Bronze Age burial pits are believed to have been found at the site of a planned development in south Dublin.
Details of the “significant” archaeological discoveries emerged as part of plans submitted for a village centre and residential development in Carrickmines.
A Strategic Housing Development application recently lodged with An Bord Pleanála is seeking permission for 402 apartments and 41 houses on a site known as Priorsland.
The mixed-use village centre will include a supermarket, retail units, a creche, gym and community space.
Two road bridges across the Carrickmines Stream, to serve a future school site and provide for interim pedestrian/cyclist access to the Luas, are also included in the plans.
However, an Environmental Impact Assessment Report submitted as part of the application process reveals that trench testing carried out in 2018 found “seven previously unrecorded areas of archaeological significance”.
According to the report, these comprise “a probable” Bronze Age penannular ditch enclosing “at least four cremation pit burials and two pits”, in addition to “two single pits and four areas containing disturbed spreads of burnt mound material”.
It describes the archaeology identified in one particular area as “significant in both its type and form”.
“The presence and density of the urn burials within such an enclosure is indicative of its local importance,” the reports says.
Councillor Hugh Lewis (Ind) said “careful consideration” must be given to the Priorsland application in light of the report’s findings.
“It is clear from the depth and scale of the archaeological discoveries made during recent trench testing that this site is of significant historical importance,” he said.
“The relevant heritage policies of the county development plan exist for the greater public interest and should be adhered to.
“We cannot allow the planning process to circumvent the necessity to protect and preserve our history.”
Councillor Lewis added that a 2008 archaeological report prepared as part of a previous planning application for the site did not make any significant discoveries.
He said the council’s views on the application will be outlined in the chief executive’s report to the planning board.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s new development plan states: “It is a policy objective to seek the preservation in situ (or where this is not possible or appropriate, preservation by record) of previously unknown sites, features and objects of archaeological interest that become revealed through development activity.
“In respect of decision making on development proposals, the council will have regard to the advice and/or recommendations of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.”
The development plan also contains a policy objective “to protect historical and/or closed burial grounds within the county and encourage their maintenance in accordance with good conservation practice and to promote access to such sites where possible”.
The Priorsland site is located close to the Glendruid Dolmen, where heritage campaigners have objected to separate plans for 500 high-rise apartments, just 200 metres from the neolithic tomb.
An Bord Pleanála is due to make a decision on both applications in early August.