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.

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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

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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

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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

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IMAGE 1.

Map of Ireland and its counties.

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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

Putiaghan Upper 3

E3822

E3823

Director: Gearoid Kelleher

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 Ireland

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.

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 9 th

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 17 th

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 19 th

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

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C-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 20 th

century archaeology.

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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 hundreds

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. 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

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C 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 hundreds

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. 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

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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.

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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).

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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 structures 2 . 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 19 th 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).

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C 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).

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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

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C-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 dendrochronology

3

.

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 Ireland 4 . County Cavan, the general area of interest for this thesis has been outlined in red.

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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 county

1

. 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 county

1

. Five additional sites are also documented to have been excavated prior to 2004

1

(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 together 1; 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 roads 1; 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

14

C date was obtained from this site dating it to cal. 2134-

1972 BC

5

(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

14

C date places the site at cal. 906-

814 BC

6

(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 BC

3

(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

14

C date was obtained from this site dating it to cal. 1154-932 BC

7

(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 lining

8

(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

14

C dates have yet been published

8

.

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 site

9

.

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 bog

10

.

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 Age

11

.

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 Age

12

.

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 17 th

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

14

C dates from the sites investigated in County Cork

(

14

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).

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

14

C 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 reports

13

(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 wool

2

(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 greasy

2

.

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 other

2

(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 mordants

2

(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 technology

2

.

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).

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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

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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.

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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 16 th

century when it is first discussed in German written sources (Behre 1999:35).

Prior to the 18 th

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).

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The most commonly used beer additive today is hops (Humulus lupulus). This species was however, prior to the 9 th

and 10 th 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 18 th

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 age 14; 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 Eberdingen-

Hochdorf 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 metasediments

16

. 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

Age

4

.

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 P

2

O

5

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 P

2

O

5 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.

((Soil dry

-Soil

550

)*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 literature

14; 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.

62

IMAGE 25. Total phosphate concentration at Putiaghan Upper 1.

IMAGE 26. PQuota at Putiaghan Upper 1.

63

IMAGE 27. Organic content of the soil at Putiaghan Upper 1.

IMAGE 28. Magnetic susceptibility at Putiaghan Upper 1.

64

IMAGE 29. MS after oxidative combustion at Putiaghan Upper 1.

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

60

50

80

70

40

30

20

10

0

12

10

8

6

4

2

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.

83

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

14

C 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.

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Interpretation: pit F14 [PU3]:

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.

Formation

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

14

C 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.

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99

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. 2008-

04-06.

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. 2008-04-

06.

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. 2008-

04-12.

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

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

Field No

Northing

(IG)

Easting

(IG) Soil Horizon

35 314875,1539 236870,9995 Anthropogenic?

41 314866,8213 236874,5617 Ap

43 314874,8831 236875,0409 Ap

29 314875,3622 236866,9374 Anthropogenic

29 314875,3622 236866,9374 C

15 314879,8618 236859,0422 Ap

29 314875,3622 236866,9374 Anthropogenic

39 314891,2359 236871,937 Ap

38 314887,2154 236871,7078 Ap

36 314879,1536 236871,2287 Anthropogenic?

36 314879,1536 236871,2287 Anthropogenic?

33 314868,1129 236870,5621 Ap

29 314875,3622 236866,9374 Anthropogenic

37 314883,1116 236871,4995 Ap

32 314863,0925 236870,2079 Ap

3 314859,9677 236853,8344 Ap

34 314871,1543 236870,7496 Ap

26 314863,3008 236866,2083 Ap

8 314880,1535 236855,0009 Ap

23 314883,6115 236863,3752 Anthropogenic?

29 314875,3622 236866,9374 C

66 314873,7167 236894,18 Ap

60 314880,4451 236883,5401 Ap

69 314856,6917 236912,0264 Ap

49 314866,5922 236878,603 Ap

57 314866,3838 236882,6235 Ap

51 314874,654 236879,0822 Ap

Cit-POI ppm

299,1

292,9

273,0

310,5

206,4

340,5

294,5

304,8

312,2

267,5

309,5

347,0

440,1

293,9

336,9

283,5

291,6

416,3

308,8

396,9

202,7

279,7

315,5

317,5

325,5

281,8

310,4

Cit-P ppm

21,8

27,9

27,9

33,4

29,9

35,0

27,5

29,9

31,7

44,5

29,5

29,1

47,1

27,2

28,0

25,0

31,0

43,7

29,7

32,9

45,9

34,5

38,6

32,6

38,4

30,0

36,8

4,4

8,1

8,2

9,7

8,5

9,4

8,4

9,3

10,8

12,0

11,3

9,4

9,5

10,4

12,1

PQuota LOI (%) MS

13,7 6,1

10,5

9,8

9,3

6,5

6,5

10,1

6,9

9,7

10,7

10,2

9,8

6,0

10,5

11,9

5,5

8,3

8,6

7,8

7,7

6,4

11,5

6

4,5

6,4

7,3

7

7,6

6,7

8,1

13,4

6,6

6,8

6,2

6,8

10,2

6,8

8,8

102

10

10

11

15

10

9

13

10

10

10

10

11

16

10

10

10

63

25

9

6

11

28

8

6

7

9

10

597

2771

1951

2029

1422

1521

2413

1263

1913

1507

1086

1173

1547

1472

1448

MS550 MSQuota

762 pH

127 No data

1716

1424

1693

245,1 No data

158,2 No data

169,3 4,9

892

1775

1276

1582

1538

643

1395

1009

148,7

161,4

45,6

197,8

153,8

10,2

55,8

112,1

5,1

No data

4,8

No data

No data

No data

No data

No data

114,8

119,6

150,7

108,6

117,3

171,9

113,2

144,8

59,7

277,1

177,4

135,3

142,2

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

152,1 No data

241,3 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 314870,4043 236882,8943 Ap

