A Coastal Community. Excavations of a Bronze Age Village in Northern Ireland
Corrstown in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, is a highly important Bronze Age site. This came to light during excavations carried out by Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in 2002-2003, the results of which are detailed here. A total of 74 Middle Bronze Age roundhouse platforms was identified and organised into pairs or short rows, the majority of which appeared to be contemporary.
The Corrstown village represents a site type hitherto unknown in Britain and Ireland, where the standard settlement pattern consists of roundhouses occurring in relative isolation or in small conglomerations. A two-tier network of roads and pathways also serviced the village: one large cobbled roadway and a second probable roadway (perhaps left un-surfaced) were identified along with a multitude of smaller paths leading from the entrances of the houses onto the roadways. The large cobbled road extended beyond the village perimeter, indicating connectivity with the wider landscape. The artefact assemblage from the site was dominated by domestic pottery (over 9,000 sherds) and lithics over 165,000 pieces). A small assemblage of stone axes and moulds was also retrieved. Radiocarbon analysis indicated that the village had three phases, an initial growth phase (commencing after c.1550 BC), followed by a considerable occupation phase (lasting up to 200 years) and a decline phase (commencing c.1150 BC). Early medieval occupation was also observed at Corrstown and the results are included as an appendix. Another Bronze Age settlement site, also excavated by Archaeological Consultancy Services, is also included as an appendix.
It is hoped that this volume represents a beginning of the study of the Corrstown village, a site of national and international significance that urges archaeologists to reconfigure the settlement structure and associated social patterns of the Bronze Age.