2003:1000 - MAIN STREET, GOWRAN, Kilkenny

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kilkenny Site name: MAIN STREET, GOWRAN

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0863

Author: Emmet Stafford, Stafford McLoughlin Archaeology, Unit 4, Enniscorthy Enterprise Centre, Milehouse Road, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford.

Site type: Urban medieval defences

ITM: E 663220m, N 653520m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.629217, -7.066144

Test excavation of the site of a proposed housing development and nursing home was undertaken in June 2003. The proposed development site is located towards the north-eastern limit of Gowran village and is situated within the limits of the zone of archaeological potential. It appears that the site is bisected by the south-west/north-east line of the town defences.

Excavation of ten trenches throughout the site uncovered a variety of subsoil-cut features, most of which appeared to be of relatively modern horticultural origin. Most significantly, a substantial subsoil-cut ditch, which appears to be part of the town’s perimeter defences, was uncovered in Trenches 4, 5 and 9. The ditch has an average width of almost 4m and, towards the north-eastern boundary of the site, is associated with a subsoil bank. The remains of a bank were also noted towards the south-western boundary of the site. In this area, however, the bank appears to have been disturbed during the construction of post-medieval walled gardens.

Towards the north-eastern boundary of the site, in the area of the surviving bank, two pit- or post-hole-like features also appeared to be of archaeological origin.

Two ditch-like features – C5, uncovered in Trenches 4 and 6, and C10, uncovered in Trench 8 – appear to correspond to two field boundaries visible on the 1839 OS map. Although it is possible that these features represent the continuation of property boundaries between what were once medieval burgage plots into the post-medieval period, the loose topsoil-like material removed from the ditches during the testing exercise did not suggest that any medieval deposits remained within the ditches.

Deposits uncovered in Trench 7, towards the northern end of the site’s street frontage, may represent domestic and structural debris associated with the early post-medieval occupation of Main Street. These deposits were, however, significantly disturbed by modern service installation.