Monday, March 31, 2014

Open archaeobotanical datasets from Cork (Ballynacarriga 3, Caherdrinny 3 and Gortore 1)

Lately, I have challenged myself to make re-usable datasets available through online repositories. These are currently being uploaded using a CC-BY licence, and anyone can re-use them, for whatever purpose, as long as they attribute the source. 

So far, datasets from the following sites in Cork have been uploaded:
The excavation report for Ballynacarriga 3 indicates that this was a multi-period site, with an Early Neolithic hearth, Late Neolithic occupation/activity, Beaker pottery, Early Bronze Age ring ditches and burials, as well as limited evidence for unspecified Iron Age activity. The plant remains report from Ballynacarriga 3 (grey literature format) outlines that the Early Neolithic hearth was associated with the remains of emmer wheat (grains and chaff, suggesting cereal processing), while a small amount of barley was recovered from samples associated with the Late Neolithic activity. Slightly later plant material (from the Early Bronze Age burials and ring ditches) included barley grains and quite a large amount of weed seeds. A small quantity of barley grains was found associated with the Iron Age area of activity.

Potential for re-use for these datasets for research into charred plant material found in prehistoric Ireland (or in a wider area) in general. However, there are potential difficulties in re-using the dataset as it has been saved here, as all the periods of activity at the site are included in this one dataset. Separating the results from plant identifications into an individual .csv file for each separate phase of activity is an obvious next step, and something to add to the "to do" list.

The excavation report from Caherdrinny 3 outlines the details of excavation of another multi-period site, with an Early Neolithic rectangular house and an extensive area of activity with radiocarbon dating evidence to suggest that there was also Mesolithic, Early Bronze Age, Iron Age, early and late medieval occupation at the site.

The plant remains report for Caherdrinny 3 details the recovery and analysis of the plant remains assemblage. A small quantity of plant remains, including hazelnut shell fragments, some fruit seeds and some indeterminate cereal grains were found in deposits associated with the Early Neolithic house. A much wider variety of plant material was found in the area surrounding the house, including many identifiable cereal types, as well as weeds and legumes. The richest sample was from a kiln deposit, where more than 600 seeds were found; a n Early Bronze Age radiocarbon date was obtained from barley grains found in this deposit. Once again, the results in this dataset would be easier for others to use if they were split into relevant time periods (where possible).

The excavation report from Gortore 1 describes a site where an Early Neolithic rectangular house was found, as well as an isolated Bronze Age pit.

The plant remains report from Gortore 1 documents the recovery of wheat (in particular emmer wheat), barley and crab apple.

I have also mentioned links to the grey literature files in earlier blog posts: