2006:1323 - Ardee, Louth

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Louth Site name: Ardee

Sites and Monuments Record No.: LH017–101 Licence number: C149, E2396

Author: Dominic Delany, Dominic Delany & Associates, Unit 3, Howley Court, Oranmore, Co. Galway.

Site type: Urban

ITM: E 696047m, N 790784m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.857623, -6.540001

Test excavation and monitoring of works associated with the North East Broadband Project, Phase II, in Ardee were carried out from August 2006 to February 2007. The excavation phase of the project involved opening a series of trenches throughout the town centre and its hinterland. The majority of the trenches were located along roads, either in the carriageway proper or the adjoining verge or footpath. A relatively short section of trench was excavated through a greenfield area to the south-west of the town. There were no river crossings other than at existing bridges. The trenches were 0.6m wide and excavated to a standard depth of 0.9m in carriageways and 0.6m in verges/footpaths. Junction boxes (1.25m2) were excavated where two or more trenches intersected and at regular intervals along long straight sections. A total of 8,264m of trenches were excavated during the course of the project. All trenches excavated within the area of archaeological constraint surrounding the historic town were monitored on a full-time basis, as were all works in greenfield areas. The remainder of the works were monitored on an intermittent basis.

Prior to development, nine test-trenches were excavated in areas of known archaeological sensitivity in the town. On the western side of the carriageway at St Mary’s Church on Market Street part of a ditch/pit feature was uncovered. It had a minimum width of 0.8m north–south and a minimum depth of 1m. The upper part of the cut had a steep break of slope and convex shape, while the lower part was almost vertical. The fill consisted of dark-grey-brownish clayey/sandy silt with inclusions of cockle and oyster shell, animal bone, small and medium-sized angular stones and fine roots. No datable finds were recovered, but the nature and loose composition of the fill suggests the feature is post-medieval or later in date.

Opposite the Bank of Ireland on Castle Street the footing of a wall was encountered in the trench’s east-facing section at a distance of 2.4m from the kerb on the eastern side of the carriageway. The wall was 0.4–0.5m in height and extended for 5.8m. It was orientated north-north-west/south-south-east with returns at either end, indicating that the structure extended westwards under what is now the modern carriageway. The wall was constructed from roughly hewn limestone blocks, roughly coursed and bonded with a light-grey lime-based mortar. No structure is indicated at this location on the first edition of the OS, therefore it would appear that the wall pre-dates 1837. The wall was not impacted on by the development and was preserved in situ. No further features, finds or deposits of archaeological note were encountered during the course of the project.