‘Bog Butter’ dating back to 2,000 years discovered in Co Meath, Ireland

Bog was used by ancient people to preserve dead bodies

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Bog butter. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • A 2,000 years old “bog butter” weighing 22-pounds recently discovered
  • The confounding fact is that it could also be “theoretically… still edible”
  • Such methods of preserving things in bogs were surprisingly common back in those days

An enormous lump of “bog butter” weighing 22-pounds, which is believed to be buried almost 2,000-year-ago, was recently discovered in Co Meath, Ireland. But why would one bury it with intent to preserve it for so long? There is only one possible reason – Ancient butter experts believe that it was once offering to the gods.

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Bog butter it as a “creamy white dairy product, which smells like a strong cheese.”  The massive find, while not unusual, has been enclosed in a refrigerated case and given to the National Museum, where it will be preserved, said an atlasobscura report.

Such methods of preserving things in bogs were surprisingly common back in ancient times. Without salt, butter would spoil quickly, but the cold, low-oxygen environment of the bog could probably act as an unreal refrigerator. To ensure the protection of Bog butter, it is sometimes found enclosed in wooden containers or animal skin. Bog was even used by ancient people to preserve dead bodies.

The Butter which is estimated to be over 2,000 years old has gone to the Conservation Department, National Museum for research and analysis. Image source: Caravan County Museum
The Butter which is estimated to be over 2,000 years old has gone to the Conservation Department, National Museum for research and analysis. Image source: Caravan County Museum

The confounding fact is that it could also be “theoretically… still edible” according to Andy Halpin, one of the Irish National Museums’ assistant keepers. Although, it won’t be advisable to taste it before proper examination and there is little possibility of it tasting good. Also, if it’s true that it was an offering to God then one would have to figure out whether or not to eat the butter meant for Gods.

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Archaeologist Ross MacLeod commented on the quantity of butter discovered in Galway. Speaking to the Irish Times he said, “It would have been a substantial loss to the family that buried the butter in the bog that they never recovered it. Perhaps the person who buried it died or forgot where it was left…That might have been stored up by a family during the summer and put into the bog for use during the cold winter months. Its loss could have been a tremendous one for some family a long, long time ago.”

-By Pashchiema, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @pashchiema

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