2003:1951 - N4/N6 Kinnegad to Kilcock Motorway Scheme, Westmeath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Westmeath Site name: N4/N6 Kinnegad to Kilcock Motorway Scheme

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0803

Author: Donald Murphy, Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd, Unit 21, Boyne Business Park, Greenhills, Drogheda, Co. Louth.

Site type: Various

ITM: E 655219m, N 748094m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.479973, -7.168108

Monitoring of topsoil-stripping associated with the construction of the N4/N6 Motorway commenced on 10 July 2003. The motorway is the first in a series of Public Private Partnership Schemes devised by the National Roads Authority and commences at Crossanstown in Co. Westmeath, travels through counties Westmeath, Meath and Kildare and rejoins the existing M4 at Pitchfordstown just outside Kilcock, Co. Kildare. The monitoring to be carried out represented Phase 3 in the overall archaeological evaluation of the route. Phase 1 consisted of testing of the proposed route and commenced in January 2002 under the direction of Westmeath County Council. Phase 2 consisted of the full resolution of those sites identified through the Phase 1 testing. Phase 2 was completed by the end of 2002 and summary reports appeared in Excavations 2002.

As a result of all the previous investigations, 29 areas of potential were identified as requiring monitoring during the topsoil-stripping operation, representing c. 20km of the 35km route. Up to December 2003, over 16km out of the 20km to be monitored had been stripped of topsoil. Two new sites were identified. The first consisted of a single pit exposed in the townland of Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath (Chainage 3850). This site was designated Kinnegad 6 and was excavated under separate licence (No. 1982 below, 03E1122).

The second site was a burnt-stone spread exposed in the townland of Ballynakill, Co. Kildare (Chainage 29380). It is in marshy ground close to a small stream and appears to represent a fulacht fiadh. Only the western half of the spread was exposed and this measured 23m in length and at least 12m in width. It consisted of a spread of burnt and fragmented sandstone mixed with black silt containing charcoal. Topsoil was not stripped from the eastern half, as the feature lay within a proposed fill area. The exposed western half of the spread was covered in terram and an earthen embankment averaging 2.85m in height was constructed along this part of the route, thereby allowing for the preservation in situ of the site.

Further topsoil-stripping remains to be carried out in 2004 and this will be monitored in due course.