1994:215 - John St. / Waterside, Waterford, Waterford

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Waterford Site name: John St. / Waterside, Waterford

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 94E0126

Author: Sarah McCutcheon, Brook Lodge, Bandon, Co. Cork.

Site type: Medieval urban

ITM: E 660836m, N 612096m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.257211, -7.108906

As a result of an application for planning permission to redevelop the site, an archaeological test investigation was carried out. A portion of the western boundary wall of the site is likely to be the extant eastern face of St John's Gate, which was one of the principal routes into the medieval city. Although the actual date of the enclosure of the southern suburb is unclear, it is unlikely to have been "walled with stone until the fifteenth century although there may have been earlier earthen defences prior to that date." (Bradley & Halpin 1992, 124).

To establish the line of the city wall within the site, two strip trenches were dug with the aid of a mechanical excavator at right angles to the proposed line. A substantial wall, interpreted as the city wall, was uncovered, just below ground level in both trenches, on line with the rear walls of the street fronting (Waterside) properties. The wall was generally 1.03m in width and survived to a maximum (below ground) height of 2.06m. The wall stood on a foundation consisting of a single course of rough undressed stones. Above the foundation the wall exhibited no batter. It was generally well faced on both sides, roughly coursed to uncoursed, and built of predominantly shale and slate with some conglomerate, bonded with a sandy mortar, with a rubble mortared core.

To the south of the wall the extra-mural layers consisted of c. 1m of overburden, beneath which was a thick homogenous layer of black, organically-rich silt containing animal bone, shell, wood fragments, clay pipes and a high frequency of horn cores. Pottery recovered suggested a 17th-century date. The layer was over 1m deep and overlay a gritty sterile clay. The layers to the north of the wall below the overburden consisted of estuarine silts which contained no finds of archaeological significance.