1990:090 - DONAGHMORE, Blackcastle Demesne, Meath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Meath Site name: DONAGHMORE, Blackcastle Demesne

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

Author: Helen Roche, Dept. of Archaeology, University College Dublin

Site type: Cist

Period/Dating: Bronze Age (2200 BC-801 BC)

ITM: E 687432m, N 768519m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.659116, -6.677207

The site was brought to the attention of the National Museum of Ireland following ploughing, in the field opposite Donaghmore Round Tower, Navan, Co. Meath. Having identified the discovery as being the capstone of a cist burial a limited excavation was carried out at the behest of the National Museum of Ireland. The site is located on light, fertile, well drained soil above the west bank of the Boyne River, 1.5km north-east of Navan town. So far five cists have been excavated and a sixth uncovered.

Cist 1
Oriented east-west, was well constructed of four large, straight edged stones and covered by a large capstone. The cist measured 1.35m by 0.75m and 0.5m in depth. It contained the remains of the fragile, decayed skeleton of a child. From its position it would appear to have been crouched. The pit into which the cist was built was only slightly larger than the cist, measuring 1.45m by 1m. No grave goods were found.

Cist 2
Oriented east-west, was located only 0.4m west of Cist 1. This was a large and more roughly built cist, measuring 1.3m by 1m and 0.45m in depth. It was constructed of six large, irregularly shaped stones, which were not bedded very deeply into the old ground surface. The capstone was missing, probably removed during previous ploughing or land clearing and no indication of a pit was found. The cist contained the remains of one skeleton, an adult in a crouched position. A poorly preserved pot was found near the skull.

Cist 3
Again oriented east-west, was located 4.5m west of Cist 2. A crudely built cist consisting of a large pit measuring 1.6m by 1m and 0.5m in depth. Although the capstone was in situ the burial had been disturbed, most likely by an animal. The remains of the adult skeleton were disarticulated. Three grave goods were found, a Food Vessel sherd, a worked flint and a polished stone.

Cist 4
This disturbed burial was located 2m west of Cist 3 and appears to be oriented north-south. Only three side stones survived, within which a substantial cremation deposit was found, Immediately outside the area of the edging stone part of a skull was found.

Cist 5
Located 1.75m east of Cist 3, which from the surface seemed to be a Pit Burial, in that it appeared as a dark stain in the ground and had no capstone. However, when excavated it was revealed to be lined with four upright slabs, which did not reach the top of the pit. The remains of a skeleton, that of a child, was found. The bones were very fragile and very few survived.

Cist 6
This was located west of Cist 4. It was sealed by a very large capstone and the surface of a pit was visible. This cist has not been excavated.