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Abbeyshrule 2Approximately 5.5 kilos of disarticulated human bone was removed from different parts of the ledge or wall above the arches (Plate 2). All was mixed in with the soil, which appeared like garden soil and was about 30-50 cm in thickness. The bone was weathered to varying degrees and represented the partial remains of a number of individuals. There was no indication of in situ burial.

The ledged arch wall itself, which is not an original feature is likely to date no earlier than the 16th century, possibly dating to the 17th century. It superimposed an earlier blind-arch over a doorway (Plate 1).

The reason for the deposition of the human bones on the arch wall is still not completely clear. It is not unlikely, however, that they were found during works on the abbey or during grave-digging (19th and 20th century graves can be seen within the abbey ruins). They could even have been found in the locality and brought to be deposited in a sanctified site. That human remains would have been found very widely in the Abbey grounds is likely. The Cistercian Abbey dates from the late 12th or early 13th century and post-dated an early medieval ecclesiastical site on the grounds, as the adjoining graveyard contains the shaft of a 9th century High Cross.

The remains were excavated over three days from October 13th -15th and are currently awaiting an archeosteological report.

Plate 2: excavation on top of the arch wall, facing north.



Judith Carroll & Co Ltd
Archaeological Consultants
Ballybrack Road 
Dublin 18 

Tel: 01 6705067
Mobile: 087-9968819/ 087-3810933
Email: info@judithcarrollandco.ie
Website: www.judithcarrollandco.ie

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