1990:086 - 34 Clanbrassil St., Townparks, Dundalk, Louth

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Louth Site name: 34 Clanbrassil St., Townparks, Dundalk

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

Author: Eoin Halpin, Archaeological Development Services Ltd., 10 Belmont Park Raheny, Dublin 5.

Site type: Urban

ITM: E 704629m, N 807611m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.007109, -6.403837

The area outlined for redevelopment, to the rear of No. 34 Clanbrassil St. was, for the most part, taken up with cellars which, due to good planning, were not disturbed in any way. This left an area measuring approximately 4m east-west by 6m north-south which needed investigation prior to construction. The four cuttings which were opened coincided with the lines of the new foundations. These were dug with mechanical digger under archaeological supervision. Three sections of the northern trench were recorded in detail, while the remaining sections were examined for any irregularities. No such irregularities were noted.

The lowest archaeological level recorded, 0.95m below present ground level and consisting of shell, bone and charcoal, represents a significant archaeological horizon and is likely to be an occupation layer or a midden deposit associated with occupation.

The three archaeological layers above are all representative of phases of land reclamation and levelling.

There was no evidence in the deposits that they had been laid down over a long period, indeed the discovery of three layers may simply represent three distinct episodes of dumping.

The foundation trench of the cellar wall of plot No. 33, to the north, was dug through the layers of dumped material and some 0.3m into the underlying occupation/midden layer. The trench was backfilled with a relatively sterile soil mixed with clumps of natural glacial clay. This suggests that the construction of No. 33’s cellars involved excavating through archaeological deposits and into the glacial till below. This does not bode well for the survival of early archaeological stratigraphy in this area.

Gosling (Gosling, P. 1982 A survey and report on the archaeological remains of the town and district 3 parts, limited distribution, Dundalk.), suggests that most of the cellars in the Clanbrassil St. area were built in the late 18th or early 19th centuries. Consequently the layers cut by the cellar trench pre-date this, but how much earlier they are is difficult to determine as no artefacts, datable or otherwise, were recovered. The lowest layer of charcoal and shell is clearly not only the earliest but also the most important; thus in consultation with the developer it was decided that there was sufficient depth available for the foundations, and that this layer need not be disturbed.