NMI Burial Excavation Records


Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1759

Author: David J. O'Connor, CRDS Ltd.

Site type: Cremation pit and Field system

Period/Dating: Multi-period

ITM: E 704043m, N 776011m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.723382, -6.423466

An assessment, including testing, was undertaken for the proposed drainage scheme and new road bypass at Oldbridge/Sheephouse in Co. Meath. The site is located to the south of the Boyne Valley and 3km west of the medieval town of Drogheda. The proximity of Oldbridge and Sheephouse townlands to the Boyne Valley region already lends importance to this historic area and the subsequent discovery of a number of flint scatters and possible barrow burials (Cooney et al. 2001) in the general area show the extent of this rich prehistoric landscape.

Testing took place over three weeks in October and November 2003, in two areas. The first area consisted of the excavation of a central trench with offsets along the course of the proposed bypass and ran a distance of c. 650m through six fields of the old estate. The second examined the route of the proposed drainage scheme, with the excavation of a series of trenches along its course. A number of features of archaeological significance were exposed along the route of the bypass.

Four areas of burning were uncovered, two in Field 2 and two in Field 4. F503 and F504 were small burnt oval patches almost directly on subsoil. Similarly, F1303 was a burnt patch with three variations evident in plan. F2003 consisted of a small pit lined with stone and containing two clay fills. Burnt bone was mixed within these fills. A 100% sample was taken of the fills in F2003 and has been sent for analysis. F2003 is a probable cremation pit of indeterminate age. No bone was recovered from F502 or F503, but charcoal flecks were present.

A number of features were exposed, principally in Field 4, which appear to be the remnants of an old field system. The most significant of these was F1401, a ditch which may have had a wall constructed on its southern side and probably represents an old field division. A second possible boundary is thought to have run parallel to the existing laneway at the northern extreme of Field 4, acting either as a field boundary or an open drain for run-off from Field 5. Other agricultural features consisted of a series of furrows and their associated fills.

Nothing of archaeological significance was uncovered along the course of the drainage scheme.

Cooney, G. et al. 2001 A pilot archaeological survey of the Battle of the Boyne, Oldbridge estate, Co. Meath. Unpublished.

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