1998:683 - ARKLOW BYPASS, Wicklow

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Wicklow Site name: ARKLOW BYPASS

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 97E0083

Author: Breandán Ó Riordáin, Burgage More, Blessington, Co. Wicklow, for Valerie J Keeley Ltd.

Site type: Various

ITM: E 724942m, N 676256m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.822771, -6.146166

Archaeological monitoring of topsoil-stripping on the route of the Arklow Bypass in former tillage fields north of Arklow resulted in the discovery of three sites.

Site 1, N176223A

small area of dark, charcoal-like material that lay 0.23m below the original surface of the ground in sandy, red-brown soil. No other material was associated with this deposit.

Site 2, N176155

This consisted of a deposit of charcoal associated with a scatter of cremated bone. It was in a layer of sandy, brown and reddish brown soil and appeared to have been partially protected by three relatively small field stones. The main deposit measures 0.5m north-south by 0.44m and is a maximum of 0.2m deep. It was apparent that this material, which originally lay c. 0.3m below the original ground surface, has suffered interference as a result of soil-stripping machines moving over the site as some of the charcoal and cremated bone had been spread northwards over a distance of some 4.5m.

Site 3, N176075

This was initially identified as an area of light grey soil within which were sherds of decorated pottery. Cleaning showed that there were three separate pits present, as well as a larger, linear spread.Pit A (diameter 0.9m, maximum depth 0.3m) contained a circular deposit of black clay and numerous sherds of pottery, charcoal and a fragment of bone. Six large stones were set around the north-eastern edge of the pit.Pit B (0.9m north-south by 1m, depth 0.35m) contained numerous sherds of pottery, charcoal and some flints.Pit C (diameter 0.7m, depth 0.4m) contained sherds of pottery, charcoal and flint, as well as fragments of burnt bone in the upper levels. At a lower level sherds of pottery and charcoal were found but no flint fragments. Five large stones were set around the edge of this feature.

Pit D (diameter 0.48m, depth 0.2m) had a matrix of mid-brown/yellow, redeposited sand containing two fragments of flint and occasional fragments of charcoal. A suggestion has been made that this may have been dug to hold a form of marker by which to position the other three pits.In excess of fifty sherds of pottery and over thirty flakes of flint, half of which were worked, were found in Pits A-C. Examination of the deposits in the pits suggests that there were two separate deposits in each pit. It was clear from the position of the pottery fragments that the vessels had been broken in antiquity; the potsherds are identifiable as being of Beaker and food vessel type. As there was no evidence to suggest the former presence of an associated earthwork the site may be regarded as a flat cemetery.