Reimaging the Black Friary: Recent Approaches to Seeing Beyond Modern Activity at the Dominican Friary, Trim, Co Meath, Republic of Ireland

Authors: Green, A. and Cheetham, P.

Publisher: Near-Surface Geophysics Group


Archaeological and forensic searches for buried structural and human remains can, in some instances, be hindered by modern rubbish or rubble, often with poor data quality where ferrous objects are present, in clay soils, and/or in waterlogged areas. This study was a multi-method geophysical survey (ground-penetrating radar, electromagnetic, and gradiometry) of unexcavated areas at the Black Friary to delineate areas of anthropogenic activity and refine the standards for ground-penetrating radar survey with the intention of acquiring high resolution data as a method to maximise the potential to positively identify grave-like anomalies.

The Black Friary, a Dominican Friary founded in 1263, was one of several Dominican houses founded after the order arrived in Ireland. After the dissolution of religious orders in the 16th century, the Friary was demolished and quarried. Historic quarrying has produced a thick (c. 40-60 cm) rubble layer across most of the site which is overlain by modern dumping. Despite the destruction of the Friary, it continued to hold significance within the community, as evidenced by its continued use as a burial ground throughout the post-medieval period. The Friary is situated in a semi-urban setting outside the northern medieval boundary of Trim town. The surviving ruins of the Friary present as grassy hummocks and exposed stonework.

Source: Manual