Friday, 6 March 2015

Co. Antrim: Inventory Part 1

- Unfortunately, due to the heavy picture-content of these pages, this blog might not be suited to mobile browsing
- Throughout this blog, GE stands for Google Earth and SMR for Site and Monument Records held by the DOENI. 
Click to enlarge all pictures in this post. Pictures are best viewed in darker conditions (details and faint features will not be visible in GE while in a sunny room for instance). Also bear in mind that the images here are copies and extractions from GE, a process which already invariably causes a loss in definition. 
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Welcome back once again!

This post presents the first part of the Co. Antrim inventory where I will begin the task of listing all the newly discovered sites located using Google Earth imagery (and sometimes newly identified features at already recorded sites).

Part 1 only covers a small area and 12 new sites but it's a start - I reckon it will take about 7 parts to publish what I have for Co. Antrim alone...

Co. Antrim: Inventory Part 1 - Location of sites presented in this post.

ANT1 - Prehistoric Complex;
Lat: 54°42'50.60"N, Long: 6° 1'38.79"W (J 27173 86901); Td: Ballypalady;
Status: unrecorded.

Multi-period ritual and/or funerary complex with at least 6 features readily identifiable.

This site has already been detailed in a previous post; click HERE for further information. 

ANT2 - Geographically not part of this section of the inventory - will be included accordingly later on...

ANT3 - Fortifications;
Lat: 54°42'9.50"N, Long: 6° 3'1.54"W (J 25727 85589); Td: Ballymartin;
Status: unrecorded.

Several identifiable features within a loop of the Ballymartin River - this site has also been detailed in a previous post, click HERE for further information. 

ANT4 - Multivallate Enclosure (Rath?);
Lat: 54°42'20.25"N , Long: 6° 2'55.56"W (J 25825 85925); Td: Ballymartin;
Status: unrecorded.

Cropmark of levelled multivallate enclosure (presumably rath) - this site has also been detailed in a previous post, click HERE for further information.

Also visible on 31/12/2010 GE layer. 

ANT5 - Circular feature (Cairn?);
Lat: 54°42'32.72"N, Long: 6° 1'46.63"W (J 27048 86345); Td: Grange of Ballyrobert;
Status: unrecorded.

About 500m SSW from prehistoric complex ANT1:

circular and stony spread of material, c.20m in diameter. Possible cairn (or clearance cairn).

ANT6 - Sub-circular enclosure;
Lat: 54°40'40.80"N, Long: 6° 1'58.20"W (J 26938 82879); Td: Craigarogan;
Status: unrecorded.

On a relatively elevated position (elev. 159m) but with ground rising from E to SW:

well-defined sub-circular enclosure with max. dimensions c.34x31m (long axis SE-NW).

Note: if prehistoric in origin rather than early medieval, it should be noted that from the enclosure, Lyles Hill (multi-period hilltop site, c.2km distant) dominates the view to the W and its summit cairn is found exactly 270° due W.

ANT7 - Oval Enclosure w/ internal and external features;
Lat: 54°40'12.62"N, Long: 6° 2'13.92"W (J 26680 81999); Td: Kilgreel;
Status: unrecorded.

On elevated ground (elev. 210m) and to the NNW of Bog Hill:

well-defined large oval enclosure reaching c.84m in length (long axis N-S) and c.46m wide.

Two features are visible in the interior:
- on GE's 2010 layer: oval enclosure c.21x16m at N.
- on GE's 2008 layer: circular enclosure c.12m in diameter at S.

In the same field, several features are also found outside of the main enclosure (with the last two best seen on GE's 2008 layer):

a. c.50m to NE of main enclosure: circular feature c.12m in diameter.
b. c.60m to SE of main enclosure: possible circular feature c.14m in diameter.
c. c.15m to SE of above: possible circular feature c.11m in diameter. 

ANT8 - Embanked Enclosure;
Lat: 54°40'14.54"N, Long: 6° 1'24.41"W (J 27566 82084); Td: Craigarogan;
Status: unrecorded.

