Pre-development testing was carried out along the line of a proposed sewerage pipeline at Jamestown, Co. Leitrim, on 8–11 January 2007. Jamestown was founded as a Plantation town in 1622. A substantial portion of the North Gate and fragments of the town wall survive. Testing comprised the excavation of five trenches along Main Street. The trenches were c. 4m long and 1m wide.
Testing revealed road construction layers and redeposits to an average depth of 0.35m. This modern material overlay a slightly organic silt deposit, which contained inclusions typical of what one might expect to find in an urban context (oyster shells, flecks of charcoal and pieces of brick, mortar and slag). Finds included occasional animal bone, post-medieval potsherds, clay-pipe stems and glass fragments, firmly dating the deposit to the 17th/18th century. At the south end of the town the silt deposit overlay a fine cobbled surface, interpreted as part of a post-medieval road. This surface was not present in the other trenches and its existence in the southern part of the town only may be explained by the fact that the ground is likely to have been much wetter in this area on account of its proximity to the River Shannon and its location on the lower slope of a prominent ridge, which runs north–south in the field immediately to the west of the modern road. A trench was subsequently opened on the opposite side of the road to determine the possible extent of the cobbled surface. There was no trace of the surface but there was evidence that the ground had been built up considerably in the post-medieval period. This made ground incorporated a rough stone surface, which may have served as a drainage channel running alongside the old cobbled road. A pit, 1.3m in diameter and 0.6m deep, was uncovered during subsequent monitoring of pipeline excavations on Main Street. Finds from the pit included several pieces of worked wood and a leather shoe, all in a good state of preservation. Some of the wood was tentatively identified as possible boat timbers.
Dominic Delany, Dominic Delany & Associates, Unit 3, Howley Court, Oranmore, Co. Galway.
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