1987:38 - 'Piperstown', Piperstown, Louth

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Louth Site name: 'Piperstown', Piperstown

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

Author: Terry Barry, Dept. of Medieval History, Trinity College, Dublin

Site type: Possible deserted village

ITM: E 708528m, N 782548m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.781183, -6.353259

This extensive earthwork covers an area of over seven acres and consists of four subrectangular platforms and a complex of banks and scarps, some of which form irregular enclosures. There are also the remains of a sunken way, and a small motte to the east of what has been identified as the only known deserted medieval village in County Louth (Buckley, V.M. (ed.), Archaeological Inventory of County Louth (Dublin, 1986) 90). This research excavation, of 4 weeks' duration during the summer of 1987, was funded through the R.L.A. Scheme. It was undertaken in order to establish both the chronology and the socio-economic basis for this settlement site.

Two areas were investigated-the smaller of the two was a section through a possible field boundary of clay, with fosses on either side, which ran in a north-south direction. It dated from the early 18th century. The larger area revealed the very tenuous remains of a mud-walled structure with an east-west long axis of over 8m. A possible entrance-way (1 3m wide) was found in the south wall of the structure. Only the eastern gable wall was located, marked by an extensive stone collapse. There were no firm indications of the original floor level of the structure, nor of any roofing material although it was most probably thatched. Slight traces of burning were found some 2.6m north-west of the entrance-way and two north-south drainage gullies were also found in the interior of the building. A large, dry-stone flagged drain was also excavated in the centre of the building. It ran in an east-west direction for some 8m out under the eastern gable wall.

Altogether 418 artefacts were recovered; most of them were sherds of brown and black ware pottery of the early 18th century, although 29 sherds of locally-made medieval pottery were also found. Other finds included many glass bottle fragments, glass rosary beads, two wine glass balusters, two worn knives, an iron buckle, a clay pipe bowl and several stems, and several badly preserved fragments of animal bone.