2004:1245 - TESTING AREA 2, GRANGE, Meath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Meath Site name: TESTING AREA 2, GRANGE

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E0925

Author: Jo Ronayne, Irish Archaeological Consultancy Ltd, 8 Dungar Terrace, Dœn Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Site type: Various

ITM: E 681818m, N 769276m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.666824, -6.761918

An assessment was carried out in advance of the planned M3 Clonee-North of Kells PPP scheme, Co. Meath, on the Navan-Kells and N52 Kells bypass (Contract 4) between July and October 2004. This section of the scheme is c. 11km long from the townland of Ardbraccan, north of Navan, to the townland of Cakestown Glebe, north of Kells. The EIS recommended testing any known or possible sites identified and Meath County Council further proposed to test the whole of the remainder of the route. For the purposes of testing, this section was divided into fourteen testing areas. The assessment methodology generally consisted of mechanically excavating 2m-wide test-trenches along the centre-line and perpendicular to the centre-line to the edge of the land-take every 20m. The work was carried out on behalf of Meath County Council, the National Roads Design Office and the National Roads Authority.

Testing Area 2 is located in the townland of Grange, between Chainage 60450 and 62500, and 18,456m2 of the total 140,641m2 within this area was test-trenched, providing a testing coverage of 13%. Five areas of archaeological potential were identified, designated Grange 1-5.

Grange 1 consisted of a spread of small stones 0.1-0.2m in diameter. The feature was orientated north-east/south-west and was semicircular in shape. The stones were well sorted and may be a metalled surface or a path of some kind. The date of this feature is unclear, as no artefacts were found.

Grange 2 was a pit containing burnt bone and may be associated with features identified to the southeast, as they also contain burnt bone. It is not known if the burnt bone is human or animal (Grange 3A, 3B and 3D).

Grange 3 consisted of four groups of features. The first consisted of five possible pits and one spread. Two of the pits may be modern, as they only contained stones. One of the pits contained a small amount of burnt bone; it is not known if this is human or animal. These features did not form any identifiable site type and their date is unclear. A possible bowl furnace was identified 20m to the north-west of these features.

Another cluster consisted of two irregular-shaped pits and a possible post-hole. One of the pits contained burnt bone, charcoal and an orange-red burnt clay fill. It was possibly used for a cremation, although it is not known if the bone was animal or human.

Two further pits identified 60m away contained black charcoal fill and a moderate amount of burnt bone. The bone has not been identified as animal or human and no datable artefacts were found in these pits. It can only be suggested that these features are possible cremation pits.

Eight features designated Grange 4 consisted of a line of possible post-holes/pits with two pits/postholes on either side and a small spread of possible burnt material at the south-west end. One of the postholes contained prehistoric pottery sherds and one piece of flint debitage. The pottery and post-holes suggest that this may have been a domestic area and that it is prehistoric in date. The line of pits/postholes was orientated north-east/south-west. In addition, two possible post-holes were identified in their vicinity. No datable artefacts were found associated with these features.

Grange 5 consisted of a large pit, with a possible post-hole or charcoal-enriched area within it. A smaller post-hole was located nearby. Large amounts of charcoal were present in these features. No datable artefacts were recovered.