2004:0123 - MULLAGH, Cavan

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Cavan Site name: MULLAGH

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E0904; 04R101

Author: Jonathan Dempsey, Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd.

Site type: Burial and Enclosure

Period/Dating: Undetermined

ITM: E 668511m, N 783885m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.800000, -6.960000

In response to a planning condition, an archaeological assessment and metal detection survey were undertaken at Mullagh, Co. Cavan, in advance of a proposed residential development located to the north-east of a number of monuments, including SMR 44:21, a tower marked on the Down Survey of 1654. No finds or features of archaeological significance were identified by the metal detection survey.

Eleven trenches were excavated within this site. Trench 1 was located in the south-west corner. Disarticulated decayed remains of bone (fragments of skull and teeth) were recovered from this area and the trace of a possible grave-cut (F3) was identified. A section was excavated across this feature and additional fragments of disarticulated bone were recovered. The remains of a leg bone were also identified towards the north-eastern extent of this feature. Trenches 6–11 were excavated in the southwestern extent of the site at right angles to Trench 1 to establish the existence of additional features surrounding F3. The remains of an additional four possible grave-cuts were subsequently identified in Trench 6 (F4-F7). Tiny fragments of bone/teeth were visible in F5–F7. All of the bone recovered consisted of small fragmentary pieces, which were badly decayed. The teeth recovered from F3, F5 and F7 and the leg bone identified in F3 all appeared to be human. This would suggest that all the fragmentary bits of bone identified were also human. The occurrence of human bone in linear cuts would suggest the presence of extended inhumations. This entire area was disturbed by tree-root activity and small roots/fragments of roots were evident throughout the fill of the possible grave-cuts F3–F7. No features of archaeological significance were identified in Trenches 7–11.

The remains of a ditch (F9) were exposed in Trenches 2 and 3. This feature was located c. 50m north-east of the possible grave-cuts. It was aligned approximately north-west/south-east and transected the site. A section was excavated across this feature. No datable finds were recovered but a few small fragments of cremated bone were recovered from the base of the ditch. The date and function of this feature are unknown. However, if the line of this feature was projected it would appear to link up with an existing field boundary which is visible south of the stream that borders this site to the south-west. It is possible therefore that this feature forms part of an enclosure ditch and encloses the possible grave-cuts described above.

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