52 314878,6536 236879,3946 Ap

65 314889,43 236904,0811 Ap

72 314844,8456 236855,3142 Ap

54 314886,6738 236879,8113 Ap

61 314882,3825 236883,6026 Ap

71 314843,9986 236870,8422 Ap

55 314890,7359 236880,0613 Ap

48 314862,5717 236878,3739 Ap

50 314870,5918 236878,853 Ap

47 314891,9025 236876,1033 Ap

2 314863,2383 236849,8555 Ap

70 314843,0552 236886,1673 Ap

62 314886,4446 236883,8943 Ap

63 314890,4651 236884,0609 Ap

56 314862,3217 236882,4152 Ap

53 314882,6533 236879,603 Ap

59 314874,3832 236883,0818 Ap

22 314879,6744 236863,0836 Anthropogenic

21 314875,5497 236862,8961 Anthropogenic

22 314879,6744 236863,0836 Anthropogenic

21 314875,5497 236862,8961 Anthropogenic

46 314886,9446 236875,77 Ap

67 314873,1116 236903,1276 Ap

68 314857,4961 236897,145 Ap

64 314890,0009 236894,0704 Ap

16 314883,9032 236859,313 Ap

4 314864,0299 236854,0427 Ap

5 314867,9879 236854,2927 Ap

21 314875,5497 236862,8961 Anthropogenic

45 314882,9449 236875,52 Ap

6 314872,05 236854,5635 Ap

7 314876,0913 236854,7301 Anthropogenic?

44 314878,9453 236875,2908 Ap

40 314862,8841 236874,3117 Ap

28 314871,3209 236866,6666 Ap

19 314867,5712 236862,4378 Ap

26,5

28,0

36,0

35,9

25,4

29,9

27,1

26,8

29,1

35,5

38,1

34,6

33,2

32,9

34,2

33,9

30,1

22,5

32,7

29,1

27,2

29,4

30,1

31,6

30,9

33,3

32,3

34,0

28,1

33,3

32,2

32,1

32,8

33,7

37,7

28,0

27,7

103

286,6

205,7

244,7

284,2

286,2

294,1

312,2

294,1

322,1

220,3

317,0

250,6

289,8

283,8

288,6

264,1

332,1

205,7

270,1

315,4

260,2

321,6

313,6

253,1

328,4

243,2

296,1

260,3

289,8

311,7

306,3

319,7

251,0

313,3

300,4

290,2

291,0

10,8

7,3

6,8

7,9

11,2

9,8

11,5

11,0

11,1

8,6

8,4

7,8

11,0

6,2

8,3

7,2

8,7

9,1

8,3

10,8

9,6

10,9

10,4

8,0

10,6

7,3

9,2

7,7

10,3

9,4

9,5

10,0

7,7

9,3

8,0

10,4

10,5

6,3

7,2

7,8

6,7

6,8

8,4

4,3

5,7

7,4

6,8

7,4

6,9

8,5

4,7

6,7

6,3

6,6

4,2

6,4

7

6,8

7,6

7

6,9

7,7

6,9

6,9

6,1

7,5

6,6

7,2

7,6

5,5

7,3

6,7

6

6,7

1749

615

1829

2425

1807

2123

1794

1648

1658

1079

1388

1948

1557

1863

1411

1373

1252

803

1292

1685

2784

1211

1552

1408

2019

1416

2314

2249

1618

1263

1562

1633

1637

2228

1361

2014

1672

14

14

18

10

10

14

9

20

15

13

10

12

12

26

14

19

10

7

10

11

11

16

11

10

10

14

10

15

10

9

12

10

14

10

19

15

15

101,1 No data

231,4 No data

118,4 4,6

107,9 No data

84,2 No data

111,6 No data

163,3 No data

109,1 No data

222,8 No data

151,2 No data

167,8 No data

167,2 No data

41,5 5,1

99,1 No data

102,5 No data

155,7 No data

143,3 No data

141,1 No data

114,4 No data

104,3 No data

124,9 No data

68,3 No data

91,45 No data

161,7 No data

129,1 No data

151,6 No data

99,7 No data

164,8 No data

165,8 No data

114,7 No data

129,2 No data

153,2 No data

253,1 No data

75,7 No data

141,1 No data

140,8 No data

201,9 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

14

14

24

13

314875,8414

314875,8414

314887,6945

236858,8339 Ap

236858,8339 Anthropogenic?

236863,5418 Ap

314871,8 236858,5631 Ap

7 314876,0913 236854,7301 Ap

17 314887,9445 236859,5422 Ap

22 314879,6744 236863,0836 Anthropogenic

9 314884,1531 236855,2092 Ap

10 314888,1945 236855,4592 Ap

11 314863,8007 236858,1048 Ap

20 314871,5709 236862,6253 Ap

25 314890,6734 236863,771 Ap

08_0003:0077

08_0003:0078

08_0003:0079

08_0003:0080

12 314867,8212 236858,3548 Ap

22 314879,6744 236863,0836 C

18 314863,5091 236862,2086 Ap

31 314883,4032 236867,3957 Anthropogenic?

08_0003:0081

08_0003:0082

30 314879,3411 236867,1874 Anthropogenic

37 314883,1116 236871,4995 Ap

08_0003:0083

08_0003:0084

42

1

314870,8626

314860,1969

236874,77 Ap

236849,7097 Ap

08_0003:0085 27 314867,3213 236866,4583 Ap

Abbreviations/explanations:

(IG)- Coordinated within the Irish National Grid as defined by OSI.

