2013:087 - BORRIS GREAT, Laois

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Laois Site name: BORRIS GREAT

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 13E273

Author: Martin E. Byrne

Site type: No archaeological significance

ITM: E 464781m, N 570044m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 51.866184, -9.963478

A programme of Testing was undertaken as part of the preparation of an Archaeological Impact Assessment with respect to the Borris Road Realignment Project – Phase 4 being undertaken by Laois County Council. In general, the works comprise the construction of a 720m approx. length of the Borris Road Realignment and an adjoining 460m long cul-de-sac road together with associated drainage, services diversions, fencing, walls, road lighting and accommodation works.

The subject site is located on the northern side of Borris Road, c. 1.25km to the north-east of the centre of Portlaoise. The area of the Phase 4 Realignment incorporates a section of the existing road, which is largely bounded on the south by individual/detached residential plots, with the access boundaries to a number located back from the road and fronted by green-space areas. The northern area of the subject realignment is largely bounded by agricultural lands (which form the area of archaeological testing), with a new school complex located at the eastern end and a residential plot at the western end. Such agricultural lands are bounded to the north by the Dublin–Cork railway line. In addition, the existing road frontage to such agricultural lands are largely formed by overgrown field banks with dense tree planting, although there is some evidence for a low stone wall along the part of the boundary at the western end.

There are no Recorded Monuments located within 300m of the development lands. No surface traces of archaeological interest/potential were noted as a result of cartographic or aerial photographic research undertaken in the preparation of the report and, likewise, no surface features of archaeological potential were noted as a result of a subsequent surface reconnaissance survey.

A total of twenty-seven test trenches, of varying lengths and orientations, were excavated within the greenfield/agricultural areas of the proposed realignment works areas. This included three long ‘centre-line’ trenches and twenty-four ‘off-set’ trenches  All trenches were excavated by machine fitted with a toothless ditching/grading bucket (1.8m wide), following which the sides and bases of the trenches were cleaned by hand and visually examined. In addition, all the spoil generated by the excavation of the test trenches was ‘raked-over’ in an attempt to increase the potential for the recovery of archaeological artefacts.

The results from the testing were consistently similar. The topsoil comprised moderately compact dry mid-brown silty sandy clay with moderate pebbles and small-medium cobbles, occasional large cobbles and very occasional small stones dispersed randomly throughout. The topsoil, which was up to 0.45m in depth/thickness (incl. grass/sod surface), represents plough-soil material. The topsoil lay directly upon compact orange/grey sandy clay containing moderate pebbles, cobbles and small stones, with occasional veins of grey clayey sand. This was investigated in a number of areas to a depth of 0.5mm which demonstrated that this basal layer represent the sterile natural subsoil.

No features, structures, deposits or artefacts of archaeological interest or potential were uncovered during the course of the testing.

Byrne Mullins & Associates, 7 Cnoc Na Greine Square, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare.