2003:1085 - MORETT 4; MORETT 8; MORETT 10, Laois

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Laois Site name: MORETT 4; MORETT 8; MORETT 10

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1368

Author: Jonathan Dempsey, Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd.

Site type: Ring-ditch and Pit

Period/Dating: Multi-period

ITM: E 653235m, N 702916m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.074207, -7.205555

A number of features were identified in Morett townland during monitoring of the construction 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. 1084, Excavations 2003). The sites resolved under 03E1368 are described below.

Morett 4: ring-ditch?
Morett 4 consisted of a possible ring-ditch, sub-oval in shape, with internal dimensions of 15.4m north–south by 11m. The enclosure was defined by a V-shaped ditch, which was heavily disturbed by tree root activity. The eastern segment of this ditch measured 2.1m wide by 0.64m deep. The ditch decreased in width and depth from east through south to the west, so that the western arc was, on average, 1.3m wide and 0.48m deep. A possible antenna ditch, 1.1m wide and 0.3m deep, extended from the main ditch to the north-north-west. There was a possible entrance at the north-north-west, 1.3m wide. This appears subsequently to have been narrowed by an extension to the main ditch. A small pit was located to the south-west of this possible entrance.

Five fills were identified in the ditch. These consisted of sterile sandy clays. Burnt tree roots were present in the basal fill and small quantities of animal teeth and bone were recovered from the secondary fill. A U-shaped ditch, average width 0.68m and depth 0.16m, had been cut into the final fill of the ditch. The fill of this ditch consisted of a dark-brown clayey silt with frequent charcoal flecks. No finds were recovered from the ditch.

A C-shaped structure with external dimensions of 4.05m north–south by 4.45m was identified in the northern part of the interior of the ring-ditch. It was defined by a gully with a U-shaped profile, 0.6m wide and 0.24m deep. This gully had also been heavily disturbed by tree roots. There was no physical relationship between this feature and the enclosing ditch. No artefacts were recovered from the gully defining this structure.

Morett 8: pit with fill of burnt-mound-like material
Morett 8 was a sub-oval pit which measured 1.2m north–south by 1.1m by 0.23m deep. It was filled by a loose black/brown sandy clay, subangular heat-fractured and fire-reddened stones up to 20–50mm in length and frequent charcoal flecks and larger pieces of charcoal. A flake of chert was recovered from this deposit. Four stake-holes were cut into the east-north-east and north-north-west sides of this pit. The northern side of the pit was cut by a later drainage ditch. This feature was U-shaped in profile and was 2.75m wide and 0.82m deep. This pit was probably associated with Morett 3, a spread of burnt-mound material identified during monitoring and preserved in situ.

Morett 10: pit
Morett 10 consisted of a subrectangular pit which measured 2.1m north–south by 1.4m by 0.85m deep and had smooth regular sides and a flat base. Five fills were identified. Small quantities of animal bone were recovered from the primary fill. The north-eastern side had been heavily truncated by tree roots.

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