2003:965 - NAAS: Convent of Mercy, Kildare

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kildare Site name: NAAS: Convent of Mercy

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1707

Author: Ellen OCarroll, The Archaeology Company

Site type: Burial ground

Period/Dating: Undetermined

ITM: E 689221m, N 719817m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.221260, -6.663943

Testing was carried out in the walled garden to the rear of the Convent of Mercy in Sallins Road, Naas. The development is within the zone of archaeological potential for Naas (SMR 19:30) and is inside the medieval walled town.

Five machine-excavated trenches and one test-pit were excavated in the walled garden to the west of the church and south of the Mercy convent. Four of the trenches ran in an east–west direction across the back of the garden, while the fifth ran in a north–south direction.

Ten skeletons, a much degraded wall feature and an area of clay and red brick (possibly dump material) were uncovered in the southern trench. The skeletal remains were quite widely dispersed, averaging 1m apart and appearing to be only one layer deep. They were buried 0.6–0.8m deep in the trench, averaging 90.02m OD. They were all aligned north-north-east/south-south-west, with the head at the southern end. As this was only a testing scenario, it was not necessary to expose the full extent of any of the bodies. Wood staining was noted around the perimeter of Burial No. 1 and an iron nail was uncovered close to the skull. The wood staining is probably associated with the remains of a coffin.

There were no archaeological remains uncovered in the northern portion of the garden. Two trenches were also excavated to the front of the convent and to the north of the church. There was nothing of archaeological significance uncovered in this area. The stratigraphy revealed layers of backfill and redeposited material possibly associated with the construction of the church and convent in the 1820s and 1830s.

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