2003:1086 - MORETT 15, Laois

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Laois Site name: MORETT 15

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1624

Author: Jonathan Dempsey, Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd, Unit 21, Boyne Business Park, Greenhills, Drogheda, Co. Louth.

Site type: Inhumation; corn-drying kiln; pits; ditch terminal

ITM: E 653914m, N 703545m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.079790, -7.195320

The features at Morett 15 were identified during monitoring of topsoil-stripping undertaken as part of the main construction phase of the M7 Heath–Mayfield Motorway Scheme (No. 1051 above, 03E0623).
Orientated east to west, the skeleton was in an extended supine position, with the skull facing to the south. The left arm was extended, flexed at the elbow towards the body, with the left hand resting above the pelvis. The right arm was extended along the right side of the body, flexed towards the body at the elbow, with the right hand resting above the pelvis. Both the left and right legs were flexed southwards at the knees, with the feet extended and close together. The skeleton had been placed in a shallow grave-cut, 1.69m in length by 0.65m in width by 0.49m deep.
A heavily truncated corn-drying kiln was located immediately to the north of the inhumation. This keyhole-shaped feature measured 3.21m in length and was orientated east-north-east/west-south-west. The base of the drying bowl was located at the west-south-west. This was subcircular in shape and measured 1.1m wide by 0.16m deep. To the east-south-east, the flue, which was partially stone-lined, was 0.9m wide and 0.25m deep. Immediately east-south-east of the flue was the deepest part of the feature. In this area the base of the kiln was heavily oxidised, indicating the location of the fire-pit. To the east-north-east of the flue the kiln widened to 2.1m and had an average depth of 0.19m. The fills of the kiln included layers of ash and heavily oxidised, charcoal-rich, silty clays. Fragments of burnt bone were recovered from the fills.
Other excavated features included two pits, the terminal of a ditch and a spread of burning. The ditch terminal was orientated east–west and measured 1.6m wide by 0.26m deep. The fill consisted of a mid-greyish-brown silty clay with occasional charcoal flecks and fragments of animal bone. This feature continued westwards under the verge of the road.
To the north of this area, on a link road to the existing N7, two pits and the portion of a possible trough for a burnt mound that lay within the road-line were excavated. This was sub-oval in shape and measured 2m north-west/south-east by 0.9m east–west by 0.3m deep. The possible pits and trough had a fill of burnt-mound-like material. These features were located close to the site of a filled and levelled pond investigated by Eamonn Cotter (No. 1078 above, 03E0461).