Ap horizon- Topsoil

C horizon- Subsoil

Anthropogenic- Possible archaeological feature

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

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

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

7,4

6,7

6,5

7,1

5

6,6

8,1

9,4

3,8

6,8

7,2

6,7

7,4

5,4

6,8

6,8

7,9

7,2

5,4

6,9

5,7

1495

476

1454

1852

2539

1425

1368

1560

1508

885

1453

2562

2145

487

1038

1142

750

638

1807

1728

1664

6

9

11

8

25

8

15

14

8

9

6

17

55

11

7

7

6

13

7

6

31

106,8 No data

59,5 No data

161,6 No data

308,7 No data

149,4 No data

237,5 No data

152 No data

141,8 No data

188,5 No data

35,4 No data

181,6 No data

170,8 5,4

165 No data

69,6 No data

173 No data

36,8 No data

13,6 No data

58 No data

258,1 No data

246,8 4,6

277,3 No data

104

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

1b: Geophysical and geochemical analysis, archaeobotanical sub-samples

ACS sample

No

Context

No Context Type

10

17

32

32

10 Burnt Mound dep.

10 Burnt Mound dep.

10 fill of pit

10 fill of pit

30

13

14

13

23

23

31

30

10 fill of pit

10 Burnt Mound dep.

72 fill of poss posthole

72 fill of poss posthole

72 fill of poss posthole

10 fill of pit

48 fill of pit

10 fill of pit

21

36

45

9

21

29

15

36

22

9

36

36

21

22

29

16

14

21

26

22

48 fill of pit

63 fill of pit

57 fill of pit

63 fill of pit

63 fill of pit

63 fill of pit

75 fill of pit

51 fill of pit

63 fill of pit

75 fill of pit

51 fill of pit

58 fill of pit

63 fill of pit

58 fill of pit

10 fill of small pit

24 fill of pit

63 fill of pit

24 fill of pit

58 fill of pit

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

26,4

297,1

265,6

7,1

10,1

12,7

10,5

14

11

1677

1676

119,8

152,4 pH

5,4 no data no data

30,0

48,9

41,2

36,6

33,6

270,0

268,8

318,3

255,2

228,4

9,0

5,5

7,7

7,0

6,8

10,7

7,2

9,1

8,8

7,9

10

3

4

3

3

1723

456

733

1050

653

172,3

152,0

183,3

5,2 no data no data

350,0 no data

217,7 no data

36,4

52,2

68,6

36,1

30,2

69,3

26,4

85,2

39,1

32,0

36,1

35,9

31,9

34,1

45,4

35,5

46,4

69,3

30,4

55,2

38,2

45,0

57,9

67,0

189,8

237,1

106,2

264,7

114,8

141,4

333,7

174,9

129,3

209,2

240,4

160,2

120,3

207,0

102,6

215,1

163,8

156,4

265,3

248,5

121,6

271,2

195,7

184,8

4,8

7,4

2,9

7,4

3,6

4,2

7,3

4,9

3,6

4,0

3,5

4,4

4,0

3,0

3,9

2,5

3,5

2,3

8,7

4,5

3,2

6,0

3,4

2,8

5,2

7

2,3

9,9

3,2

4,1

10,2

4,7

3,2

6,5

5,9

4,4

2,6

5,3

2,7

5,5

7,7

5,5

8

5,5

3,8

6

4,9

4,3

3

3

17

5

9

7

1

2

5

5

6

18

3

7

17

6

5

5

4

4

12

6

8

4

279

273

37

989

87

246

157

229

87

617

95

266

50

173

81

69

685

147

779

144

79

198

120

56

93,0

197,8

9,7

35,1

5,4

91,0 no data

2,2 no data

5,4

5,4

5,5

157,0 6

114,5 no data

17,4 no data

123,4 no data

15,8

14,8

6

5,8

16,7 no data

24,7 no data

4,8 no data

11,5 7,6

137,0 no data

29,4 no data

194,8

36,0

5,4

6,3

6,6 no data

33,0 no data

15,0 no data

14,0 no data

105

1c: Macrofossil analysis

MAL No

ACS sample

No

Context

No Context Type Cereals Weeds/other plants

Lab

Notes Charcoal

08_0003:316

08_0003:319

08_0003:320

08_0003:324

08_0003:327

08_0003:328

08_0003:329

10

32

23

30

13

14

21

10 fill of pit

72 fill of poss posthole

72 fill of poss posthole

10 fill of pit

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

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

26

29

16

36

45

9

63 fill of pit

75 fill of pit

51 fill of pit

10 fill of small pit

24 fill of pit

58 fill of pit

106

Euphorbia helioscopia: 1 (HS) (A) XXXX

(HS) (A) XX

(HS) (A) X

(HS) XX

(HS) (A) worked stone (?) XXX

(HS)

(HS)

XX

XXX

Rubus fruticosus (unc): 1

Rubus idaeus (unc): 3 (HS)

(HS)

(HS)

X

XX

XX

X

(HS) (A) X

(HS) X

Appendix 2: Analysis results, Putiaghan Upper 2 and 3, License No: E3822, E3833

2a: Pre-excavation survey

MALNo

08_0003:0086

08_0003:0087

08_0003:0088

08_0003:0089

08_0003:0090

08_0003:0091

08_0003:0092

08_0003:0093

08_0003:0094

08_0003:0095

08_0003:0096

08_0003:0097

08_0003:0098

08_0003:0099

08_0003:0100

08_0003:0101

08_0003:0102

08_0003:0103

08_0003:0104

08_0003:0105

08_0003:0106

08_0003:0107

08_0003:0108

08_0003:0109

08_0003:0110

08_0003:0111

08_0003:0112

08_0003:0113

Field No

Northing

(IG)

Easting

(IG)

SoilHorizon

102 315185,13564 236741,45726 Ap

100 315175,33525 236738,96118 Ap

137 315172,68152 236737,70000 Ap

126 315151,87211 236738,75098 Ap

139 315164,69407 236727,13765 Ap

143 315166,90113 236722,61843 Ap

141 315175,33525 236732,36628 Ap

142 315162,40819 236720,43765 Ap

131 315159,88584 236736,99059 Ap

130 315154,70976 236734,23177 Ap

145 315177,54230 236727,79451 Ap

144 315171,28897 236724,74667 Ap

140 315169,13446 236729,34471 Ap

103 315190,73211 236729,84392 Ap

102 315185,13564 236741,45726 Ap

103 315190,73211 236729,84392 Ap

122 315151,05760 236743,82196 Ap

108 315170,92113 236747,89451 Ap

106 315175,96583 236742,06157 Anthropogenic?

