2003:1924 - Exchange Street, Waterford, Waterford

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Waterford Site name: Exchange Street, Waterford

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 01E0515

Author: Miriam Carroll, Archaeological Services Unit, University College Cork.

Site type: Urban medieval/post-medieval

ITM: E 660811m, N 612579m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.261550, -7.109180

Various groundworks associated with a proposed development at Exchange Street/High Street, Waterford, were monitored over a period of eight months in 2002 and 2003. The development site is located at the junction of High Street and Exchange Street and lies within the area historically known as the 'Viking triangle'. The development consisted of the demolition of existing offices, an ESB substation and store buildings to make way for a five-storey mixed development comprising a carpark, shops and offices. Preliminary groundworks associated with the development consisted of the demolition of existing structures, excavation of trial bores, construction of an ESB substation, excavation of groundwater wells, excavation of engineering test-pits and limited excavation of pile foundations. An ESB cable trench was also excavated along High Street and Exchange Street and was monitored under the same licence.

Seven trial holes were bored in various locations on the development site. Sherds of 13th-century pottery, animal bone fragments and an organic deposit of matted, straw-like material were recovered from Boreholes 1 and 2. No archaeological material was retrieved from the remaining trial bores.

The remains of a stone wall or wall foundation (F2) were uncovered during the excavation of the ESB substation foundation trench at the east side of the site. One face of the wall was exposed in the south-facing section of the foundation trench; however, the area immediately south of the wall had been extensively disturbed in recent years. Two sherds of Redcliffe pottery were recovered from a light-grey clay layer which appeared to abut F2, although their precise relationship was unclear.

A second wall (F8) was uncovered c. 1.5m north of F2 during monitoring of the excavation of groundwater monitoring well T1. It extended in a north-south direction and a number of sherds of medieval pottery were recovered from material immediately east of the wall. Its proximity to F2 may suggest that they formed a structure, possibly a house, which originally fronted onto Exchange Street. A number of walls and associated features, which may date to the 17th century, were uncovered in groundwater monitoring well T2, located approximately centrally in the site.

A further two walls were uncovered 8m to the south in engineering Test-pit 1. These appear to have formed another stone-built structure fronting onto Exchange Street. A number of sherds of medieval pottery were recovered from the area, along with other finds dating to the 18th-19th centuries. Walls of unknown date were also uncovered in Test-pits 4 and 5 at the west side of the site.

A limited number of pile foundations were monitored along the perimeter of the development site. Many foundations were unsuccessful in reaching the required depth, as obstructions (possibly stones/walls) were encountered in several places. Piling was subsequently stopped and no further groundworks were undertaken on the site.

No archaeological finds or features were noted during the excavation of the ESB cable trench on High Street and Exchange Street.