2003:1147 - CASTLETOWN, Limerick

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Limerick Site name: CASTLETOWN

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 38:106 Licence number: 02E1828

Author: Sarah McCutcheon, Limerick County Council

Site type: Excavation - miscellaneous

Period/Dating: Post Medieval (AD 1600-AD 1750)

ITM: E 544743m, N 630586m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.423980, -8.812426

The proposed graveyard extension is situated immediately north of the existing graveyard. Both are within an area classified in the RMP as 'settlement, deserted'. Test excavation commenced on 28 January 2003. An extensive series of trenches was excavated within the proposed development. All the features recorded cut the underlying boulder clay and were overlain by sod and topsoil.

The range of features recorded included pits, trenches, gullies, stone paving, in situ burning and a bank. The remains generally dated to the 18th century and were probably the result of agricultural or landlord-sponsored activities. The pottery found within the features pointed exclusively to the 18th century.

One feature, a shallow pit (10.5m by 6.3m maximum) with associated gullies, stake-holes and stone flags, was possibly a kiln or furnace. The basal fill was a carbonised silt, and the underlying boulder clay indicated in situ burning. The stake-holes might represent, if not a superstructure or roof, then perhaps a wind block. Unworked medium to large stones in the overburden may have been the remains of a drystone lining. A series of stone settings on the western side of the site may be parts of a cobbled path leading through the field to the church. A low arcing ridge which enclosed the existing graveyard proved to be a man-made bank. Evidence from beneath the bank dated it to the 18th century at the earliest. The first-edition OS map shows an angular northern boundary to the graveyard. The existing graveyard boundary wall was newly built at the beginning of the 20th century.

PO Box 53, County Buildings, 79/84 O'Connell Street, Limerick