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Waterford Main Drainage Scheme



Waterford 1 The Waterford Main Drainage Scheme was designed to take waste water from the area of Waterford, north of the River Suir, and from Waterford City south of the river, to a waste treatment plant at Springfield in south Kilkenny. Judith Carroll and Company was contracted to carry out monitoring for Contracts 1-5 between 2005 and 2008 at the site compounds, along the route of the pipelines and at pumping stations. The work consisted of monitoring of soil stripping along wayleave areas and monitoring of digging along roadways, as well as underwater monitoring where works took place along the river. Excavation of sites and features of archaeological interest found during monitoring also took place.

A small number of sites were found during this project. Perhaps the most interesting was the burnt mound or Fulacht Fiadh site at Ballymaclode on the south bank of the Suir river, east of Waterford City which was directly associated with two gold bracelets of Late Bronze Age type. One of the gold bracelets, which came to light during monitoring, was a complete example of a classical Late Bronze Age type with expanded terminals. It was found just under the topsoil resting on a burnt deposit.




Waterford 2Excavation of the site revealed a burnt mound and during the excavation another penannular gold bracelet with flat terminals, broken and folded up, was found. This bracelet was of a different type of similar date. Both types have been found together in hoards from Wales and Cornwall, while a number of examples of both types have been found in the Suir estuary, pointing to extensive trade in this area in the Late Bronze Age. Radiocarbon dates from the burnt mound produced determinations of circa 900 AD in both cases.

What is very interesting is the association of the gold bracelets with the burnt mound at Ballymaclode. Such burnt mounds, or Fulachta Fiadh as they are commonly called, are the most widely found site type in Ireland and come to light on the majority of major development schemes. What their exact purpose is unknown. Though they have been suggested to be cooking places, their primary function may well be bathing or producing steam for sweathouses. Some authors have suggested that the function of burnt mounds may be beer production, while other uses have been suggested. Very few finds have been associated with burnt mounds, so the association of these classical Late Bronze Age types with them is very significant, though study shows that it is not the first time that gold artefacts have been found with this ubiquitous site type.




waterford3Gold Bracelet.



Judith Carroll & Co Ltd
Archaeological Consultants
Ballybrack Road 
Dublin 18 

Tel: 01 6705067
Mobile: 087-9968819/ 087-3810933
Email: info@judithcarrollandco.ie
Website: www.judithcarrollandco.ie

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