2004:0629 - NEWCASTLE SOUTH, NEWCASTLE LYONS, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: NEWCASTLE SOUTH, NEWCASTLE LYONS

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 20:3(07) Licence number: 04E1426

Author: Christine Baker, Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd, 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Site type: Medieval

ITM: E 698183m, N 728895m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.301238, -6.527001

Testing was undertaken in order to establish the veracity of the results of a geophysical survey carried out by Joanna Leigh of Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd in October 2004 (licence 04R130) that identified a series of potential archaeological features in the form of linear anomalies, which were interpreted as forming field divisions and agricultural activity. A tower-house is located c. 20m south of the area of the geophysical anomalies. A topographical survey undertaken by Liam Murphy in the area surrounding the tower-house and within the proposed road corridor indicated a platform to the rear of the tower-house and field or plot divisions in the form of possible walls or ditches.

Twelve features of archaeological significance and several drainage pipes were identified during the test excavation. Several anomalies which had been interpreted as structural on the geophysical survey were in fact the result of the insertion of drainage or land improvement. Activity on the site can be categorised according to three distinct phases.

Phase I: medieval activity
Five features were identified as medieval. F4 was a ditch, which produced at least four sherds of medieval pottery. It had been heavily disturbed by the insertion of a modern ceramic pipe. F5, located c. 15m to the east, appears to be a deposit of undisturbed medieval origin. It measured c. 8m east-west by c. 2m and produced several sherds of medieval pottery. Ditch F12 was highly disturbed and possibly backfilled; however, the retrieval of medieval pottery indicated a medieval origin. F7 was a metalled surface c. 1.9m in width and aligned east-west. A single sherd of medieval pottery was associated with it. It was overlain by a cobbled surface datable to the post-medieval period, indicating continuity of use. F11 may represent a ditch or wall footing. The upper layer of backfill produced post-medieval evidence, but the substantial nature of the stones may represent the reuse of an earlier feature.

Phase II: post-medieval activity
The majority of the remainder of the features can be assigned to this period, the pottery evidence indicating a 17th-19th-century date range. They comprise an occupation layer defined by a stone drain, a probable pit, a cobbled surface and associated drains.

Phase III: modern activity
Associated with extensive drainage, including stone-filled, ceramic and plastic pipe drains, this activity extends throughout every trench excavated.

A preliminary spatial analysis indicates the continuity of use or reuse of several medieval features into the 18th and 19th centuries of what the evidence suggests was a primarily agrarian landscape.