2003:1287 - Piperstown, Louth

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Louth Site name: Piperstown

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1142

Author: Margaret Keane, Heritage and Planning Division, Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dún Scéine, Harcourt Lane,

Site type: Prehistoric pits

ITM: E 708198m, N 782556m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.781323, -6.358260

This site was identified by forestry workers while excavating drains in advance of plantation. The Heritage and Planning division of the DEHLG was notified and a rescue excavation was carried out. The site appeared as a spread of charcoal-rich soil with occasional stones in the base of the forestry drain. The features were somewhat truncated.

The site consisted of a pair of conjoined pits, in a figure-of-eight form, running from north-east to south-west. Pit 1, the larger pit, measured 0.95m in width (north-west/south-east) and was 0.13m in depth. Pit 2 measured 0.72m (north-west/south-east) and was just 0.08m in depth. The overall length of the conjoined pits was 1.63m (north-east/south-west). A small flue feeding into both pits extended from the north-western side of Pit 1. In stratigraphic terms the flue cut both pits. Pit 2 cut Pit 1.

Pit 1 was lined with a number of large stones that were carefully positioned. The uppermost and largest of the stones was circular in shape, mirroring the shape of the pit. Occasional stones occurred in Pit 2. Charcoal-rich soil containing some fragments of burnt bone filled Pit 1. A similar fill was noted in Pit 2 without the burnt bone. The base of Pit 1 was clearly fire-reddened, indicative of in situ burning. However, the underside of the stones lining the pit showed no evidence of having been burnt.

Several pieces of flint were recorded from the ploughsoil in the general vicinity, but none in context. Despite the paucity of associated finds, the presence of fragments of burnt bone and the deliberate nature of construction suggest that the pits are prehistoric in date. Post-excavation work is continuing.