2018:009 - Durrow Demesne, Offaly

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Offaly Site name: Durrow Demesne

Sites and Monuments Record No.: OF009-005 Licence number: E004926

Author: Tracy Collins, Aegis Archaeology Limited

Site type: Early medieval ecclesiastical remains

ITM: E 631812m, N 730665m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.325284, -7.522481

This excavation was undertaken on behalf of the client (Offaly County Council) in advance of a walking route at Durrow Demesne under ministerial consent C839. It was agreed with the National Monuments Service that the trenches could be opened but excavation would cease at the top of any archaeological material encountered.

Two trenches were opened, measuring 15m by 2m and 17m by 2m respectively, in the north-west corner of the large field locally known as the Mart Field, across the supposed locations of ecclesiastical enclosures at Durrow, which were known from aerial photography and geophysical survey. Trench 1 revealed a fosse 6.8m in width. Its east edge showed evidence of heat, as the boulder clay was noticeably fire-reddened. There was a charcoal-filled small pit or large post-hole 2.7m to the west of the fosse. Trench 2 revealed a double fosse. The east example was 2.6m in width and the west example was 1.5m in width. The fosses were separated by a baulk of natural boulder clay 0.7m in width. All features were cut into the natural parent material, which was a yellowish-brown boulder clay and there was no intercutting of features.

No artefacts were recovered from the trenches, and no dating material was retrieved from the fosses.

The trenches have shown that the features noted on aerial photography and geophysical survey do exist subsurface. It is reasonable to interpret these fosses as enclosures relating to the ecclesiastical complex at Durrow. It cannot be established from this trenching if the fosses are contemporary, as concentric enclosures, or if they were successive over time.

32 Nicholas St, King's Island, Limerick V94 V6F7