Possible fulacht fiadh
An assessment, including testing, was carried out at Crossakeel, Kells, in advance of the construction of a housing development. A total of 545 linear metres of test-trenches were excavated.
A small pit was noted in Trench 1. It was roughly circular in shape, and measured 0.47m east–west by 0.5m. It contained one fill, dark-brown silt. The lower 0.05m of this fill contained moderately occurring flecks of charcoal, apparently heat-affected stones, and black silt. The cut of the pit was 0.31m deep. It had a flat base, with steep sides on the north-east and south-east; it had gently sloping sides on the north-west. No further archaeological material was observed in the vicinity of the pit, or elsewhere in the trench.
Trench 20 was excavated to investigate a geophysical anomaly. It contained 0.1m of sod over 0.45m of mid-brown silt topsoil. At 0.5m below the surface, there was a curvilinear area which measured 1.79m east–west by 0.65m. The upper fill consisted of 80% decayed stone, with mid-brown silt containing some charcoal flecks in the interstices. This fill was 0.15m deep. Beneath this was another fill, similar, but with a 20% matrix of dark-grey and black silt. The former owner of the field reported that there is an area in the northern part of this field which, when the field had been ploughed in the past, showed up blacker than the field in general. It is likely therefore that there is a fulacht fiadh site north of the proposed development site, in the portion of the field retained by the farmer. The field slopes eastwards from its western edge, and there is a stream along the western boundary. This is a typical location for monuments of this type.
No further material of an archaeological nature was disclosed by the testing.
Carmel Duffy, Umberstown Great, Summerhill, Co. Meath.
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