132 315164,32623 236739,14510 Ap

104 315186,26544 236727,63687 Ap

129 315167,53172 236748,47255 Ap

127 315156,86427 236743,27020 Ap

101 315180,59015 236739,30275 Ap

103 315190,73211 236729,84392 Ap

105 315181,85132 236725,53490 Ap

111 315182,48191 236753,51725 Ap

138 315160,25368 236724,93059 Ap

Cit-P ppm

70,0

19,6

22,7

15,8

16,4

21,5

21,5

24,4

16,2

35,3

19,4

21,8

25,0

34,2

35,1

43,9

21,5

22,4

18,9

18,6

27,6

24,5

22,2

18,5

34,1

24,7

35,2

22,4

Cit-POI ppm

264,6

215,1

283,7

187,9

223,3

212,7

270,9

266,7

250,9

373,6

236,3

272,6

296,1

147,5

348,4

171,3

276,8

250,1

198,0

254,5

280,3

333,0

254,9

214,9

188,5

177,1

195,5

249,4

PQuota LOI (%) MS

3,8 7,2

11,0

12,5

4,5

6,1

11,9

13,6

9,9

12,6

10,9

15,5

3,5

5,7

5,2

6,5

7,8

5,5

10,6

12,2

12,5

11,8

4,3

9,9

3,9

12,8

9,9

5,7

7,2

8,2

4,3

12,5

1,5

6,1

11,2

10,5

13,7

10,2

13,6

11,5

11,6

5,5

7,2

5,6

11,2

5,8

5,6

5,7

3,9

3,8

4,7

5,8

6,2

4,3

6,1

6,4

107

46

51

4

10

13

5

16

9

11

7

4

54

6

18

14

13

9

7

15

13

21

10

19

30

5

14

26

15

MS550 MSQuota pH

479 95,8 no data

716

1450

51,1

55,8 no data no data

557

1560

1431

1831

2160

1293

37,1

120,0

68,1

183,1

113,7

43,1

5,6 no data no data no data no data no data

1626

2765

2034

2205

404

1074

463

1800

271,0

153,6

145,3

169,6

36,7

153,4

115,8

33,3 no data no data no data no data

7,8 no data

7,6 no data

928

185

1458

204

1548

1549

714

477

447

391

1584

71,4 no data

37,0 no data

91,1 no data

22,7 no data

33,7

30,4

105,6

4,8

4,5

178,5 no data

47,7 8,5

49,7 no data

55,9 4,8 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 315175,96583 236742,06157 Anthropogenic?