On elevated position (elev. 203m) with wide views to N and E:

remains of embanked enclosure whose plan is difficult to ascertain (view at SW-S is obstructed). It is defined by two curving wide banks (over 10m wide) with a distinct gap at NNE that may have been an original feature (unrelated to farming tracks running below). There are slight traces of an internal ditch at NW and NE perhaps delineating the internal space. The maximum dimensions of the site are c.55m E-W and at least as much N-S.

ANT9 - Possible Embanked Enclosure;
Lat: 54°39'58.98"N, Long: 6° 0'44.52"W (J 28294 81623); Td: Grange of Mallusk;
Status: unrecorded.

On an elevated position once again (elev. 180m) with wide views to N and E:

remains of possible embanked enclosure defined by wide bank (c.8m in width) and external ditch. Although the view is obstructed at W, it appears to have been circular with an external diameter of c.28m. There are traces visible in the interior of the enclosure, including two conspicuous arcs, but the available imagery does not allow for further identification.

Notes: This wide circular feature is also visible to a lesser degree on GE's 2009 layer. Also, there are hints of another circular feature, c.12m in diameter, directly outside the ditch of the main enclosure to the E (very faint; better seen on GE's 2010 layer and during live navigation).

ANT10smr - Oval Enclosure w/ internal feature;
Lat: 54°38'32.33"N, Long: 6° 9'37.88"W (J 18806 78683); Td: Straidhavern;
Status: recorded as ANT055:197 but misplaced?

The SMR files for ANT055:197 are very succinct only referring to a note from 1982 stating:
"Observed from the air by Dr. Chart, in the angle of a level field. There are no visible remains on the ground."

The present feature is not located in the angle of the field as given by the SMR but rather c.60m further to SSE. It is a very well-defined oval enclosure and it is highly likely that this site represents what the original observer reported. The enclosure is oriented N-S and is c.37x27m externally. The feature visible in the interior appears to be either circular and c.15m in diameter (from GE's 2012 layer) or oval and c.18x14m (from GE's 2003). 

ANT11 - Enclosure (Rath?); 
Lat: 54°38'40.06"N, Long: 6°10'2.56"W (J 18358 78911); Td: Tully;
Status: unrecorded.

Situated about 75m WNW from site of enclosure ANT055:192, and apparently distinct from it since the information from the SMR files imply that this other enclosure was over the former field boundary visible on GE: 
"Observed from the air by Dr. Chart. Field boundaries have since been removed & the ground has probably been improved. There is no visible sign of an antiquity."

The presently unrecorded enclosure is only visible on one of the five GE layers for this area. It is defined by the traces of a circular ditch, c.42m in diameter, and is likely to represent a levelled rath. 


The last site I want to release today is a bit of a stretch but I thought I should highlight this oddity nonetheless...

It is situated on Browndod Hill, an area of extensive prehistoric activity where numerous sites are recorded: enclosures, standing stones, field systems, hut foundations and no less than four megalithic tombs, two of which confirmed court tombs. Unfortunately, the GE definition for this area is quite poor, which prevents most of these sites to be identifiable. 

ANT12 - Possible Court Tomb?; 
Lat: 54°45'51.74"N, Long: 6° 8'1.06"W (J 20181 92314); Td: Browndod;
Status: unrecorded.

This new potential site is located in the same field as court tomb ANT044:035, whose remains include part of a deep horse-shoe or U-shaped court and possible traces of a long rectangular cairn. On Google Earth, the best view of it is on the 2008 layer where the full buried plan of the site is revealed, standing out quite well against the surrounding field (note the trampling damage encroaching onto the back of the cairn):     

Nothing else is visible in this field on all GE layers but one. Indeed, using the oldest GE layer (2001), what looks like the outline of a similar but buried monument, set parallel to the aforementioned court tomb appears into view only c.18m to NW (see image below). I doubt that I would have noticed this potential new feature if not for its resemblance to the recorded monument nearby. This new (and now disappeared) site seems to have shared the same size and plan as its neighbour, with a similar U-shaped court, in effect forming a pair of parallel and morphologically-related court tombs. 

Optical illusion or?


Until later for the Co. Antrim: Inventory Part 2! 

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