Abbeyland and Prioryland, Duleek
An excavation was carried out between 23 June and 18 July 2008 in the townlands of Abbeyland and Prioryland, Duleek, Co. Meath, in advance of the Meath bundled wastewater collection system rising main. The site was identified beside the eastern side of the R152 road, in a construction wayleave extending south-east from Duleek village, across the River Nanny, towards the wastewater treatment plant. Monitoring by Richard Clutterbuck of CRDS (see No. 952 above, 07E0927) identified two archaeologically significant areas: Area 1 (Prioryland, 305132 268191) and Area 2 (Abbeyland, 305061 268384).
Area 1 was exposed at the southern end of the development wayleave. A single cutting was opened with maximum dimensions of 39m north-west-south-east by 14m. Within this cutting a stone surface was exposed covering an area with maximum dimensions of c. 18m by 9m and with a depth of less than 0.2m. The surface was bounded by a linear ditch and bank to the north which extended beyond the southern and western limit of excavation. The surface was assumed to represent the remains of either a road or a yard surface, possibly of late medieval origin, but in continued use in modified form into the post-medieval period.
Area 2 was located on a small area of ground enclosed by the road to the west, the River Nanny to the south-east and a tributary of the river to the north-east; the area was located immediately north-east of Prioryland Bridge, a 16th-century bridge (ME027–020). The excavation area measured 35m north–south by 12m. A hearth of possible late medieval date, a series of linear gullies, an extensive metalled surface and a post-medieval field boundary wall were exposed within this area. The metalled surface may be part of an earlier road which predates the adjacent modern road.
The finds recovered from the excavation included 360 sherds of pottery ranging in date from late medieval to 19th century, twelve coins requiring conservation before they can be identified, 138 metal objects, ten worked lithics, including four possible stone tools, an embossed clay-pipe bowl, four glass fragments and a single fragment of worked wood.
Brendan Fagan, for Cultural Resource Development Services Ltd, Unit 4, Dundrum Business Park, Dundrum, Dublin 14.
954. Commons, Lonford Road, Duleek
The study area comprised three pasture fields, encompassing c. 12 acres. It was located just west-north-west of Duleek village and abutted the vallum of ecclesiastical enclosure ME027–038019, which is still visible in the village street layout. The work followed a geophysical survey (08R279) which revealed extensive remains in the southern portion of the eastern field, adjacent to the ecclesiastical enclosure. The testing comprised 48 trenches of between 15m and 43m long and 2m wide.
In the southern portion of the eastern field, five of the 48 trenches were targeted to test the geophysical anomalies. These trenches confirmed the survey and revealed the presence of densely concentrated features of medieval and probable Early Christian date. Remains included ditches forming substantial enclosures appended to the ecclesiastical enclosure, post-holes, stake-holes, pits and roughly cobbled tempered work surfaces. One sherd of medieval pottery, a worked bone point and large quantities of butchered animal bone were retrieved from the ditches. Elsewhere the test-trenches were mostly devoid of archaeological remains. The only additional features were found in two trenches along the southern side of the south-western field. These comprised two ditches, two post-holes and an area of scorching. One piece of pottery tentatively identified as prehistoric was recovered from one of the post-holes.
Ros Ó Maoldúin, ADS Ltd, 110 Amiens Street, Dublin 1.
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