2004:0563 - 48 NEW STREET SOUTH, DUBLIN, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: 48 NEW STREET SOUTH, DUBLIN

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 18:20 Licence number: 04E0621

Author: Teresa Bolger, c/o Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd, 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Site type: Urban medieval and post-medieval

ITM: E 715006m, N 733300m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.337429, -6.273123

An assessment was carried out at a development site at 48 New Street South, Dublin 8. The area of proposed development extended over a c. 0.4ha site fronting on to the west side of the street. The site was previously occupied by a car showroom, garage and petrol station. New Street South was extensively widened during the late 1980s and early 1990s; the original western street frontage is located close to the line of the present median island along the centre-line of the road.

Five trenches were excavated across the development footprint. This investigation indicated that archaeological deposits were present over a substantial portion of the footprint. Deposits and features of archaeological significance were identified in Trenches 1, 2, 4 and 5 but not in Trench 3. Also, no features were identified at the location of the petrol storage tanks at the northern end of the site.

Overall, the site was sealed by concrete and tarmac, relating to the previous structures there. The remains of a dark-brown garden soil producing ceramics of late 18th- to 19th-century date were present over most of the development footprint. This deposit was associated with mortared stone walls in Trenches 1 and 2A. It is likely that this deposit and associated structural features relate to the applotment of the site illustrated on the first-edition OS map. This material directly sealed natural geological strata in Trench 3, suggesting that no earlier material survives in the south-east quadrant of the site.

The current topography of the site and the streetscape suggest a general slope from south to north along the same axis as New Street. However, the results of the test excavation indicated that the natural topography of the site sloped from the highest point (at the junction of New Street and Fumbally Lane) to the north and west, in the direction of the River Poddle. This would indicate that the site was deliberately landscaped. Substantial deposits of organic clays sealed natural in most of the trenches; these deposit were deepest and most extensive in the naturally low-lying areas of the site – mainly the west and north-west. These deposits produced examples of medieval and early post-medieval pottery. While some of these deposits may be the result of actual occupation at the site (whether of a domestic or industrial character), it is likely that some of this material was imported on to the site and deposited for the purpose of raising up the low-lying areas of the site. It is worth noting in this context that the level of natural geological strata in these low-lying areas was slightly below the present water table, suggesting that these parts of the site may have been very wet and marshy originally.

It is likely that this landscaping was accomplished prior to 1750. Although medieval pottery was recovered, it is not possible to state definitively at this stage whether this reflects activity at the site or if it represents the secondary deposition of material imported on to the site. There were no indications of any structural features associated with these deposits.

Of most significance was the presence of possible pits and ditches cut into the natural and sealed by these organic clay deposits. These features were infrequent in Trenches 1, 2, 4 and 5, occurring in the west and north of the site. It is possible that the ditches, in particular those identified in Trench 4, may relate to the exploitation of the adjacent River Poddle for industrial or agricultural purposes.

No definitive dating evidence was recovered that could be directly related to these features, but it is likely that they pre-date any landscaping of the site and may date to the early post-medieval period or possibly the late medieval period.

Subsequent monitoring of the construction of a pile guide-wall around the perimeter of the site did not identify any additional archaeological features.