115 315183,21760 236736,12353 Ap

145 315177,54230 236727,79451 Ap

109 315174,07407 236749,47098 Ap

121 315164,82544 236759,35019 Ap

107 315182,58701 236745,37216 Ap

136 315166,53329 236734,67843 Ap

111 315182,48191 236753,51725 Ap

110 315178,04152 236751,38902 Ap

124 315159,93838 236748,10471 Ap

128 315161,25211 236745,42471 Ap

107 315182,58701 236745,37216 Ap

133 315170,99995 236741,29961 Ap

135 315162,06662 236732,49765 Ap

116 315174,49446 236745,24078 Anthropogenic

117 315148,87682 236748,34118 Ap

118 315153,34348 236750,44314 Ap

113 315172,83917 236755,46157 Ap

114 315180,11721 236734,62588 Ap

134 315157,99407 236729,42353 Ap

120 315162,22427 236758,11529 Ap

123 315155,52427 236746,08157 Ap

125 315166,16544 236751,28392 Ap

119 315157,75760 236752,59765 Ap

112 315168,34623 236753,22823 Ap

239 315152,71608 236771,66034 Ap

255 315145,56861 236763,08337 Ap

249 315147,51056 236771,25577 Ap

251 315143,43785 236780,80372 Ap

219 315166,03601 236793,91904 Ap

240 315151,12476 236777,02769 Ap

209 315163,20244 236765,30079 Ap

250 315145,32586 236776,16460 Ap

218 315168,01016 236789,29953 Ap

236 315151,74511 236786,57564 Ap

225 315161,43624 236791,92515 Ap

259 315136,80283 236783,47390 Ap

48,0

21,5

24,3

45,0

18,6

57,3

48,9

34,7

29,9

19,4

19,5

22,0

36,0

39,3

23,7

19,0

18,4

34,1

35,9

46,3

30,7

35,0

27,1

45,5

33,5

15,9

22,4

25,0

16,1

29,7

32,3

21,8

19,4

18,6

18,5

22,5

27,2

108

396,0

289,3

335,9

247,0

273,7

441,9

416,7

393,3

383,0

260,0

218,7

171,9

267,9

309,4

300,4

209,7

261,1

215,1

325,3

302,4

336,6

291,4

288,0

324,1

290,9

188,4

232,2

298,5

274,2

362,2

343,0

280,2

124,3

250,0

293,5

290,2

301,1

4,2

13,4

8,5

7,1

8,0

9,3

6,3

6,7

6,5

7,1

5,0

4,8

6,1

5,4

5,3

4,0

6,1

8,9

5,8

7,5

7,6

7,9

6,8

8,0

6,6

9,6

7,4

2,4

6,0

5,9

6,7

10,0

4,9

6,2

7,1

4,8

9,4

8,2

13,4

13,8

5,5

14,7

7,7

8,5

11,3

12,8

13,4

11,2

7,8

7,4

7,9

12,7

11,1

14,2

6,3

9,1

6,5

11,0

8,3

10,6

7,1

8,7

11,9

10,4

11,9

17,0

12,2

10,6

12,9

6,4

13,4

15,9

12,9

11,1

11

40

25

57

16

40

58

54

32

50

17

15

13

13

39

8

21

4

64

68

30

8

24

17

16

14

10

3

12

68

42

16

33

4

10

12

34

8,2 no data

131,0 no data

160,3 no data

87,6 4,5

100,0 no data

134,8 no data

212,8 4,9

43,3 7,7

107,2 no data

20,6 no data

43,3 no data

96,6 no data

121,7 no data

30,0 no data

42,0 no data

58,5 no data

27,4 no data

75,3 no data

58,1 no data

129,3 no data

65,5 no data

27,1 no data

29,6 no data

35,5 no data

79,8 no data

61,1 no data

82,8 no data

35,3 no data

158,3 no data

104,3 no data

19,5 no data

16,3 no data

61,3 no data

78,8 no data

104,4 no data

86,1 no data

156,9 no data

2621

1571

1598

1137

878

2442

2070

2013

2532

1582

1170

336

1229

1369

1280

871

1681

417

1250

1111

1838

630

2505

1464

2510

269

524

1603

1051

3400

1887

2128

130

1286

1402

1820

1545

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 315163,94341 236771,03865 Ap

254 315133,72807 236799,57596 Ap

232 315151,90882 236798,77998 Ap

260 315134,77996 236788,08605 Ap

207 315157,64589 236762,78216 Ap

210 315165,17579 236760,73092 Ap

252 315141,33406 236785,41586 Ap

241 315148,75126 236780,93857 Ap

261 315130,94999 236797,31034 Ap

205 315152,27110 236760,57512 Ap

211 315167,74634 236767,32607 Ap

223 315168,18783 236783,89036 C

206 315154,45218 236756,05718 Ap

224 315163,44988 236787,32538 Ap

213 315172,18639 236769,11767 Ap

238 315154,71198 236767,04819 Ap

230 315155,96785 236789,57591 Ap

212 315169,71970 236762,65234 Ap

217 315170,04353 236784,68002 Ap

247 315136,74889 236803,10924 Ap

245 315147,75331 236795,90782 Ap

223 315168,18783 236783,89036 C

234 315156,92366 236774,57327 Ap

228 315161,92978 236775,63842 Ap

229 315158,69218 236783,08096 Ap

248 315150,15378 236765,10624 Ap

243 315142,92539 236789,56949 Ap

257 315140,76766 236774,19567 Ap

216 315172,07691 236780,02103 Ap

214 315173,92606 236764,49587 Ap

246 315143,35693 236804,80845 Ap

201 315142,89767 236756,49859 Ap

242 315143,30299 236784,12122 Ap

222 315167,41792 236778,04688 Ap

233 315159,32413 236769,04409 Ap

253 315139,39211 236790,08195 Ap

202 315144,92296 236751,92872 Ap

34,4

24,6

58,6

42,4

31,7

100,4

32,4

24,5

36,0

60,0

18,6

32,6

62,5

56,4

42,6

30,4

34,9

38,0

35,9

30,7

26,8

32,0

44,3

29,5

19,2

53,3

30,7

36,8

66,9

52,2

42,4

30,1

32,9

46,7

45,4

35,6

29,6

109

429,0

105,9

428,4

358,4

297,9

439,7

299,0

331,9

300,1

395,5

159,2

282,7

404,5

263,7

436,9

172,8

440,0

345,4

382,2

341,7

327,0

299,9

366,0

322,3

351,3

413,3

344,9

318,0

284,7

308,7

410,5

285,7

365,9

432,1

277,2

413,7

149,8

10,8

1,9

13,3

9,4

7,0

11,4

6,3

6,4

7,6

9,3

4,1

7,0

11,1

6,6

10,4

4,0

12,1

7,4

12,0

7,4

6,8

7,2

9,9

7,8

6,4

11,3

9,0

8,6

6,5

8,2

11,3

5,4

5,7

12,2

4,9

12,2

2,7

12,5

4,3

7,3

8,4

9,4

4,4

9,2

13,5

8,3

4,7

10,3

5,7

12,6

6,6

8,6

8,7

6,5

9,1

10,6

11,1

12,2

9,4

8,3

10,9

18,3

7,8

11,2

8,7

4,3

5,9

9,7

9,5

11,1

9,3

6,1

11,6

5,1

77

47

8

18

32

9

4

36

91

23

19

60

20

39

43

27

23

34

10

36

11

44

23

9

35

26

7

72

6

19

15

6

22

12

14

17

38

119,2 no data

167,8 no data

75,9 no data

133,6 no data

48,3 no data

151,8 no data

119,6 no data

22,2 no data

335,8 no data

53,4 no data

201,9 no data

235,2 4,4

71,2 no data

17,7 no data

63,2 no data

95,3 no data

78,3 no data

145,2 no data

6,1 no data

92,3 5,2

219,8 no data

12,5 4,7

92,7 no data

23,8 no data

26,6 no data

32,2 no data

149,1 no data

123,6 no data

52,7 no data

65,4 no data

77,5 no data

48,2 no data

185,0 no data

33,4 no data

82,3 7,2

244,9 no data

57,9 no data

1978

50

3338

2168

2046

1513

1193

2225

1687

2777

759

1706

2191

1801

2758

363

1845

2225

775

1735

2035

1468

1892

2204

2027

2622

2014

1062

2272

1834

3948

837

1598

2015

1014

3028

1411

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

231

235

220

223 315168,18783 236783,89036 Anthropogenic

258 315138,79873 236778,94267 Ap

215

256

226

244

226

315153,94110

315153,71403

315174,68279

315174,03132

315142,33201

315159,81744

315139,87760

315159,81744

236794,13961 Ap

236781,96349 Ap

236786,67391 Ap

236775,36204 Ap

236770,36570 Ap

236795,67603 Ap

236794,23558 Ap

236795,67603 Ap

208 315159,90486 236758,31615 Ap

203 315147,54544 236758,49791 Ap

08_0003:0200

08_0003:0201

221

204

315169,41181

315149,59669

236773,40763 Ap

236753,95400 Ap

08_0003:0202 237 315149,72224 236791,32264 Ap

Abbreviations/explanations:

(IG)- Coordinated within the Irish National Grid as defined by OSI.

