2003:1331 - Main Street, Killala, Mayo

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Mayo Site name: Main Street, Killala

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 22:17 Licence number: 02E0892 ext.

Author: Christopher Read, North West Archaeological Services Ltd, Cloonfad Cottage, Cloonfad, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.

Site type: Burials

ITM: E 528687m, N 829857m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.212651, -9.093288

The proposed housing development at Main Street, Killala, is located within the zone of archaeological potential for an early monastic site and is beside the 17th-century cathedral and graveyard. Monitoring of the site was carried out in November 2002 (Excavations 2002, No. 1397). Previous testing had revealed evidence of human burials, although in a portion of the site and at a depth that would not be affected by the proposed development. However, monitoring revealed a complete skeleton in a shallow grave-cut immediately within the proposed site access.

The rescue excavation of this burial revealed two further burials and some disarticulated bone, including two skulls. These were fully excavated. To avoid any further burials, the level of the site access was raised sufficiently to create a suitable buffer between the development and the archaeological levels. The burials were found in shallow, east-west-oriented grave-cuts, with no apparent grave goods and no obvious coffin furnishings. The nature of the burials and lack of finds mean they could date anywhere from early medieval to 19th-century famine times. Post-excavation work is ongoing. It is hoped that the osteological examination of the bones may provide a more accurate date.