1990:109 - Bakehouse Lane 11, Custom House Ward, Waterford, Waterford

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Waterford Site name: Bakehouse Lane 11, Custom House Ward, Waterford

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

Author: Orla M.B, Scully, Strand Street, Tramore, Co. Waterford.

Site type: Pre-Norman city defences

ITM: E 660637m, N 612353m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.259537, -7.111766

The Bakehouse Lane 11 excavation took place in May 1990. A short stretch of the earliest known defence system of Waterford was investigated. The area is currently under development by Sisk Properties Ltd., who are building a shopping centre with associated underground car park. Excavation was carried out in association with construction work and the co-operative approach adopted by the builders, John Sisk & Son Ltd. was very much appreciated.

Exceptionally dry conditions were provided by recently driven contiguous concrete piles in the vicinity. Hence the stratigraphic removal of layers within the earth-cut ditch was vastly facilitated. Adjacent excavations, (Excavations 88, 37-8) had been severely hampered by flooding.

The eastern profile of the ditch was exposed and approximately 6.5m across the ditch was excavated. The western extreme of the counterscarp was beyond the limit of excavation, but judging by the tip lines within the ditch fill, a central point was discernible, and this indicated a hypothetical width of the ditch as 8m east-west.

The 12th-century stone built city wall was evident to the east of the ditch, but only very scant remains of the footing survived in this area. It followed the same trajectory as the substantial remains of the same wall previously excavated, (Excavations 88, 37). The associated berm (or walkway), to the west – or outside – the wall was apparent. The base of the ditch was I .65m below the level of the berm.

Pottery was scarce but fortunately timber beams recovered from basal layers in the ditch fill should provide adequate dates for the period in which the ditch was functional. Stratigraphic information in association with what pottery was recovered should also more accurately date the construction of the later city wall. Dendrochronological results are presently awaited from Queen’s University, Belfast. The excavation will appear in a corpus of information on Waterford.