- Castletown, Co. Meath, Meath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Meath Site name: Castletown, Co. Meath

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR ME042-035ME042-004 Licence number:


Site type: Graves of indeterminate date


ITM: E 677960m, N 751239m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.505356, -6.824797

In May 1974 a number of skeletons were discovered during bulldozing operations in a sandpit at Castletown, near Trim, Co. Meath.198 Four partly articulated skeletons were found approximately 1.2m below ground level and aligned approximately west/east. A large quantity of disarticulated bone was also found in the vicinity of the burials. The passage of the bulldozer over the area destroyed the upper parts of the bodies in each case. The site was reported to the NMI by Sergeant Lavin of Trim Garda Station and was investigated two days later by Michael Ryan. The human remains from the site were analysed by Professor C.A. Erskine. No grave structures were evident. It appears that the burials were in unlined graves. As mentioned above, the passage of the bulldozer had destroyed the upper parts of all the burials, and Ryan suggests that the upper parts of the skeletons were not lying quite flat in the ground. No grave-goods were found associated with the burials. Three bags of bone were removed from the site and were analysed by Professor Erskine. They appear to represent a minimum of ten individuals (1974:94)—mainly adult males, but some young adults were also identified. According to the landowner, a ringfort may have existed on a hillock 30m west of where the burials were found but it was destroyed at the time of Ryan’s visit.199

Human remains


Bag 1: eighteen fragments of four individuals, three adult male and one eighteen-year-old skeletons. Two right tibiae and one left; right and left femora, two calcanea, left navicular and left lateral cuneiform; left third metatarsal; eighteen-year-old (left calcaneum). Also, fragment of lumbar vertebra, rib and three fragments of fibula. Large number of well-preserved foot bones; except for fragments mentioned, ribs and vertebrae missing.

Bag 2: limb bones of four male individuals of large stature—75–180cm. Three adults and one sixteen to eighteen years of age. Large fragments of femora and smaller fragments of tibia, fibula, humerus, radius and ulna, scapula, clavicle. Many individual foot bones complete. Animal bone present. Large number of smaller fragments of skeleton, but only right petrous temporal of skull present.

Bag 3: large fragments of skeletons of two individuals. One adult of large stature— 180cm+ with massive femur. Second individual sixteen to eighteen years old represented by humerus, first sacral vertebra, head of femur and left ilium. Large number of fragments (3–6cm) of skeleton. Skull: massive mandible in two pieces, all three molars well worn. Fragment of maxilla and other flat bones of skull present.

198. Parish of Rathmoylon, barony of Lower Moyfenrath. SMR ME042-035——. Exact location not marked.
199. The SMR notes an enclosure at ME042-004——. IGR 278026 251216.