ME01671 - ODDER,BELPERE (Skreen By., Killeen ED),BELPERE (Skreen By., Skreen ED) - Embanked enclosure

You are here Home  > Embanked enclosure >  ME01671 - ODDER,BELPERE (Skreen By., Killeen ED),BELPERE (Skreen By., Skreen ED) - Embanked enclosure
Item image
Rath Maeve is located on an escarpment which occurs at the S end of the N-S ridge that has the monuments of the Hill of Tara at its N end, c. 1km distant. The soil is a grey-brown podzolic. The large enclosure is depicted as having two banks on the 1836 edition of the OS 6-inch map where it is described as ‘Rath Maeve’, but a second bank has never been described by any commentator and is probably illusory. A single bank encloses an oval, slightly domed interior (ext. dims 270m NE-SW: 235m NW-SE). The enclosure is best preserved at the north where the bank reaches a maximum internal height of 2.5m, with a flattened top, and there is an accentuated drop to the exterior of 4m. In well-preserved stretches, the bank is 7-10m wide at the base and reaches a maximum width of 15m in the west. The ground level surrounding the enclosure on this side is much lower than the level of the interior owing to its location on the escarpment. Thus the builders used a natural feature to enhance the size of the enclosing bank, and the shape of the natural escarpment dictated, to a certain extent, the location and ground plan of Rath Maeve. A townland boundary ditch runs outside the NE section of the monument, but its dimensions (Wth 1.5m; D1m) are too slight to have been the source of the bank. This material is most likely to have come from a scarped area, 25m wide, which can be traced along the inside edge or the bank. This gives the interior of Rath Maeve a domed shape. There are eight breaks along the circuit of the bank which appear to be the result of later disturbance, in addition to the original entrance (Wth 20m) at W where it has been dug into the natural escarpment. The townland boundary, which crosses the western part of the monument N-S, has an irregular kink and may have been diverted in this manner to respect an internal feature which was removed after the construction of the boundary. This occurs at the highest point within the enclosure, at the place from which the entire monument is visible. Archaeological testing (05E0185) by J. O’Neill c. 50m outside to the NE at the closest point produced no archaeological material ( 2005:1185). (Ó Ríordáin 1964, 24; Evans 1966, 177; Stout 1991, 257; Newman 1997, 189-90) The perimeter was damaged in 2007, which resulted in the removal of the outer face of the bank at SE (L c. 110m) and the removal of vegetation from its surface at NE (L c. 80m). A stone deposit noted along the length of the damage in the SE section is probably from the outer edge of the original bank. Remedial work required the restoration of the original profile of the bank, field walking of the ploughed field to the S, and limited necessary excavation (E003465) by F. O’Carroll. The field walking produced 156 pieces of stone but preliminary analysis suggests that only seven showed signs of being worked. A stepped NW-SE section through the damaged bank at Gap 9, and a sondage at its base, in the E part of the perimeter was very rewarding. (O’Carroll 2007) The datum of the natural boulder clay dropped over 1.4m from the interior to the exterior, and a distinct low scarp (Wth 1.5m; H 0.3-0.35m) down to the interior was noticeable from beneath the centre of the bank. An orange – brown silty layer sat into this scarp with a thin humus over it, forming the base of the main bank. The lower bank material was derived largely from boulder clay and formed a level platform (Wth 4m; max. T 0.3m), with tip lines from the NW, or the interior of the monument. Further dump material, including a concentration of stones, was added to the SE and extended the platform to the extant outer edge of the bank (total Wth c. 6.5m). This was topped with a mix of boulder clay and topsoil beneath a gravel-rich layer, and both of these were retained by stone revetments at NW and SE creating an upright bank (total Wth c. 3.3m; H c. 0.75m). Topsoil sealed the bank and a compressed soil accumulated against the outer faces of the revetments. A small post-hole (dims 0.15-0.18m; D 0.14m) was found in the subsoil c. 1.5m inside the line of the inner revetment, and this was sealed by a compacted layer of sandy clay with stones that produced two pieces of struck chert, the only artefacts recovered. The post-hole may have been used as a marker to guide the original works, and the compacted layer may have formed a ramp up to the bank. This deposit was sealed by four layers of slump from the bank that can be separated into two earlier deposits of small angular stones, perhaps indicating a rapid initial collapse, and two layers of compacted soils with pebbles that meld into the ploughsoil. A gully (Wth 1.15m; max. D 0.7m), sealed with metaled surfaces, was dug through these slumped layers inside the bank and along the side of the entrance gap (L 8.5m). However, any slumping of the outer face of the bank did not appear in the section and must have been removed by persistent farming activity. On this side a flat-bottomed ditch (Wth 5.5m; D 0.75m plus), filled with organic deposits from which modern debris was recovered, is c. 4m outside the surviving outer edge of the bank and c. 1m lower. (O’Carroll 2007) See the attached section drawing from O'Carroll 2007, fig. 9 Compiled by: Michael Moore Date of revision: 10 January 2017 Amended: 12 April 2022 This monument is subject to a preservation order made under the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2014 (PO no. 2/2008). O’Carroll, F. 2007 Interim Report, Rath Maeve: Archaeological Field Walking, Investigation and Remedial Works at Rath Maeve. Licence: E003465. Unpublished report, CRDS

Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage

Monument Details

ODDER,BELPERE (Skreen By., Killeen ED),BELPERE (Skreen By., Skreen ED), Meath
53.5666, -6.60911

Nearby Images -

Nearby Objects - Europeana

Close Reviews

Leave a Review