Ancient, still-edible chunk of butter unearthed in Irish bog
Would you eat ancient butter? A 2,000-year-old 20-pound chunk of butter has been unearthed from a peat bog in Ireland, which is said to still be edible.
The large lump of butter was discovered by farmer Jack Conway while cutting turf for fuel in Emlagh Bog, County Meath on June 1. The strange rugby-ball shaped object was buried about 16 feet down in the bog.
Conway quickly realized that he had found what is known as ‘bog butter’ and contacted the nearby Cavan County Museum. “It’s very noteworthy,” Savina Donohoe, curator of the Cavan County Museum, told FoxNews.com. “Butter, a long time ago, was very valuable – it was seen as a luxury.”
It was not unusual for people to bury butter in peat bogs in ancient and early medieval Ireland. With low temperature, low oxygen and a highly acidic environment, bogs have excellent preservative properties.
However, the Emlagh Bog find is unusual because it wasn’t buried in a wooden container or keg, which was normal practice for storing bog butter. “It may have been an offering to the gods,” said Donohoe.
By analyzing the foliage and pieces of earth around the object, experts dated the bog butter to at least 2,000 years ago.