Ap horizon- Topsoil

C horizon- Subsoil

Anthropogenic- Possible archaeological feature

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

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

5,6

5,5

8,4

6,8

11,4

8,6

6,3

7,8

6,7

1,9

6,1

7,4

11,3

5,7

8,4

9

23

21

14

50

45

30

9

66

3

30

15

9

34

28

1273

1963

61

812

2397

777

1337

879

1682

1541

2582

1093

2400

1362

2065

141,4 no data

29,7 no data

20,3

27,1

159,8

6,4

4,8

5,3

86,3 no data

58,1 no data

41,9 no data

120,1 no data

30,8 no data

57,4 no data

36,4 no data

266,7 no data

40,1 no data

73,8 no data

110

2b: Geophysical and geochemical analysis, archaeobotanical sub-samples

MALNo Site

08_0003_300 PU 2

08_0003_301 PU 2

08_0003_302 PU 2

08_0003_303 PU 2

08_0003_304 PU 2

08_0003_305 PU 3

08_0003_306 PU 3

08_0003_307 PU 3

08_0003_308 PU 3

08_0003_309 PU 3

08_0003_310 PU 3

08_0003_311 PU 3

ACS sample

No

2

3

3

3

Context

No Context Type

3 Burnt Mound dep

4 shallow dep

4 shallow dep

3

4

4 shallow dep

4 shallow dep

12 fill of pit

4

2

2

2

3

3

12 fill of pit

8 Burnt Mound dep

8 Burnt Mound dep

8 Burnt Mound dep

11 fill of pit

11 fill of pit

Cit-P ppm

30,2

33,3

Cit-POI ppm

228,8

174,3

Pquota LOI (%) MS

7,6

5,2

7,7

5,3

6

7

MS550

322

374

MSQuota

53,7

53,4 no data no data no data no data no data no data no data

6,0

59,8

427,3

220,5

161,0

498,8

36,7

2,7

1,2

5,4

5,3

14,5

15

24

231

542

428

1394

36,1 pH

6,9

4,9 no data no data

17,8 no data

6,0 5,9

624,6

44,1

24,0

27,1

437,9

263,1

190,4

224,1

191,3 381,1

129,2 no data no data

2,0

0,7

6,0

7,9

8,3

17,2

6,8

5,7

5,6

7,4

7,8

276

11

4

4

7

18

1608

201

508

385

174

187

5,8 no data

18,3

10,4

5,7

127,0 no data

96,3 no data

24,9 no data

5,6

111

2c: Macrofossil analysis

MAL No

Site

08_0003:300

PU2

08_0003:301

PU2

08_0003:302

PU2

08_0003:303

PU2

08_0003:304

PU2

PU3

08_0003:305

ACS sample No Context No Cereals

2 3

3

3

3

3

4

4

4

4

4

12

Avena sp: 544

Avena fatua lemma base: 3

Hordeum vulgare: 471

T. aestivum ssp. vulgare/ssp. compactum: 120

T. compactum rachis segments: 21

Cerealia indet: 785

Weeds/other plants

Chenopodium sp: 5

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

PU3

08_0003:307

08_0003:308

PU3

PU3

2

2

3

8

Avena sp: 19

Hordeum vulgare: 20

T. aestivum ssp. vulgare/ssp. compactum: 7

Cerealia indet: 34

8

11

Avena sp: 3

Hordeum vulgare: 8

Cerealia indet: 19

Avena sp: 23

Hordeum vulgare: 40

Triticum (?) sp: 2

Cerealia indet: 69

(BB)

Artemisia cf. vulgaris (frg): 1

Corylus avellana: 4

Galeopsis sp: 1 cf. Polygonaceae: 1

Polygonum aviculare: 1

Polygonum cf. aviculare (frg): 1 (BB)

Artermisia cf. vulgaris: 1

Corylus avellana: 1

Indet: 1 (BB)

Persicaria cf. minor (frg): 4

Polygonum cf. aviculare (frg): 1

Lab Notes

(HS)

Charcoal

X

(HS), 1 insect fragment X

(HS) X

(HS)

(HS)

X

X

(BB)

1 snail shell

XXXX

XXXX

XXXX

XXX 08_0003:311

112

Abbreviations:

(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

Appendix 3: Analysis results, Straheglin 1, License No: E3825

3a: Geophysical and geochemical analysis, pre-excavation survey

MALNo

08_0003:0203

08_0003:0204

08_0003:0205

08_0003:0206

08_0003:0207

08_0003:0208

08_0003:0209

08_0003:0210

08_0003:0211

08_0003:0212

08_0003:0213

08_0003:0214

08_0003:0215

08_0003:0216

08_0003:0217

08_0003:0218

08_0003:0219

08_0003:0220

08_0003:0221

08_0003:0222

08_0003:0223

08_0003:0224

08_0003:0225

08_0003:0226

08_0003:0227

08_0003:0228

08_0003:0229

Field No

Northing

(IG)

