, Straheglin 1, License No: E3825
3a: Geophysical and geochemical analysis, pre-excavation survey
Northing
Easting
MALNo
Field No
(IG)
(IG)
08_0003:0203
334
315806,7299
235844,7777
08_0003:0204
315
315792,9113
235888,8463
08_0003:0205
321
315793,9633
235900,8128
08_0003:0206
317
315806,1599
235897,1965
08_0003:0207
316
315799,3219
235896,9664
08_0003:0208
323
315799,6507
235866,3928
08_0003:0209
332
315828,2847
235879,477
08_0003:0210
333
315813,8279
235851,5775
08_0003:0211
322
315801,6231
235906,7631
08_0003:0212
313
315779,334
235872,9678
08_0003:0213
311
315813,2608
235894,7967
08_0003:0214
306
315783,3447
235869,0228
08_0003:0215
301
315790,117
235876,2224
08_0003:0216
335
315822,6818
235857,3436
08_0003:0217
324
315792,8456
235858,9302
08_0003:0218
337
315837,2792
235871,6777
08_0003:0219
303
315798,3685
235884,6383
08_0003:0220
328
315806,8831
235858,7987
08_0003:0221
308
315786,3363
235865,7353
08_0003:0222
314
315789,2951
235884,0795
08_0003:0223
339
315827,4225
235837,0384
08_0003:0224
310
315807,442
235886,578
08_0003:0225
338
315820,6363
235844,3025
08_0003:0226
331
315821,0522
235872,5404
08_0003:0227
340
315809,982
235855,3698
08_0003:0228
340
315809,982
235855,3698
08_0003:0229
326
315815,5621
235878,1291
SoilHorizon
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Cit-P
ppm
45,0
81,1
85,9
44,6
38,5
49,4
63,0
45,9
66,0
63,4
29,7
33,3
33,4
55,2
40,6
64,8
22,2
71,1
35,0
50,3
50,0
35,9
46,8
61,5
47,5
161,3
78,1
Cit-POI
ppm
PQuota
LOI (%) MS
257,9
5,7
6,4
496,9
6,1
15,5
504,6
5,9
25,8
419,6
9,4
11,6
377,3
9,8
12,9
324,6
6,6
8
293,4
4,7
7,6
314,3
6,9
7,8
415,0
6,3
18,9
392,0
6,2
13,2
278,4
9,4
6,3
362,2
10,9
8,8
344,5
10,3
6,9
246,5
4,5
6,7
279,3
6,9
7,7
323,0
5,0
8,3
303,1
13,7
8,1
301,6
4,2
7,3
288,4
8,2
6,2
394,5
7,8
12,2
262,7
5,3
6
235,9
6,6
5,2
266,9
5,7
6,8
293,1
4,8
7
331,5
7,0
8,1
634,3
3,9
13,6
293,5
3,8
6,9
113
68
12
177
10
34
83
98
82
160
67
13
33
41
126
47
68
35
54
95
27
79
39
66
111
47
18
182
MS550
MSQ
pH
2028
29,8 no data
1514
126,2 no data
4386
24,8 no data
1800
180,0 no data
2545
74,9 no data
2570
31,0 no data
2140
21,8 no data
2364
28,8 no data
2637
16,5 no data
2029
30,3 no data
1473
113,3 no data
1979
60,0 no data
1154
28,1
6,3
1793
14,2 no data
2507
53,3 no data
2517
37,0 no data
2079
59,4 no data
1986
36,8
5,6
1745
18,4 no data
1496
55,4 no data
1430
18,1
5,8
900
23,1 no data
1813
27,5
5,6
1889
17,0 no data
2816
59,9
5,2
2057
114,3
5,1
2022
11,1 no data
08_0003:0230
08_0003:0231
08_0003:0232
08_0003:0233
08_0003:0234
08_0003:0235
08_0003:0236
08_0003:0237
08_0003:0238
08_0003:0239
08_0003:0240
08_0003:0241
08_0003:0242
08_0003:0243
08_0003:0244
08_0003:0245
08_0003:0246
08_0003:0247
08_0003:0248
08_0003:0249
08_0003:0250
08_0003:0251
307
312
330
318
329
320
302
305
340
309
340
340
325
336
340
302
302
304
341
327
319
340
315793,2729
315786,435
315813,9841
315779,6299
315799,6178
315786,7308
315793,3387
315814,4772
315809,982
315800,4068
315809,982
315809,982
315807,1461
315829,6419
315809,982
315793,3387
315793,3387
315805,9955
315796,8022
315822,6959
315772,6275
315809,982
235872,9349
235879,9701
235865,7024
235887,0382
235851,8621
235893,9091
235879,8386
235899,432
235855,3698
235879,7729
235855,3698
235855,3698
235872,7048
235864,1532
235855,3698
235879,8386
235879,8386
235892,2653
235876,2723
235885,0328
235879,9701
235855,3698
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
Anthropogenic
Ap
Ap
Ap
C
Ap
Ap
Ap
C
C
Anthropogenic
Ap
Ap
Ap
Ap
C
52,1
33,7
57,0
87,7
70,0
40,6
33,0
36,9
43,7
27,9
35,2
84,1
41,9
52,8
29,6
15,9
30,6
27,3
30,3
46,6
97,2
40,2
Abbreviations/explanations:
(IG)- Coordinated within the Irish National Grid as defined by OSI.
