1999:464 - AGHABOE ABBEY, AGHABOE, Laois

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Laois Site name: AGHABOE ABBEY, AGHABOE

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 22:19 Licence number: 99E0592

Author: Dominic Delany, 31 Ashbrook, Oranmore, Co. Galway.

Site type: Archaeological complex

ITM: E 651097m, N 656151m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.654145, -7.244788

Monitoring of excavations was undertaken before a proposed development at Aghaboe Abbey, from 13 to 15 October 1999. The development comprised the provision of toilet facilities in the existing carpark and the installation of a floodlighting system in the grounds of the Dominican friary. The carpark site was tested by the writer in 1994 (Excavations 1994, 141), and part of the Dominican friary was excavated by Anthony Candon before a conservation project in 1986 (Excavations 1986, 22).

Excavations in the carpark related to the site of the proposed toilets, septic tank, percolation area and part of the ESB cable trench, which will extend from the toilet building to the church grounds. This area was stripped of topsoil and gravelled when the carpark was developed in 1994. The gravel generally overlay a yellowish-brown, clayey sand subsoil, 0.1m thick, and this overlay a natural, light brown, clayey sand. Some fragments of human bone were found in the disturbed subsoil close to the carpark entrance. The cable trench, 0.2m wide and 0.2m deep, inside the church grounds, was manually excavated. The first section extended along the base of the enclosing boundary wall, and the topsoil consisted of a dark greyish-brown, sandy clay with moderate inclusions of stone, mortar, modern pottery sherds and glass fragments. Occasional fragments of animal and human bone were also found. The most notable find from the topsoil was a late medieval chamfered limestone jamb (0.4m x 0.17m x 0.14m). A disturbed, yellowish-brown, clayey sand subsoil was occasionally encountered at a depth of 0.25m.

The trench at the base of the boundary wall terminated at a point directly opposite the south-west corner of the church. From here the trench was taken across the gravelled area outside the west gable of the church, through the west doorway and, finally, across the gravelled interior of the church. All of this area had been archaeologically excavated and backfilled during the 1984-6 conservation project. A fragment of a rebated limestone jamb (0.23m x 0.21m x 0.1m) represented the only find of archaeological interest from the rubble fill.