2004:0246 - 6 AND 7 NORTH MALL, CORK, Cork

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Cork Site name: 6 AND 7 NORTH MALL, CORK

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E0607

Author: Margaret McCarthy, Archaeological Services Unit, Department of Archaeology, University College Cork.

Site type: Urban

ITM: E 566783m, N 572190m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 51.900868, -8.482687

The construction of an apartment complex to the rear of two street-fronting properties on the North Mall in Cork city was monitored over a period of nine weeks. The site is within the zone of archaeological potential around Cork city and both properties are protected structures, as designated in the 1998 Cork City Development Plan Review. Prior to development, the area was covered by a layer of concrete, which, when removed, revealed a layer of modern infill containing a mixture of brick, slate and modern glass. The remains of a low stone wall were also uncovered to the rear of No. 7 and probably represented the lower course or foundations of a stone-built shed in this area. The depth of the terraced gardens to the rear of both properties was reduced considerably to facilitate the insertion of a doorway from the third floor of the new apartments to steps leading up to the gardens.

Machine excavation to the rear of both properties indicated that the top 0.75m of the soil profile consisted of a humic black sediment containing abundant roots, post-medieval and modern pottery and red-brick fragments. The next 0.5m was still quite humic but more red-brown in colour. About 0.5m from the original ground level a collection of disarticulated human bones was exposed. These were dumped in a random fashion and mixed with clay-pipe fragments, modern pottery, red brick and animal bones. Many of the human remains showed clear signs of having been autopsied, while most of the animal bones had chop marks consistent with modern butchery practices. The sawn human bones probably originated from a surgical school that is reputed to have been in existence on North Mall in the 19th century.

Work on the terraced gardens indicated that the soil profile consisted of a loosely compacted red-brown sediment with patches of charcoal and mortar interspersed. A considerable quantity of butchered animal bones was recovered as well as clay-pipe fragments, modern delft, slate and some slag and iron nails. Half a wig curler was also retrieved from this area and some 17th-century North Devon pottery.