2003:1450 - Rathmullan, Meath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Meath Site name: Rathmullan

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0916

Author: Finola O'Carroll

Site type: Gullies

ITM: E 706405m, N 774461m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.708975, -6.388235

The site is situated in Rathmullan Business Park, Co. Meath, in an area of high archaeological potential, as the existence of a ringfort (SMR 20:21) and the discovery of several sites in its vicinity during testing of the M1 motorway shows. The excavation was undertaken as a result of the proposed relocation of an ESB pylon. This site had already been identified during intensive testing of the area (Excavations 2002, No. 1510, 02E0183), undertaken prior to the proposed construction of an IDA business park. During the testing phase, 63 acres of farmland were examined and many archaeological sites dating from the prehistoric to the modern era were uncovered. The site under discussion was uncovered in Field 1.

The initial testing in the area of the proposed pylon site had been carried out in Test-trench 1.8. Two features were uncovered and the trench was subsequently backfilled for later evaluation. Prior to the start of the excavation, the footprint of the pylon was surveyed and a 2m buffer on the perimeter of this grid was added to allow for possible disturbance during the construction of the pylon. The final dimensions of the cutting were 11m in width by 11m in length by 0.45m in depth. This was stripped of topsoil by a 2m-wide ditching bucket. Archaeological features uncovered during the testing phase were reopened and excavated fully.

Two gullies were uncovered in this area. They ran parallel to each other, orientated roughly north-south, and merged at the northern extent of the site. Upon merging, both features appeared as a single ditch containing a mixed deposit. The point at which they merged was not apparent on excavation, therefore no stratigraphic relationship between both features could be obtained. No diagnostic finds were uncovered from their deposits, though charred grain was recovered from one, so dating of this feature is dependent on radiocarbon results, not yet obtained. The results of the soil sample analysis may shed more light on both the function and dates of these features.

CRDS Ltd, Unit 4, Dundrum Business Park, Dundrum, Dublin 14.