2004:1190 - BOYERSTOWN, Meath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Meath Site name: BOYERSTOWN

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E0580

Author: Neil Fairburn, Cocyn Uchaf, Moelfre, Anglesey, Wales LL72 8LL, for ACS Ltd.

Site type: Various

ITM: E 684133m, N 765420m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.631812, -6.727948

Testing was carried out along Testing Area 7 of the Navan bypass section (Contract 3) of the planned M3 Clonee-North of Kells road scheme, Co. Meath, for N3 Meath Consult on behalf of Meath County Council and the National Roads Authority. The testing methodology generally consisted of mechanically excavating 2m-wide trenches along the centre-line and perpendicular to the centre-line to the edge of the land-take every 20m. Six sites in the form of three burnt mounds, a possible medieval structure, a small group of pits and a possible enclosure, designated Boyerstown 1-5 and Boyerstown 8, were uncovered.

The possible medieval structure, Boyerstown 1, was identified as possible rectangular wall foundations extending over an area c. 10m by 10m. A number of sherds of medieval pottery were recovered from the structure.

The burnt mound at Boyerstown 2 was a small example c. 8m in diameter, 0.3m in depth, with two small pits, three spreads of burnt material and a ditch. The burnt mound at Boyerstown 5 was c. 8m in diameter and 0.3m in depth. At Boyerstown 8, the site consisted of another small burnt mound, c. 6m in diameter and 0.3m deep, with a possible trough, circular pit, four spreads of burnt stone and a possible paleo-channel.

Boyerstown 4 consisted of a large subcircular pit, 2m in diameter, a linear feature, 0.75m wide and 0.3m deep, running in an east-west direction for c. 5m, and two pits. All of the features contained a mixed fill of burnt stone. Boyerstown 3 appears to be a series of linked enclosures spread across an area 150m by 250m.

The testing work exposed a large number of ditches in the trenches, along with associated pits, post-holes and possible structural features. It is difficult to interpret the function and pattern of the ditches from the partial remains exposed in testing. The majority of ditches were aligned northwest/south-east or north-east/south-west. A number appeared to be parallel and spaced c. 20m apart. A number of the ditches appear to be linked and some may form rectangular enclosures. However, this conjecture cannot be confirmed without stripping the whole site.

No pottery was recovered from anywhere on the site. A large number of the features contained animal bone, but not in any significant quantity. A ripple-flaked tip of a flint plano-convex knife was recovered from the spoil heap in the vicinity of a possible circular structure. The style of this object suggests a Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age date for its manufacture. Two other pieces of flint were found on the site: a retouched flake and a struck piece of a pebble. The only other notable find was an intact rotary quernstone buried in a ditch terminus on the edge of the site in the north-east. The typology of the quernstone suggests a possible date from the Late Iron Age through to the Early Christian period. This would suggest that the site could have had occupation spanning the Late Neolithic and the Early Christian period, a range of 3500 years.