1991:052 - Margaretstown, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: Margaretstown

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

Author: Geraldine Stout, Chapel Road Julianstown, Co. Meath.

Site type: Slab-lined grave

ITM: E 722025m, N 759321m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.569576, -6.157702

On the 10th March 1991, Mr Pat McKenna, Margaretstown, while digging foundations for a shed, discovered what he initially believed to be a stone-built drain. However when human bones were noticed he contacted the writer to investigate. The site was inspected and a decision was made to record and remove the remains of this slab-lined grave. The work was carried out on Saturday 23rd March. The remains of this slab-lined grave had been exposed at a depth of 0.4m below the sod. It comprised the lower portion of an unaccompanied inhumation enclosed in a pit dug into boulder clay and lined with limestone slabs. This was aligned on an east-west axis and narrowed toward its eastern end. It was 1 .7m in length and at its widest measured 0.4m narrowing to 0.3m. Unfortunately, a trial pit dug some years ago had cut through the upper end of the grave and many of the slabs which capped the grave had been shattered and fallen in on the burial. The only finds were three pieces of unworked flint pebbles and a retouched piece, all found in a disturbed context. South-east of the burial a section of ditch was exposed. This was a steep-sided V-sectioned ditch, 1m deep, containing sterile redeposited clay. It terminated 1.9m out from the south-east section face.

It is quite probable that this is a burial of Early Christian date, possibly 9th to 11th century AD, on the basis of ritual practice, its east-west alignment and lack of finds. It can be compared with similar burials found close to early church sites at Gracedieu, Co. Dublin and Colpe, Co. Meath, by Bord Gáis excavations (DL. Swan, pers. comm., see also Excavations 1988 15-17 and 31-32). Another stone cist grave was discovered in 1922 in the neighbouring townland of Baltrasna during ploughing (H.E. Kilbride Jones 1939, National Museum Report). This important discovery at Margaretstown provided additional evidence for the existence of an Early Christian community in the Milverton area. The main archaeological evidence for this early community is: a holy well traditionally associated with an early Irish saint; a bullaun stone beside the well; the ruins of an early church also associated with St Mobhi and a horizontal mill found in 1848 by George Woods in a water course which runs beside the graveyard (National Museum of Ireland; Royal Irish Academy Catalogue 8/11/1852, No. G13).