Ap horizon- Topsoil
C horizon- Subsoil
Anthropogenic- Possible archaeological feature
114
248,9
305,8
268,0
359,5
317,5
364,7
294,3
329,9
279,2
260,4
212,8
452,9
290,9
249,0
165,0
169,7
310,2
321,2
248,0
313,1
530,6
187,2
4,8
9,1
4,7
4,1
4,5
9,0
8,9
8,9
6,4
9,3
6,0
5,4
6,9
4,7
5,6
10,7
10,1
11,7
8,2
6,7
5,5
4,7
5,4
9,6
6,8
26,7
8,7
18,4
7
8
6,5
5
4,7
10,8
6,3
6,9
4,3
3,9
8
9,6
5,4
8,5
27,6
4,1
167
43
123
276
156
36
10
33
49
43
18
27
125
119
8
2
51
16
43
78
172
9
1410
1390
2069
4369
3147
2724
798
2096
1921
1269
1382
1750
1467
1422
432
8
571
1866
1215
2712
3254
620
8,4
32,3
16,8
15,8
20,2
75,7
79,8
63,5
39,2
29,5
76,8
64,8
11,7
11,9
54,0
4,0
11,2
116,6
28,3
34,8
18,9
68,9
no data
no data
no data
5,2
no data
no data
no data
no data
5,3
no data
5,3
5,1
no data
no data
5,5
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
no data
5,6
3b: Geophysical and geochemical analysis, archaeobotanical sub-samples
MAL No
ACS sample No
08_0003_312
08_0003_313
08_0003_314
08_0003_315
5
4
6
5
Context Cit-P
Cit-POI
No
ppm
ppm
Pquota
LOI (%) MS
19
53,9
319,0
5,9
13,9
51
45,3
396,4
8,8
17,5
25
66,1
296,1
4,5
19,1
19
53,8
230,2
4,3
8
14
14
29
10
MS550
MSQuota
1323
94,5
1598
114,1
1520
52,4
626
62,6
3c: Macrofossil analysis
MAL No
ACS
sample
No
Context
No
Cereals
08_0003:312
5
19 Hordeum vulgare: 1
08_0003:313
08_0003:314
4
6
51 Triticum sp: 4
25
08_0003:315
5
Weeds/other plants
Galeopsis sp. (frg): 1
Galium cf. aparine: 1
Corylus avellana: 2
Galium sp: 1
Corylus avellana: 1
Indet: 1
19
Abbreviations/explanations:
(HS)- Sample contained heat shattered stones
(A)- Sample was “ashy”
(frg)- Fragment
Charcoal (ml/3litres of soil):
X <12 ml
XX 12-50 ml
XXX 50-100 ml
XXXX > 100 ml
115
Lab
Notes
Charcoal
(HS)
XX
(HS) (A)
(HS) (A)
XXXX
XXXX
(HS)
1 insect
fragment
XX
pH
6
5,7
6,1
no data
Appendix 4: Analysis results, Bun 4, License No: E3816
4a: Geophysical and geochemical analysis, archaeobotanical sub-samples
MALNo
08_0003_348
08_0003_349
08_0003_350
08_0003_351
08_0003_352
08_0003_353
08_0003_354
08_0003_355
Site
Bun 4
Bun 4
Bun 4
Bun 4
Bun 4
Bun 4
Bun 4
Bun 4
ACS
sample
No
8
8
13
87
49
12
11
11
Context Cit-P
Cit-POI
No
ppm
ppm
Pquota
LOI
11
100,2
291,0
2,9
11
92,8
401,8
4,3
61
82,2
216,2
2,6
149
256,0
392,4
1,5
141
192,3
400,7
2,1
20
142,8
466,5
3,3
64
78,6
326,3
4,2
64
78,8
280,2
3,6
116
MS
4,9
8,6
3,7
4,8
5,2
7,8
5,8
5,2
36
30
10
8
11
14
19
30
MS550
MSQ
326
9,1
1392
46,4
254
25,4
152
19,0
604
54,9
1328
94,9
703
37,0
623
20,8
pH
5,8
no data
5,8
6,6
6,4
5,7
6,47
no data
4b: Macrofossil analysis
MAL No
ACS
sample No
08_0003:348
08_0003:349
08_0003:350
08_0003:351
08_0003:352
08_0003:353
8
8
13
87
49
12
08_0003:354
08_0003:355
11
11
Context
No
Cereals
Weeds/other plants
Chenopodium sp: 1
Fumaria officinalis (unc): 1
11
11
61
149 Hordeum vulgare: 1
141
20
Hordeum vulgare: 2
64 Cerealia indet: 1
64
Abbreviations/explanations:
(HS)- Sample contained heat shattered stones
(A)- Sample was “ashy”
(BB)- Burned bone
(UBB)- Unburned bone
(unc)- Plant remain was uncarbonised
Charcoal (ml/3litres of soil):
X <12 ml
XX 12-50 ml
XXX 50-100 ml
XXXX > 100 ml
117
Lab Notes
Charcoal
(HS) (A) (BB)
(HS) (A) (BB)
(UBB)
(BB)
XX
XXX
X
X
X
XX
(HS) (BB)
(HS) (BB)
XX
XX
Appendix 5: Floatation Experiment
The archaeobotanical samples analysed in the course of this thesis were all collected on site during the spring of 2008. Prior
to the samples being shipped to Sweden for analysis they had to be reduced in size (otherwise their weight would have been
counted in hundreds of kilograms).
A decision was made that the samples would be processed by floatation and water sieving in Ireland and dried prior to
