1985:08 - 50-56 Scotch Street, Armagh, Armagh

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Armagh Site name: 50-56 Scotch Street, Armagh

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

Author: J.A. McDowell, for the DOE

Site type: Early Christian Cemetery and Medieval/Post -Medieval Settlement

ITM: E 687433m, N 854401m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.430627, -6.652466

Four adjacent properties in Scotch Street, Armagh, became available for excavation during 1984, the total area being 20 X 24m. The excavation was funded by the Historic Monuments and Buildings Branch of the DOE.

The site, know in documentary sources as na Ferta, was used as a cemetery during the Early Christian period, and 37 graves were found. Bone preservation was extremely poor and in many cases no bone survived at all. The burials are part of the cemetery found on the adjacent site, 46-48 Scotch Street, in 1979. Wood from a coffin in one of the graves from 48 Scotch Street gave radiocarbon dates in the 6th century, and the graves on the present site are probably of similar date. The site did not survive as a cemetery throughout the Early Christian period and seems to have become an industrial area by the 8-9th centuries. Waste products were found from the working of amber, glass, lignite, and antler.

Many large rubbish pits of medieval date were excavated, but the most important feature of medieval date was the foundation course of a large stone building 8 X 9 m +. This was probably part of the Augustinian nunnery known to have stood in this area in the medieval period. In places the ruined foundations had been used as footings for post-medieval structures. Other disturbances associated with these later phases had destroyed most of the stratigraphic relationships between the buildings and other features and layers on the site.

The bulk of the post-medieval activity belonged to the 18th century and later, though some 17th-century material was also uncovered. The most interesting assemblages of this phase came from an 18th -century stone-lined well. The group included at least 8 pots, several, including an imported jug, virtually complete. A pewter tankard also came from the well. A wide range of wooden and leather objects were preserved, including shoes and wooden buckets.