2,000 Year Old Bog Butter

I thought this article about the recent discovery of a well-preserved 2,000 year old barrel filled with butter was pretty neat. 

It was found by workmen in a peat bog in Ireland and weighs some 77 pounds.  Though the butter itself has turned into a waxy substance, the whole of it is remarkably well-preserved — owing to the cool, acid- and oxygen-free conditions which prevail in these bogs.

According to this page, discoveries of bog butter are not uncommon at all in Ireland — though a 2,000 year old find is apparently unprecedented.  The children in the image above are pretending to eat one of these more ordinary discoveries.  

Many well-preserved organic materials are in fact found in the peat bogs of Europe and the British Isles.  Most familiar are probably the bog bodies — such as the spectacularly well-preserved Tollund Man, discovered in Denmark in 1950.      

Greensboro Public Library has several books on bodies recovered from these peat bogs, the best of which, though published in 1969, is P.V. Glob’s The Bog People:  Iron Age Man Preserved.  We also have two juveniles on this fascinating topic:  Bodies From the Bog by James M. Deem; and Bog Bodies by Janet Buell. 

Written in Bones:  How Human Remains Unlock the Secrets of the Dead, edited by Paul Bahn, also includes a section on bodies recovered from the peat bogs of Europe.


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