2,000-Year-Old Bog Butter Unearthed in Irish Bog

Posted on June 14, 2016

Bog Butter from Emlagh Bog

A 2000-year-old 22-pound lump of bog butter has been unearthed from an Irish bog. The butter was discovered by Jack Conway, a turf cutter working in the Emlagh bog in County Meath, Ireland. It was located twelve feet below the surface of the bog.

Conway took the bog butter lump to the Cavan County Museum. Researchers at the museum studied the lump and estimated it to be over 2,000 years old. The scientists say the bog butter is theoretically still edible but they don't want to try eating it.

The museum says the low temperature, low oxygen and high acidic environment in peat bogs is what gives them their preservative properties. Butter in medieval Ireland was sometimes offered to the spirits and gods. That could be why this butter was submerged in the bog.

Scientists examine bog butter from Emlagh Bog


Andy Halpin, assistant keeper in the museum's Irish Antiquities Division, told The Irish Times, "These bogs in those times were inaccessible, mysterious places. It is at the juncture of three separate kingdoms, and politically it was like a no-man's-land - that is where it all hangs together."

Photo: Cavan County Museum

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