2003:1075 - MORETT, Laois

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Laois Site name: MORETT

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0140

Author: Grace Fegan, for Valerie J. Keeley Ltd, Brehon House, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny.

Site type: Roadway

ITM: E 653755m, N 703668m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.080910, -7.197670

Investigations were conducted at Morett, Co. Laois, on behalf of Kildare County Council NRDO, in February 2003. This site was investigated due to its proposed disturbance by the M7 Heath–Mayfield Motorway Scheme. It is marked on the first-edition (1841) OS map as an ‘ancient roadway’.
There was no visible above-ground evidence for the feature within the area of the proposed road-take. A single field boundary ran along the recorded line of the feature in this area, directly to the south of which was a fast-flowing stream, recently cleared. Four trenches were excavated, located with the intention of cutting across the feature at right angles to it.
A metalled stone surface was uncovered in the trenches. This feature did not appear to extend into the easternmost trenches. The stream running through the site was widened and deepened eight years ago by machine, according to the landowner (B. Young, pers. comm.). This work showed the streambed and banks to be made up of natural gravels and stone. This would have disturbed much of the roadway and would also have redeposited a large amount of gravel and stone into the area investigated, thus complicating any investigations.
A well-preserved section of cobbles was recorded in the westernmost trench. Patches of a similar type of deposit were noted in trenches further east, where it seems to have been greatly disturbed by the deepening and widening of the stream. In the first trench this feature measured 2.69m in width (north–south) and 80mm in depth. It ran beyond the limit of excavation, both to the east and west. It consisted of evenly sized, rounded stones set in a dark, organic sandy silt. This lay partially above a metalled, stony surface, which sat directly on the natural gravel. While no finds were recovered from within these surfaces, a sherd of Saintonge pottery was found within the layer of extremely compacted yellow clay that directly overlay the cobbles. This site was later fully excavated by Eoghan Moore (03E0429?).