2004:0501 - BEAVERSTOWN, DONABATE, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: BEAVERSTOWN, DONABATE

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E0185

Author: Kevin Lohan, Margaret Gowen and Co. Ltd, 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Site type: Medieval/post-medieval

ITM: E 722595m, N 750033m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.486019, -6.152739

Previous monitoring on this site had uncovered a prehistoric site which was excavated by Ines Hagen (Excavations 2003, No. 484, 03E1634). The development site is beside Donabate train station and is comprised of an area proposed for residential use measuring 3.52ha, as well as three small land parcels proposed for future development. The site is bound to the south by Turvey Avenue, to the west by individual properties and a housing estate, to the north by a further housing estate and to the east by the railway line and adjacent carpark. Site access is from Turvey Avenue and a new access is proposed to Donabate train station.

The relationship between the eight features on the site is difficult to establish, given the lack of stratigraphical relationship between them and the paucity of finds. However, a number of conclusions can be drawn from the form and content of the features present on the site. The pottery recovered shows both medieval and post-medieval activity on the site.

The majority of the medieval pottery came from features F17 and F21. F17, an irregular pit that contained what appear to be puddling deposits, contained five sherds. No other finds were recovered from this pit. F21 was a linear cut. Seven sherds of medieval pottery were recovered from its fill. This feature may have been a small drainage ditch or field boundary. There is some evidence at its eastern end that it has been severely truncated by ploughing activity and that it was originally much deeper. The presence of medieval pottery in the ploughsoil also indicates that features have been truncated by ploughing. There are no features associated with F21 that might indicate that it was part of a field system or complex. The pottery recovered from these features shows a certain amount of wear. The shards are in general very small, and the edges along the breaks are rounded. This would suggest that these features were not the primary deposition location of these fragments. However, the lack of any later pottery or other datable material would indicate that these features are medieval in date.

The second group of definitely datable features are two burnt features on the southern edge of the site, F2 and F3. F2, a nearly perfectly circular hearth, contained no pottery but did contain brick, as did F3, a burnt spread. The bricks contained within these features point to a definite post-medieval date for them.

The curvilinear feature F9 was also post-medieval in date. The fill of this feature contained a sherd of Frechen stoneware dating to the 17th century, as well as a portion of triangular-bladed iron knife.

The final grouping of features are the pits which contain large amounts of shell: F4, F6, F7 and F13. These pits were quite large, ranging from 1.05m to 4.2m in diameter and 0.5-0.3m in depth. The fill of the pits was rich in both seashell and land snail. The fills of F4 and F6 consisted almost exclusively of cockleshell. This would suggest that these pits were dug to dispose of the shells after the harvesting of cockles for domestic use. The fills of F7 and F13 were rich in shell of a variety of species. The fills of these pits seems to have been deposited naturally, with no deliberate infilling of domestic or industrial debris. None of these features contained any datable material.