2003:1269 - 76 Seatown, Dundalk, Louth

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Louth Site name: 76 Seatown, Dundalk

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 7:119 Licence number: 03E0477

Author: Kieran Campbell, 6 St Ultan's, Laytown, Drogheda.

Site type: Medieval urban

ITM: E 705229m, N 807471m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.005730, -6.394738

Monitoring took place on 7-8 April 2003 during the excavation of foundations for an extension to an office building at 76 Seatown, Dundalk. The existing office building occupies a large detached house of 1930s style and was formerly the local branch office of SIPTU. The site is situated in the medieval suburb of Seatown, which lay on the east side of the walled town of Dundalk.

Previous investigations by the writer in the immediate vicinity of 76 Seatown include a medieval pit excavated at 55 Seatown, on the opposite side of the street (Excavations 1994, No. 179, 94E0090). At 72 Seatown, 5-10m west of the present development, pre-development testing exposed natural gravel and sand directly under a 0.3m depth of modern material (Excavations 1995, No. 217, 95E0073). In 1995, unlicensed monitoring took place over two days during excavations for an apartment block on the west side of Castle Road, 24m to the east of the present development. This monitoring recorded only post-medieval garden soil.

In the initial ground clearance for the extension, an area 6.3m by 7.8m was reduced to a depth of up to 0.3m by the removal of a concrete path and garden soil. This work exposed natural gravel in places at a depth of 0.2m below present ground level. The excavation of the foundation trenches uncovered a medieval pit and the truncated remnant of a late medieval deposit. The pit extended for a 2.2m length of the foundation trench midway along the east side of the extension and was 0.7m deep with sides sloping gradually to a rounded base. The pit continued east beyond the limit of the 1m-wide trench, but its west edge coincided with the west side of the trench. The fill contained frequent shell flecks (mussel, cockle), occasional whole oyster and periwinkle, ten animal bones and five small sherds of medieval pottery of local manufacture of c. 13th-14th-century date.

On the south side of the extension, a stony medieval fill survived only as a 0.2m-thick deposit on the side of a cut into the natural gravel. The cut and its fill had been truncated to the west by disturbance for a modern sewer but continued south and north beyond the limits of the trench and also below the trench base. The complete base of a jar of late medieval or ‘Transitional’ ware, 119mm diameter and glazed internally, was recovered from the stony fill. Also found, a rough piece of fired clay (maximum diameter 56mm), with an impression of a withy and traces of a gloss or thin glaze, may be from a kiln or oven.