2004:1707 - AD 1, ARDAN, Westmeath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Westmeath Site name: AD 1, ARDAN

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E1101

Author: Laurence McGowan, 27 Lindenwood Park, Foyle Springs, Derry for Cultural Resource Development Services Ltd.

Site type: No archaeological significance

ITM: E 637047m, N 734040m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.355271, -7.443510

This work was undertaken as part of a programme of testing ahead of the proposed realignment of the N6 Dublin-Galway carriageway. The site is one of sixteen sites of archaeological potential identified during the compilation of an EIS and is located in the townland of Ardan, c. 4km south-east of Kilbeggan. The site is bisected by the boundary of two fields that are currently in rough pasture, at Chainage point 33,550m. The surrounding landscape is quite uneven and is marked by several low mounds and hillocks. The site is situated on a small hummock that protrudes from a low-lying boggy area which has seen extensive reclamation work in the past. The mound is heavily overgrown with ash and hawthorn trees and thick briars.

The site encompasses a low mound that protrudes from a low-lying area of boggy land. A wide and open field drain passes immediately to the north of this mound feature and it is hypothesised that this mound may represent upcast from the excavation of this drain. A series of test-trenches were excavated into the mound to test this theory.

No definitive evidence of archaeological activity was uncovered in any of the trenches. Two small, localised deposits of burnt material were uncovered, both of which were very insubstantial, having reached maximum depths of 0.07m and 0.2m respectively. The first was irregular in plan and measured 0.8m by 0.45m. The black silty peat fill was not deposited in a cut but rather filled a shallow depression in the natural subsoil. A section excavated through the second feature revealed a shallow pit measuring 1.4m by 0.5m. It too contained a single charcoal-rich silty peat fill. However, this was heavily disturbed by root activity and it was noted that several old roots were included in the matrix.

The mound would seem to be of natural formation and it seems reasonable to suggest that the anomalies uncovered during testing may represent a past attempt to clear the vegetation in the area by burning.