2009:624 - HOUSE 23, THE DESERTED VILLAGE, SLIEVEMORE, Mayo

County: Mayo Site name: HOUSE 23, THE DESERTED VILLAGE, SLIEVEMORE

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 08E0578 ext.

Author: Stuart Rathbone, 124 Forest Park, Drogheda, Co. Louth.

Site type: Post-medieval

ITM: E 465012m, N 808593m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.008889, -10.059444

During 2009 limited excavations were carried out by the Achill Field School at House 23. House 23 has been under excavation since 2004 and much of the interior of the building and its immediate surroundings have now been fully investigated. The building is a small two-roomed cabin with extensive garden plots to the north and west and a substantial manure pit to the east. A cobbled roadway runs past the south of the building. Excavations were undertaken in four locations during 2009.

The excavations over the manure pit begun in 2008 were extended to the west to connect with the excavations of the house. The western side of the manure pit was found to be demarcated by a stone revetment, which was actually the eastern side of a very substantial rectangular foundation upon which the house had been constructed. The revetment consisted of a double row of large boulders behind which there was a mass of smaller stones forming a rubble platform. The area between the revetment and the wall of the house, c. 1m wide, previously must have been paved, as its upper surface was far too uneven to have been used to access the building. Three large flat slabs of stone survived within the doorway and are taken to indicate what the paving would have looked like before it was removed.

A small trench was opened immediately south of the southern wall of the house to examine the southern edge of the large rectangular foundation mentioned above. The large boulder revetment was seen to continue right along the southern edge of the building but in this case the retained material also contained several large flat boulders along with the smaller stones. In this location the distance between the revetment and the wall of the house was a little larger than at the east.

A test-pit was excavated within the south-eastern corner of the house to examine the nature of the foundations upon which the building was placed. It was found that the floor surface of the building was set upon c. 0.7m of deposited material that overlay the rubble foundation observed to the south and east of the building.

The final area investigated in 2009 was a continuation of the trench started in 2008 over the cobbled roadway to the south-west of House 23. The trench was extended 2m to the west revealing more of the cobbled surface. A 1m-wide section was cut through the surface of the road to a depth of 0.5m. This revealed a deep sandy foundation but no trace of an earlier surface, as had been discovered when the road to the south-east of House 23 was examined in 2007. This may suggest that the resurfacing was a localised event, repairing an area that had been damaged, and not a complete resurfacing of the entire road as previously suggested.