shipping. As the samples were transported to ACS’s Drogheda office just days prior to my arrival they were still moist, wet
or even waterlogged.
From personal experience I know that floatation alone is sometimes used for archaeobotanical analysis with the
presumption that any material that does not float to the surface is of little interest. From personal experience I also know
that the floatation is sometimes performed on wet samples without prior attempts to dry the material, usually to
accommodate speedy processing of samples directly on site or during the post-excavation phase of archaeological projects.
Since the material extracted by floatation and the water sieved residue was to be separated anyway I decided to perform a
simple experiment in order to determine the percentage of plant material that would have been lost if floatation alone had
been used on the wet samples.
All material that was extracted by floatation in Drogheda was assigned a respective sample nr followed by category
designation “C”. All residue extracted in Drogheda by water sieving was dried and the now totally dry samples were
floatated once more in Umeå. All floating material was this time designated as category “A” and the remaining residue as
category “B”.
The results presented here are for sample MAL 08_0003_305. The sample was taken from context F012 on the Site of
Putiaghan Upper 3 (License No: E3823). The context is the primary fill of a pit F014 in which large amounts of cereal and
weed remains were found.
This feature represents the most significant find of carbonized plant remains found during the course of this thesis.
Sample 08_0003_305
Charcoal
Cereal remains
Weed remains
Bone
A- Floatated (dry)
76%
28%
28%
None
B- Residue
3%
0,3%
2,4%
100%
C- Floatated (wet)
21%
72%
70%
None
The results of this simple experiment shows that the clayey and silty soils present in the investigation area have to be
floatated after drying otherwise a significant amount of data (28% of the seed material and 76% of the charcoal) would have
been lost. Interestingly there was no major difference in the potential loss of cereal contra weed remains due to wet sample
floatation despite the obvious differences in size and morphology of individual seeds.
If plant remains are the only material of interest floatation of dry samples alone seems to be a sufficiently effective method
with minimal loss of seeds and charcoal.
If bone material is to be extracted however water sieving and visual inspection of the residue is an absolute necessity as all
bone fragments were found in the residue after most of the plant material had been removed.
Similar ratios between the different categories of extracted material were noted in most samples collected during the
course of this thesis but the exact percentages are yet to be calculated. It is likely that the particle size of the soil fractions,
the moistness of the sample and the nature of the stored plant assembly in each individual sample affects the potential loss
of material due to wet sample floatation.
This simple experiment shows that the dual floatation of the sampled material performed as part of this thesis was likely the
most effective method of macro fossil extraction. The results of the experiment will undoubtedly be of use for me in the
future when faced with decisions regarding evaluations of how to evaluate speedy processing of archaeobotanical samples
and the potential loss of information bearing material due to unsuitable extraction techniques.
