The 2022–2023 Journal of the Kildare Archaeological Society includes an article on the ACSU excavation of a late Iron Age / early medieval cemetery in the townland of Southgreen, on the northwest side of Kildare town. This excavation, undertaken between October 2019 and March 2020, revealed 35 simple earth-cut graves, some of which were stone lined, as well as the remains of 3 ring-ditches. The earliest phase comprised the ring-ditches and associated central inhumation burials, which began sometime in the mid-third to fifth century AD. This was followed by additional burials placed inside and around these monuments in the fifth–sixth century.
The site was directed by Donald Murphy and the burials were excavated under the supervision of ACSU osteoarchaeologist Glenn Gibney.
The published article by Glenn focuses on the analysis of the human remains, of which there were 36 articulated skeletons, all aligned east–west with the heads to the west. Of these, 29 were adults and 7 were non-adults. Notably, females were dominant, likely comprising up to 21 of the adult skeletons, while there was also a high concentration of middle and older adults. The age-at-death of the non-adults varied from perinate (birth ±1 month) to adolescent (13–17 years). Analysis of the bones also suggested that the cemetery was used by a familial group. This was based on the presence of congenital abnormalities on at least four individuals and the possible clustering of burials containing individuals sharing similar genetic variation in the skeleton.
While there was no evidence for coffins or burial shrouds, the position of the feet of one middle-aged adult male suggested he may have been tightly wrapped or bound. Only one grave included an artefact and this was a conical-shaped worked stone, similar to examples found in Iron Age burials at Knowth, Co. Meath and Freestone Hill, Co. Kilkenny. Another interesting discovery was a double burial, which consisted of a middle-aged female with a 36–40 gestational weeks perinate placed in her arms. ACSU illustrator Oisín O’Brien created a poignant artists impression of what this burial may have looked like.