2003:1277 - Faughart Lower, Louth

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Louth Site name: Faughart Lower

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1397

Author: Shane Delaney, Irish Archaeological Consultancy Ltd, 8 Dungar Terrace, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Site type: Fulacht fiadh, etc.

ITM: E 705595m, N 810842m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.035937, -6.387988

Three areas of potential archaeology had been identified at Faughart Lower during the linear testing of the proposed Dundalk Western Bypass at Chainage 25415-25570 (Faughart Lower 1-3, Site 128).

Faughart Lower 1 was a fulacht fiadh. The mound was truncated to a thin layer of burnt stones and charcoal. It was situated at the base of a river terrace at the interface with a flood-plain (the river is now a ditched stream). The fulacht fiadh consisted of a trough (2.5m by 1.5m by 0.5m), with no evidence for lining. Adjacent to this was a platform of semi-charred and waterlogged timbers (1m by 1m by 0.1m) which appears to represent a platform on which a fire was set. They were charred but not burnt through, suggesting the area was waterlogged during use. A pond feature (5.6m by 2.2m by 0.4m) was located to the north of the hearth platform; this appeared to be linked to the former stream channel (or area of inundation) by a channel. It is suggested that this may have been used to supplement the water supply to the trough.

A burnt area was recorded at Faughart Lower 2 during testing but proved to be from modern disturbance, probably relating to field clearance (it contained a horseshoe, clay pipe and china ware). A possible hut site (3.9m diameter) was recorded to the west of this, which comprised a horseshoe-shaped gully with an opening to the west and a probable central post-hole. It is located upslope of the wetland on well-drained soil.

The area of Faughart Lower 3, to the east on more elevated ground, revealed a number of dispersed and amorphous pits/scoops, which may be related to agricultural practices such as stone clearance and/or cultivation. None of these scoops produced artefacts or fills of an archaeological nature. In the south-west corner of the area stripped, a liner cut feature was excavated for 10.5m. This produced a number of struck flint items; however, these appear to be intrusive. It is suggested that this may be an old field boundary that was replaced by the present field pattern. This linear cut did cut a small heat-affected pit, possibly an isolated hearth.