1990:115 - Petitswood, Westmeath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Westmeath Site name: Petitswood

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 19:60 Licence number:

Author: Valerie J. Keeley, 29/30 Duke Street, Athy, Co. Kildare.

Site type: Ringfort

ITM: E 645741m, N 753722m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.531462, -7.310062

The site is marked as a circular feature on the first edition relevant OS. map. Prior to excavation no topographical indications to suggest a monument were observed. A substantial area was investigated within the land requirement zone of the route, in that region indicated by the cartographic evidence. No trace of a ringfort was detected. The only feature uncovered was a linear ditch which was followed for some 80m. It measured l.5m in depth and 2.6m in width. The fill consisted of brown clay with inclusion of animal bone and charcoal. A barbed and tanged arrowhead was recovered from the fill. The sides and base of the feature were hued with snail shells indicating that the ditch was open for some time. It is suggested that the ditch represents an old land boundary. This is substantiated by field evidence as the feature may be observed on the basis of variation in vegetation and a slight depression extending across the field. Cartographic evidence also concurs. From discussion with the previous manager of the Midland Health Board, who own the land, major landscaping work was conducted in the area during the 1950s. It is therefore probable that backfilling of the ditch took place at this time. An intensive watching brief has been recommended during motorway construction.