2003:1481 - Site 12, Wotton, Meath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Meath Site name: Site 12, Wotton

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E1328

Author: Stuart Halliday, Judith Carroll Network Archaeology Ltd, 13 Anglesea Street, Dublin 2.

Site type: Ditches

ITM: E 708161m, N 748726m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.477444, -6.370576

Test excavation was undertaken in advance of the proposed N2 Finglas-Ashbourne road scheme between August and November 2003. The proposed road scheme is approximately 17km long, commencing at the M50 interchange in Dublin and extending to the townland of Rath, north of Ashbourne, Co. Meath. The route avoids all the recorded sites in the area, but a small number of possible archaeological sites were identified in the line of the route as part of the EIS carried out by Valerie J. Keeley Ltd. A subsequent geophysical survey carried out by GSB Prospection Ltd and Margaret Gowen Ltd in 2002 identified further new sites along the route.

Based on the results of these surveys, the route was divided into 31 testing areas, so that the possible sites and the whole of the remainder of the route could be investigated through testing. This generally involved mechanically excavating 2m-wide trenches along the centre-line, with perpendicular offsets every 20m, across the width of the land-take. In addition, trenches were excavated parallel to all rivers/streams.

In Testing Area 12, located at Chainage 9000-10000, possible features of archaeological potential were identified in the geophysical survey in the form of an isolated anomaly which coincided with a visible rise in ground level. In total, an area of 4,764.2m2 was excavated, equating to 8.15% cover of the proposed land-take in TA 12.

The testing revealed a substantial north-west/south-east-aligned ditch and a smaller ditch on a perpendicular alignment in Field 1. There was also a subcircular pit with a charcoal-rich fill. No dating evidence was retrieved from these features, but it is possible that they may be related to the medieval features revealed in the adjacent Testing Area 13 to the north.

The central trench in Field 2 contained a small oval pit with a charcoal fill, and evidence of in situ burning. Elsewhere, the trenches were sterile or revealed only modern drainage features.