2003:1092 - REDCASTLE, Laois

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Laois Site name: REDCASTLE

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 17:2(01, 02) Licence number: 03E0087

Author: Dominic Delany, Unit 3, Howley Court, Oranmore, Co. Galway.

Site type: Castle and earthwork (vicinity of)

ITM: E 636969m, N 695344m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.007528, -7.449158

Testing was carried out on the site of a proposed house at Redcastle, Co. Laois, on 27 January 2003. The development site is near a castle site and earthwork.

Testing comprised the mechanical excavation of two c. 80m-long trenches, which extended north-east/south-west across the site. Light-grey/brown silty sand topsoil, 0.4m deep, overlay very mixed subsoil with light-red/brown silty/clayey sand dominant in the north part of the site and orange silty sand dominant in the south part. Several features were exposed.

A shallow ditch extended east–west across the site at 6.5m from the northern field boundary. A section cutting revealed an irregular, slightly U-shaped cut, 1.75m wide and 0.7m deep. The fill was light-grey/brown silty sand with small and medium stones. No finds were recovered from the fill, but three late/post-medieval potsherds were found on the interface between the topsoil and the feature fill in Trench 1. An oval pit, 1.6m by 1.2m, was exposed at 13.5m from the northern field boundary in Trench 1. A fill of grey/brown silty sand formed a central band within the pit, while the outer fill was loose, charcoal-rich, dark-grey/black silty sand with some burnt stones. Two pieces of animal bone and three fragments of clear glass were found in the charcoal-rich outer fill. Two of the glass fragments fit together and appear to be part of the base of a drinking glass or similar object. The glass finds suggest a post-medieval or later date for this feature. The pit will not be impacted on by the proposed development, but the driveway and water mains will cross the line of the possible ditch feature.

Three elongated, shallow linear features, extending north–south, were exposed in the southern part of the site. They were of similar dimensions (0.5m wide, 0.2m deep) and all contained a fill of grey/brown silty sand with small and some medium stones. The fills were sterile, apart from very occasional small pieces of animal bone and flecks of charcoal. These features are probably old land drains and were deemed to be of no archaeological interest.