Large 2,000 year-old lump of butter found in an Irish bog

Large 2,000 year-old lump of butter found in an Irish bog

Picture of the bog butter at the County Cavan Museum

A LARGE lump of ancient butter, buried 16-feet deep and said to be as old as Jesus Christ, has been unearthed by a farmer while he was working on his bog in Co Meath.

The egg-shaped lump of butter, weighing 10-kilograms, is 2,000 years old according to the County Cavan Museum, which Jack Conway (the farmer who found the butter) contacted after the find.

Bog butter usually waxy and a creamy white or very pale yellow in colour. It is thought that our ancestors used the peat bogs as a sort of fridge.

The butter has now been sent to the National Museum where it researched and can be dated more accurately, says the museum's curator, Savina Donohoe.

Donohoe told The Irish Post the National Museum will analyse the foliage around the butter to better accurately estimate its age.

After it has been analysed, it will return to the County Cavan Museum where it will be displayed. She said that the butter will have to "be kept in the proper conditions" so that it doesn't melt.

Donohoe said she could not put a monetary value on the butter, it is fantastic for the county's history and heritage and "makes it [the job] all worthwhile".

Butter was seen as a form of wealth but this piece of butter was not intended to be used again as it was buried whole and not stored in a wooden container, Donohoe explains.

Although they can't be 100 per cent sure why the butter was buried in the bog, Donohue's best guess is "it was buried to be an offering to the gods and not to be lifted from the ground again, which is why it was buried so deep."