NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Offaly Site name: MONETTIA BOG, BALLINVALLY

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 00E0620

Author: Jane Whitaker, ADS Ltd, Windsor House, 11 Fairview Strand, Fairview, Dublin 3.

Site type: Gravel and wood trackway

ITM: E 635332m, N 714925m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.183611, -7.471389

This excavation was carried out as part of the Bord na Móna Archaeological Mitigation Project for 2000. Monettia Bog is part of the Boora group and is located south of the village of Killeigh, Co. Offaly. The trackway, which was delimited along its edges by longitudinal roundwoods, was a maximum of 2m wide and ran in an east–west direction. It was composed of transverse roundwoods and brushwood timbers placed side by side, with gravel packed on top of and around some of the transverses. Pegs were noted at some locations. The trackway was traced for over 45m. The state of preservation varied along its length. It was best preserved on the stockpiled field to the west, where no milling had taken place for some time. On the field to the east, the site was in the process of being destroyed by the milling machines, and some of the timbers had been strewn across the field surface. However, the line of the trackway was clearly visible prior to excavation, in the form of scatters of wood chips and gravel. When the overlying peat was removed, the extent of the damage became apparent. All of the timbers were broken in several pieces from the weight of passing machinery. The site was 2–2.5m wide. It was composed of transverse, radially split roundwoods, and there was a deposit of gravel packed in between and over the timbers. It appears that the milling process had removed some of this gravel, which was sandy in texture and had mixed with the peat to form a hard, pasty, grey material 20–50mm deep. It contained some sub-angular stones ranging in size from 40mm to 50mm.

The roundwoods were mainly ash, with some possible elm included. These ranged in diameter from 0.05m to 0.29m. Along the southern ends of the transverses two longitudinal roundwoods were exposed in the cutting, 0.08m and 0.14m in diameter. These longitudinals were held in place with pegs alongside them, and, while a couple of the transverses ran underneath them, for the main part they appeared to delineate the edge of the trackway. A third longitudinal roundwood, 67mm in diameter and 24mm long, was located in the central part of the site.

The site was visible on the adjoining production field to the east, where it was also badly damaged. The field to the west of the cutting contained a large stockpile of peat, but the site was visible at the edges of this field. Apart from these two additional sightings the site appears to be all but destroyed. Several fields to both the west and the south were walked in an attempt to trace the site, but it survives only in places as insubstantial gravel scatters.