A medieval cemetery at Ardreigh, Co. Kildare
Archaeological excavations at Ardreigh were commissioned by Kildare County Council in advance of the realignment of the R417 road between Athy and Carlow. A substantial medieval cemetery was uncovered, with a total of nearly 1,600 burials within the excavation boundary. Radiocarbon dating shows the cemetery was in use from the 7th century until the early 15th century – spanning the early to high medieval period. Simple, unlined pit graves were used for all the burials with no evidence for coffins, shroud pins or grave markers. Grave goods recovered included metal objects, bone artefacts, shells and a possible bead. Analysis of the skeletons themselves showed their diet must have been high in grain-based foods - bread and porridge for example. While the general health of the population was good, there was evidence for joint diseases such as osteoarthritis in the older people. Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis were also identified and there was even one person who had leprosy. Some of the skeletal remains even showed evidence of surgery, including a leg amputation and a case of trepanation.
See our Flickr album for detail skeleton photos from this project.