2004:0076 - DAISY HILL HOSPITAL, CARNAGAT, NEWRY, Armagh

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Armagh Site name: DAISY HILL HOSPITAL, CARNAGAT, NEWRY

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: AE/04/056

Author: Sarah Nicol, Northern Archaeological Consultancy Ltd, Farset Enterprise Park, 638 Springfield Road, Belfast BT12 7DY.

Site type: 19th-century graveyard

ITM: E 707588m, N 826956m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.180267, -6.351834

Monitoring and excavation of this site took place in the summer of 2004. The first feature identified was a 19th-century brick chimney base. This chimney was in use until the 1960s and had been part of the main furnace that heated the hospital.

The main site contained a series of individual and multiple graves that constituted the earliest burial ground associated with the old workhouse. The graveyard dated from 1841 to 1850, with the workhouse records clearly stating that in 1850 the old graveyard could no longer be used and that another had to be established. This second graveyard was to be situated on the northern boundary of the workhouse site and is still there today.

Due to the type of development, it was decided by EHS that the best way to move forward was to leave in situ as many burials as possible. This was achieved by building floating foundations over the graves and excavating only those close to the surface. One individual burial was fully excavated and a further five were exposed, recorded and left in situ. The upper layers of two multiple burials were excavated with a further six skeletons exposed and left in situ. One double infant burial was excavated and the truncated remains of a multiple burial were excavated within the lift-shaft base. One of the multiple burials that was partially excavated had previously been very badly disturbed by the insertion of a geological survey pit by the contractors. At least 70% of the pit had been completely dug through, resulting in disturbance to a minimum of five individual skeletons.

All the burials were east-west aligned, with the heads situated to the west, as is to be expected in a Christian burial ground. All of the bodies excavated were buried in individual coffins, including those in the multiple burials. Both multiple burials excavated had later burials inserted through them; these later insertions appear to have been placed into plank-lined cuts.

Post-excavation work is ongoing, with the full analysis of the skeletal remains as yet unfinished.