2003:1455 - Ratoath, Meath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Meath Site name: Ratoath

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1781

Author: Angela Wallace, for Arch-Tech Ltd, 32 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2.

Site type: Two ring-ditches, burnt pits, kilns, possible field system

ITM: E 701779m, N 751796m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.506294, -6.465681

In the course of monitoring (No. 1452 above, 03E1300) of a large-scale residential development on the western fringe of Ratoath village, several large areas of archaeological significance were exposed. There was no previous record of archaeological material present within the area of this development.

The land to be developed was 18.35ha (45.34 acres) in area. In all, there were twelve modern field boundaries and these were used as reference points for findings during monitoring. Fields 6 and 7 and the southern portion of Field 8 are located in the southern area of the development, adjacent to the Dunshaughlin Road to the south. There is a high east-west ridge crossing through these fields and a substantial number of archaeological features were identified in this area.

F15, a circular ring-ditch c. 15m in internal diameter, has been excavated and a smaller ring-ditch, F11, was located 5.5m north of it. F11 had an internal diameter of c. 6m. The fragmentary remains of one cremation were identified in the fill of F15; no cremations were identified in F11, the smaller ring-ditch. No finds were recovered from either.

F15 was cut by a later curvilinear ditch, F4; two terminals of this later feature were excavated within the interior of F15. The terminals were filled with a substantial amount of medium-sized angular rocks. A large quantity of animal bone, including two boar tusks, was recovered from the fill of F4 and also two pieces of worked flint and some iron fragments.

Several possible figure-of-eight and keyhole-shaped kilns, pits and post-holes, and several linear and curving ditches, were identified in Field 6. Excavation of these features is still in progress and is expected to continue into 2004.

The presence of a probable cemetery enclosure to the west in Field 7 may explain the complex of linear and curvilinear ditches in Field 6; they may form part of an outlying medieval field system. It is hoped that further excavation in this area will shed more light on the different phases of activity on this site.