Easting

(IG) SoilHorizon

334 315806,7299 235844,7777 Ap

315 315792,9113 235888,8463 Ap

321 315793,9633 235900,8128 Ap

317 315806,1599 235897,1965 Ap

316 315799,3219 235896,9664 Ap

323 315799,6507 235866,3928 Ap

332 315828,2847 235879,477 Ap

333 315813,8279 235851,5775 Ap

322 315801,6231 235906,7631 Ap

313 315779,334 235872,9678 Ap

311 315813,2608 235894,7967 Ap

306 315783,3447 235869,0228 Ap

301 315790,117 235876,2224 Ap

335 315822,6818 235857,3436 Ap

324 315792,8456 235858,9302 Ap

337 315837,2792 235871,6777 Ap

303 315798,3685 235884,6383 Ap

328 315806,8831 235858,7987 Ap

308 315786,3363 235865,7353 Ap

314 315789,2951 235884,0795 Ap

339 315827,4225 235837,0384 Ap

310 315807,442 235886,578 Ap

338 315820,6363 235844,3025 Ap

331 315821,0522 235872,5404 Ap

340

340

315809,982

315809,982

235855,3698 Ap

235855,3698 Ap

326 315815,5621 235878,1291 Ap

Cit-POI ppm

278,4

362,2

344,5

246,5

279,3

323,0

303,1

301,6

257,9

496,9

504,6

419,6

377,3

324,6

293,4

314,3

415,0

392,0

288,4

394,5

262,7

235,9

266,9

293,1

331,5

634,3

293,5

Cit-P ppm

29,7

33,3

33,4

55,2

40,6

64,8

22,2

71,1

45,0

81,1

85,9

44,6

38,5

49,4

63,0

45,9

66,0

63,4

35,0

50,3

50,0

35,9

46,8

61,5

47,5

161,3

78,1

PQuota LOI (%) MS

9,4

10,9

10,3

4,5

6,9

5,0

13,7

4,2

9,8

6,6

4,7

6,9

6,3

6,2

5,7

6,1

5,9

9,4

5,7

4,8

7,0

3,9

3,8

8,2

7,8

5,3

6,6

7,7

8,3

8,1

7,3

6,3

8,8

6,9

6,7

6,4

15,5

25,8

11,6

12,9

8

7,6

7,8

18,9

13,2

6,2

12,2

6

5,2

6,8

7

8,1

13,6

6,9

113

13

33

41

126

47

68

35

54

68

12

177

10

34

83

98

82

160

67

66

111

47

18

182

95

27

79

39

MS550 MSQ

1473

1979

1154

1793

2507

2517

2079

1986

2028

1514

4386

1800

2545

2570

2140

2364

2637

2029

1745

1496

1430

900

1813

1889

2816

2057

2022

pH

29,8 no data

126,2 no data

24,8 no data

180,0 no data

74,9 no data

31,0 no data

21,8 no data

28,8 no data

16,5 no data

30,3 no data

113,3 no data

60,0 no data

28,1

14,2 no data

6,3

53,3 no data

37,0 no data

59,4 no data

36,8 5,6

18,4 no data

55,4 no data

18,1

23,1 no data

5,8

27,5

17,0 no data

5,6

59,9

114,3

11,1 no data

5,2

5,1

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

307 315793,2729 235872,9349 Ap

312 315786,435 235879,9701 Ap

330 315813,9841 235865,7024 Ap

318 315779,6299 235887,0382 Ap

329 315799,6178 235851,8621 Ap

320 315786,7308 235893,9091 Ap

302 315793,3387 235879,8386 Anthropogenic

305 315814,4772

340 315809,982

235899,432 Ap

235855,3698 Ap

309 315800,4068 235879,7729 Ap

340

340

315809,982

315809,982

235855,3698 C

235855,3698 Ap

325 315807,1461 235872,7048 Ap

336 315829,6419 235864,1532 Ap

340 315809,982 235855,3698 C

302 315793,3387 235879,8386 C

302 315793,3387 235879,8386 Anthropogenic

304 315805,9955 235892,2653 Ap

341 315796,8022 235876,2723 Ap

327 315822,6959 235885,0328 Ap

319 315772,6275 235879,9701 Ap

08_0003:0251 340 315809,982 235855,3698 C

Abbreviations/explanations:

(IG)- Coordinated within the Irish National Grid as defined by OSI.

Ap horizon- Topsoil

C horizon- Subsoil

Anthropogenic- Possible archaeological feature

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

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

5,4

9,6

6,8

26,7

8,7

18,4

7

8

6,5

5

4,7

10,8

8

9,6

5,4

8,5

6,3

6,9

4,3

3,9

27,6

4,1

9,0

8,9

8,9

6,4

9,3

6,0

5,4

4,8

9,1

4,7

4,1

4,5

6,9

4,7

5,6

10,7

10,1

11,7

8,2

6,7

5,5

4,7

36

10

33

49

43

18

27

167

43

123

276

156

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 no data

32,3 no data

16,8 no data

15,8

20,2 no data

5,2

75,7 no data

79,8 no data

63,5 no data

39,2 5,3

29,5 no data

76,8

64,8

5,3

5,1

11,7 no data

11,9 no data

54,0

4,0 no data

5,5

11,2 no data

116,6 no data

28,3 no data

34,8 no data

18,9 no data

68,9 5,6

114

3b: Geophysical and geochemical analysis, archaeobotanical sub-samples

MAL No

08_0003_312

08_0003_313

08_0003_314

08_0003_315

ACS sample No

5

4

6

5

Context

No

19

51

25

19

Cit-P ppm

53,9

45,3

66,1

53,8

Cit-POI ppm

319,0

396,4

296,1

230,2

Pquota LOI (%) MS

5,9 13,9

8,8

4,5

4,3

17,5

19,1

8

3c: Macrofossil analysis

MAL No

ACS sample

No

Context

No Cereals

08_0003:312

08_0003:313

08_0003:314

5

4

6

19 Hordeum vulgare: 1

51 Triticum sp: 4

25

Weeds/other plants

Galeopsis sp. (frg): 1

Galium cf. aparine: 1

Corylus avellana: 2

Galium sp: 1

Corylus avellana: 1

5 19 Indet:

1

14

14

29

10

MS550 MSQuota

1323 94,5

1598

1520

626

114,1 pH

6

5,7

52,4 6,1

62,6 no data

Lab

Notes

(HS)

Charcoal

XX

(HS) (A) XXXX

(HS) (A) XXXX

(HS)

