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Caherconnell Cashel

Final Archaeological Excavation Report: Introduction

A hand-dug trench was targeted at the vestigial remains of a rectangular stone-built structure in the northern quadrant of the cashel. The excavation produced evidence of a wall, door and floor associated with the rectangular structure that was sealed by tumble. Beneath the floor, stratigraphically earlier archaeological deposits were located. These deposits were rich in faunal and floral remains and a number of artefacts were also recovered. The artefacts included an iron arrowhead, pieces of two quernstones, a stone-mould for the manufacture of dress-pins from precious metal, iron slag, a sandstone possible metalworking anvil, a number of nail like objects, an as yet unidentified conical iron object, a bone comb, the point of a bone pin, hone-stones, a poor quality chert tool and pieces of flint.

Radiocarbon dating indicates that the cashel was constructed between the early 10th and mid 12th centuries AD. Occupation deposits indicate usage of the cashel between the early 10th and early 13th centuries. The rectangular structure was probably built and used between the early 15th and mid 17th centuries.

The archaeological excavation has demonstrated that stratified deposits representing Early Medieval and medieval occupation are present. There have been no other published excavations of a cashel in the Burren region since the Harvard Expedition’s pioneering work at Cahercommaun in 1934 (Hencken 1938). The trench at Caherconnell and the ongoing work at Cahermacnaghten (Fitzpatrick pers. comm.) are, then, the only examples of modern archaeological excavations at, or near, these site types in the region.

Further information can be found at www.tvasireland.ie.



Caherconnell Cashel: Final
Archaeological Excavation Report