In 2014 Rubicon Heritage were commissioned by Cork County Council to undertake an audit of heritage assets owned by the County Council. The audit was intended to assess a wide variety of these properties by providing an overall background/description of the selected sites and identifying the main heritage characteristics and status/functionality of each. We have compiled a series of blogs based on the information gathered during the audit to highlight a number of the selected sites and the amazing archaeology in County Cork. This week we look at Drombeg Stone Circle.
Drombeg Stone Circle is situated 3km east of the village of Glandore on an unnamed road off the R597. The site is well signposted and well-marked, with adequate parking facilities and numerous information boards. It is a ‘Cork-Kerry type’ stone circle, flanked by a pair of 1.8m high axial portal stones which provide a south-west axis, and orientate the monument in the direction of the setting sun during the midwinter solstice.
The stone circle is situated in pasture on a natural rock terrace on the southern slope of a low hill. The arrangement measures 9m internally along the main northeast-southwest axis. The site was excavated in 1957, with a nearby Fulacht Fiadh and hut site 40m to the west later being excavated in 1958. The excavation revealed that the Stone Circle once comprised 17 standing stones - two missing and one fallen.
The stones reduce in height from the portals to the axial stone. On the upper surface of the largest stone in the circle are two shallow cup-marks, one of which is surrounded by an oval carving. The 1957 excavation revealed five pits within the circle, sealed beneath a compacted gravel floor - one pit contained a deposit of cremated human bone, fragments of shale and numerous sherds of coarse fabric pot. Charcoal from the burial yielded a C14 determination of AD 600 ± 120 (D-62) which would be very recent for this type of monument - the date was described as 'clearly anomalous' by O Nualláin in his 1984 work. Other finds from circle included seven pieces of flint and a small convex scraper.
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