2004:0633 - PORTMARNOCK, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: PORTMARNOCK

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E1415

Author: SinŽad Phelan, Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd, 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Site type: Fulacht fiadh and medieval field system

ITM: E 724173m, N 743348m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.425608, -6.131604

An assessment was carried out in advance of a planning application for a major residential development proposed for a large parcel of coastal land between the villages of Portmarnock and Baldoyle. The site lies within the townlands of Maynetown and Portmarnock. A desktop study had highlighted the existence of two sites within the proposed development footprint: a tumulus or mound (SMR 15:14) in Portmarnock townland and an enclosure site (SMR 15:55) in Maynetown. A programme of archaeological investigation, entailing test-excavation by Angela Wallace (Excavations 2000, No. 328, 00E0732), and a geophysical survey was instigated to determine the extent of the archaeology in these areas. Across the land between the two known sites, a further programme of detailed geophysical survey was carried out.

Twenty-three test-trenches were mechanically excavated to a depth ranging from 0.35m to 0.9m across the proposed development area. They were excavated in specific locations to investigate anomalies identified in the geophysical survey. In some cases these anomalies were found to be modern land drains, silty variations in the undisturbed natural clays and ploughing trends. Archaeological activity was identified in Trenches 1-4, Trench 8 and Trenches 21 and 22, identifying two areas of archaeological potential.

The first area, a series of medieval field ditches, is located 45m east from the base of the tumulus and measures 140m by 50m (east-west) (Trenches 1-4, 21 and 22). Sherds of Dublin-type cooking, fine and coarsewares and Bristol Redcliffe-type wares, dating to the 12th-14th centuries, were retrieved from these features. The second area of potential, a pit or trough feature, is located 225m south-east from the base of the tumulus (Trench 8). Such features are generally associated with fulachta fiadh. A reference on OPW maps from the 1980s states that there may have been a fulacht fiadh in the field to the east of the Portmarnock mound, which 'appears to have been removed by ploughing' (OPW files). This 'trough' feature confirms that a fulacht fiadh did indeed exist to the east of the mound.