Human Remains

Here's the ancient bog body discovered in Co Meath

Part of a leg and foot were discovered by Bord na Mona workers.

photo-3327 National Museum of Ireland National Museum of Ireland

THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL REMAINS of a person have been found in a bog in Co Meath.

The discovery was made at Rossan Bog over the weekend and was reported to the National Museum of Ireland by Bord Na Mona workers.

The bog is in Co Meath but is close to the border with Co Westmeath.

After the call from the Bord na Mona employees, a team of archaeologists and conservators from the National Museum went to Rossan Bog to investigate the discovery.

What has been found so far are the lower leg and foot bones of an adult – but it’s not known yet whether the person was male or female.

What happened to the person?

Maeve Sikora of the Irish Antiquities Division led the Museum’s fieldwork team, and told that it’s always exciting to get a call about such a find.

The Director of the National Museum of Ireland Raghnall Ó Floinn said that “every new find helps to bring us closer to understanding the lives and beliefs systems of our ancestors”.

Sikora said that some tissue survived on the foot, which will help in the analysis of the remains.

“Bord na Mona were fantastic,” she said. “We have an agreed protocol in place.”

Because it’s organic, the body starts to break down very quickly once exposed, but the “maximum amount of information was preserved that could be preserved” thanks to the staff getting in touch with the museum so swiftly.

“It’s a slow process from now on,” said Sikora.

The body was lifted in a block and will be excavated in a laboratory environment by trained archaeologists and conservationists before it is examined by osteoarchaeologists and other experts.

It’s currently being kept in a refrigerator. “We will take it out for short periods of time,” said Sikora.

“Every single one is unique,” said Sikora of the find.

You’re getting a clearer idea of what our ancestors looked like.

The exact date of the remains is not known and will be established by radiocarbon dating. This is the second bog body from Rossan bog, and the remains were found close to where an adult Bronze Age body was discovered in 2012.

This latter body was radiocarbon dated to between 700 and 400 BC.

Further analysis of the new remains will take place in the National Museum of Ireland’s conservation laboratory at Collins Barracks, Dublin.

Sikora said that tissue found on some bog bodies has shown they died a violent death. It is believed that some people found in bogs may have been sacrificial offerings.

The National Museum of Ireland holds a number of bog bodies, the best preserved of which can be found in the exhibition Kingship and Sacrifice at the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology on Kildare St in Dublin.

Read: Hidden Ireland: The passage tomb that predates Newgrange by 700 years>

Read: Ancient bog body found in Meath>

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