1998:542 - BALLICKNAHEE, Offaly

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Offaly Site name: BALLICKNAHEE

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 98E0286

Author: Donald Murphy, Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd, 15 Trinity Street, Drogheda, Co. Louth.

Site type: Cemetery

ITM: E 628916m, N 734754m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.362193, -7.565582

Following an initial site inspection a limited rescue excavation was carried out in Ballicknahee townland near Clara, Co. Offaly, following the discovery of several burials during gravel extraction from an esker ridge. The excavation took place to allow the sides of the quarry to be graded back and thereby stabilise the surrounding ground to protect further burials from collapsing into the quarry. There had been no previous indication of burials on the site.

An area surrounding the top of the quarry was chosen for excavation. The remains of at least seventeen individuals were recovered, most of which had been disturbed by the machine during the extraction of the gravel from the esker ridge. All of the remains were recovered at a depth of c. 0.4m below modern ground level; however, only one of the burials (Burial 2) was undisturbed. This was orientated north-east to south-west and was placed in a shallow, simple grave cut.

Of the seventeen individuals recovered, thirteen were adults and four were juveniles. Only seven of the individuals could be sexed, five of which were male and two female. The complete female burial (Burial 2) was 40-55 years at time of death. There was also at least one young adult aged 18-21 years and a juvenile aged 14-16 years among the disarticulated remains.

No finds were recovered that would give any indication of date, and it was recommended that the site be entered in the Register of Historic Monuments as there was a high potential for further burials being uncovered. All of the burials appear to have been interred in simple pits and consisted entirely of extended inhumations.