2003:1084 - MORETT 2; MORETT 5; MORETT 6; MORETT 12–14, Laois

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Laois Site name: MORETT 2; MORETT 5; MORETT 6; MORETT 12–14

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1367

Author: Jonathan Dempsey, Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd.

Site type: Kiln - corn-drying, Burial and Pit

Period/Dating: Multi-period

ITM: E 653596m, N 703292m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.077549, -7.200107

A number of features were identified in Morett townland during the topsoil-strip of the M7 Heath–Mayfield Motorway Scheme (No. 1051, Excavations 2003, 03E0623). These features were resolved under licence numbers 03E1367 and 03E1368 (No. 1085, Excavations 2003). The sites resolved under 03E1367 are described below.

Morett: corn-drying kiln?
Morett 2 was an irregular feature which measured 2.5m east–west by 1.2m by 0.1m deep. The base and sides were heavily oxidised. It was filled with a soft brown/black silty clay with frequent charcoal flecks, subangular stones and lenses of oxidised clay. A fragment of prehistoric pottery, flint debitage and burnt bone were recovered from this context. This feature was possibly the remains of a heavily disturbed corn-drying kiln.

Morett 5: inhumation and horse burial
Oriented north-north-east/south-south-west, the skeleton, probably of a female adult, was placed in an extended supine position. The skull was elevated and, while heavily disturbed, the position of the mandible would indicate that the skull faced to the west. The right arm was bent upwards at the elbow and the location of the right hand would indicate that it supported the mandible. The left arm was straight, with the left hand placed over the pelvic bone. The left leg was extended and slightly flexed to the east at the knee. The left foot, which was heavily disturbed, faced upwards. The right leg was flexed to the east at the knee. The skeleton was placed in a shallow grave-cut, irregular in shape, measuring 1.35m north–south by 0.8m by 0.27m deep. No finds were recovered from the burial.

A burial of a horse was located in a separate grave-cut 0.7m to the east of the female inhumation. While the skull and mandible were not present, the orientation of the horse would appear to have been north-north-east/south-south-west. The shallow cut measured 1.3m north–south by 0.95m by 0.12m deep.

Morett 6: corn-drying kiln
Cut into light-brown silty clay, Morett 6 was the truncated remains of a keyhole-shaped kiln. It measured 2.4m north-north-west/south-south-east by 1.2m by 0.19m at its greatest depth. The base of the kiln sloped slightly upwards, from south-south-east to north-north-west. The location of a fire-spot at the south-south-east was indicated by a subcircular spread of compact, heavily oxidised sandy silt, 0.51m in diameter. The construction cut of the kiln then narrowed to a central flue, 0.44m wide, before widening to the remains of a drying chamber at the north-north-west, 1.24m wide. Ten distinct fills were identified, many of which were heavily oxidised. Two post-holes were identified 2.9m east-north-east of this kiln.

Morett 12: pit
Morett 12 was an irregular pit which measured 1.1m east–west by 0.9m by 60mm deep. Four fills were identified. The presence of charcoal in the fills and oxidation on the base of the pit would indicate that burning had occurred in situ. This pit had been heavily truncated.

Morett 13: inhumation
Morett 13 was located 91m south-south-west of Morett 5. This heavily disturbed extended inhumation, probably of an adult, was orientated east–west. The grave-cut was subrectangular with rounded corners, measuring 1.75m east–west by 1m and 70mm deep. No grave goods were associated with this burial.

Morett 14: inhumation
Morett 14 was 47m west-south-west of Morett 13. This skeleton of a young, probably female, adult was oriented north–south. While the skull, upper vertebrae and scapulae had been damaged by ploughing, the rest of the skeleton was well preserved. It was in an extended supine position, with the left arm straight down by the left side of the body and the right arm bent westwards at the elbow and the right hand resting above the pelvis. Both the right and the left legs were straight, with the left foot slightly higher than the right. The skeleton had been placed in a linear grave-cut with irregular edges, measuring 1.6m north–south by 0.55m by 0.16m deep.

Unit 21, Boyne Business Park, Greenhills, Drogheda, Co. Louth