118
Appendix 6: Latin-English-Swedish glossary of plant species
mentioned in the text
Latin
English
Swedish
Alnus
Alder
Al
Anchusa officinalis
Alkanet
Oxtunga
Anthriscus sylvestris
Cow’s Parsley/Keck
Hundkäx
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Bearberry
Mjölon
Artemisia absinthium
Wormwood
Malört
Artemisia vulgaris
Mugwort
Gråbo
Asarum europaeum
Asarabacca
Hasselört
Asteraceae
Aster/Daisy family
Korgblommiga
Avena fatua
Wild Oat
Flyghavre
Avena sativa
Oat
Havre
Calluna vulgaris
Heather
Ljung
Carex
Sedge
Starr
Chenopodium
Goosefoot
Målla
Citrus limon
Lemon
Citron
Cnicus benedictus
Blessed/Holy thistle
Kardbenedikt
Corylus avellana
Hazel
Hassel
Euphrasia rostkoviana
Eyebright
Stor Ögontröst
Euphorbia helioscopia
Sun Spurge
Revormstörel
Fallopia convolvulus
Black Bindweed
Åkerbinda
Foeniculum vulgare
Fennel
Fänkål
Fragaria vesca
Wild Strawberry
Smultron
Fumaria officinalis
Common Fumitory
Jordrök
Galeopsis
Hemp Nettle
Dån
Galium
Cleavers
Måra
Galium aparine
Cleavers
Snärjmåra
Galium boreale
Northern Bedstraw
Vitmåra
Geum urbanum
Wood Avens
Nejlikrot
Hedera helix
Ivy
Murgröna
Hordeum vulgare
Barley
Korn
Humulus lupulus
Hop
Humle
Hyssopus officinalis
Hyssop
Isop
Inula helenium
Elecampane
Ålandsrot
Isatis tinctoria
Woad
Vejde
Juncus
Rush
Tåg
Juniperus communis
Common Juniper
En
Larix
Larch
Lärk
Laurus nobilis
Bay Laurel
Lager
119
Lavandula angustifolia
Lavender
Lavendel
Linum usitattisimum
Flax
Lin
Majorana hortensis
Marjoram
Mejram
Melissa officinalis
Balm
Citronmeliss
Mentha pulegium
Pennyroyal
Polejmynta
Mentha spicata
Spear Mint
Grönmynta
Myrica gale
Sweer Gale/Bog’s Myrtle
Pors
Origanum vulgare
Wild Marjoram
Kungsmynta
Persicaria hydropiper
Water-Pepper
Bitterpilört
Persicaria minor
Small Water-Pepper
Rosenpilört
Phyllitis scolopendrium
Hart’s-Tongue
Hjorttunga
Picea
Spruce
Gran
Picea abies
Norway Spruce
Gran
Pimpinella anisum
Anise
Anis
Pinus
Pine
Tall
Potentilla anserina
Silverweed
Gåsört
Poaceae
Grass family
Gräs
Polygonaceae
Knotweed family
Slidesväxter
Polygonum aviculare
Knotgrass
Trampört
Prunus avium
Wild Cherry
Sötkörsbär
Prunus spinosa
Blackthorn/Sloe
Slån
Quercus
Oak
Ek
Reseda luteola
Weld
Färgreseda
Rosmarinus officinalis
Rosemary
Rosmarin
Rubia tinctorum
Common Madder
Krapp
Rubus
Rubus
Rubus
Rubus fruticosus
Bramble/Blackberry
Björnbär
Rubus idaeus
Raspberrry
Hallon
Rumex acetosa
Common Sorrel
Ängssyra
Salix
Willow
Vide
Salvia officinalis
Common Sage
Kryddsalvia
Sambucus nigra
Elder
Fläder
Sanicula europaea
Sanicle
Sårläka
Stachys officinalis
Betony
Humlesuga
Szygium aromaticum
Clove
Kryddnejlika
Teucrium scordium
Water Germander
Lökgamander
Thymus serphyllum
Breckland Thyme
Backtimjan
Triticum aestivum ssp. vulgare
Common Wheat/Bread Wheat
Brödvete
Triticum aestivum ssp. compactum
Club Wheat
Kubbvete
Veronica officinalis
Heath Speedwell
Ärenpris
Vinca minor
Lesser Periwinkle
Vintergröna
Zingiber officinale
Gardern Ginger
Ingefära
120
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