1 insect fragment XX 08_0003:315

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

Appendix 4: Analysis results, Bun 4, License No: E3816

4a: Geophysical and geochemical analysis, archaeobotanical sub-samples

MALNo Site

08_0003_348 Bun 4

08_0003_349 Bun 4

08_0003_350 Bun 4

08_0003_351 Bun 4

08_0003_352 Bun 4

08_0003_353 Bun 4

08_0003_354 Bun 4

08_0003_355 Bun 4

ACS sample

No

8

8

13

87

Context

No

11

Cit-P ppm

100,2

11

61

149

141

92,8

82,2

256,0

192,3 49

12

11

11

20

64

64

142,8

78,6

78,8

Cit-POI ppm

291,0

401,8

216,2

392,4

400,7

466,5

326,3

280,2

Pquota LOI

2,9

4,3

2,6

1,5

2,1

3,3

4,2

3,6

5,2

7,8

5,8

5,2

4,9

8,6

3,7

4,8

MS

36

30

MS550 MSQ

326

1392

9,1 pH

5,8

46,4 no data

10

8

11

14

19

30

254

152

604

1328

703

623

25,4

19,0

54,9

94,9

37,0

20,8

6,47 no data

5,8

6,6

6,4

5,7

116

4b: Macrofossil analysis

MAL No

08_0003:348

08_0003:349

08_0003:350

08_0003:351

08_0003:352

08_0003:353

08_0003:354

08_0003:355

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

ACS sample No

8

8

13

87

49

12

11

11

Context

No Cereals

11

11

61

149 Hordeum vulgare: 1

141

20

64

64

Hordeum vulgare: 2

Cerealia indet: 1

117

Weeds/other plants

Chenopodium sp: 1

Fumaria officinalis (unc): 1

Lab Notes Charcoal

(HS) (A) (BB) XX

(HS) (A) (BB) XXX

X

X

(UBB)

(BB)

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.

B- Residue C- Floatated (wet)

Sample 08_0003_305

A- Floatated (dry)

Charcoal

Cereal remains

76%

28%

3%

0,3%

21%

72%

Weed remains

Bone

28%

None

2,4%

100%

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

Alnus

Anchusa officinalis

Anthriscus sylvestris

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Artemisia absinthium

Artemisia vulgaris

Asarum europaeum

Asteraceae

Avena fatua

Avena sativa

Calluna vulgaris

Carex

Chenopodium

Citrus limon

Cnicus benedictus

Corylus avellana

Euphrasia rostkoviana

Euphorbia helioscopia

Fallopia convolvulus

Foeniculum vulgare

Fragaria vesca

Fumaria officinalis

Galeopsis

Galium

Galium aparine

Galium boreale

Geum urbanum

Hedera helix

Hordeum vulgare

Humulus lupulus

Hyssopus officinalis

Inula helenium

Isatis tinctoria

Juncus

Juniperus communis

Larix

Laurus nobilis

English

Alder

Alkanet

Cow’s Parsley/Keck

Bearberry

Wormwood

Mugwort

Asarabacca

Aster/Daisy family

Wild Oat

Oat

Heather

Sedge

Goosefoot

Lemon

Blessed/Holy thistle

Hazel

Eyebright

Sun Spurge

Black Bindweed

Fennel

Wild Strawberry

Common Fumitory

Hemp Nettle

Cleavers

Cleavers

Northern Bedstraw

Wood Avens

Ivy

Barley

Hop

Hyssop

Elecampane

Woad

Rush

Common Juniper

Larch

Bay Laurel

119

Swedish

Vitmåra

Nejlikrot

Murgröna

Korn

Humle

Isop

Ålandsrot

Vejde

Tåg

En

Lärk

Lager

Al

Oxtunga

Hundkäx

Mjölon

Malört

Gråbo

Hasselört

Korgblommiga

Flyghavre

Havre

Ljung

Starr

Målla

Citron

Kardbenedikt

Hassel

Stor Ögontröst

Revormstörel

Åkerbinda

Fänkål

Smultron

Jordrök

Dån

Måra

Snärjmåra

Lavandula angustifolia

Linum usitattisimum

Majorana hortensis

Melissa officinalis

Mentha pulegium

Mentha spicata

Myrica gale

Origanum vulgare

Persicaria hydropiper

Persicaria minor

Phyllitis scolopendrium

Picea

Picea abies

Pimpinella anisum

Pinus

Potentilla anserina

Poaceae

Polygonaceae

Polygonum aviculare

Prunus avium

Prunus spinosa

Quercus

Reseda luteola

Rosmarinus officinalis

Rubia tinctorum

Rubus

Rubus fruticosus

Rubus idaeus

Rumex acetosa

Salix

Salvia officinalis

Sambucus nigra

Sanicula europaea

Stachys officinalis

Szygium aromaticum

Teucrium scordium

Thymus serphyllum

Triticum aestivum ssp. vulgare

Triticum aestivum ssp. compactum

Veronica officinalis

Vinca minor

Zingiber officinale

Lavender

Flax

Marjoram

Balm

Pennyroyal

Spear Mint

Sweer Gale/Bog’s Myrtle

Wild Marjoram

Water-Pepper

Small Water-Pepper

Hart’s-Tongue

Spruce

Norway Spruce

Anise

Pine

Silverweed

Grass family

Knotweed family

Knotgrass

Wild Cherry

Blackthorn/Sloe

Oak

Weld

Rosemary

Common Madder

Rubus

Bramble/Blackberry

Raspberrry

Common Sorrel

Willow

Common Sage

Elder

Sanicle

Betony

Clove

Water Germander

Breckland Thyme

Common Wheat/Bread Wheat

Club Wheat

Heath Speedwell

Lesser Periwinkle

Gardern Ginger

120

Rosmarin

Krapp

Rubus

Björnbär

Hallon

Ängssyra

Vide

Kryddsalvia

Fläder

Sårläka

Humlesuga

Kryddnejlika

Lökgamander

Backtimjan

Brödvete

Kubbvete

Ärenpris

Vintergröna

Ingefära

Lavendel

Lin

Mejram

Citronmeliss

Polejmynta

Grönmynta

Pors

Kungsmynta

Bitterpilört

Rosenpilört

Hjorttunga

Gran

Gran

Anis

Tall

Gåsört

Gräs

Slidesväxter

Trampört

Sötkörsbär

Slån

Ek

Färgreseda

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