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2,000-Year-Old Butter Dug From Irish Bog Is Still Edible

Jun 15, 2016 04:34 AM EDT
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A 2,000-year-old chunk of butter was unearthed from a peat bog in Ireland, and is believed to be still edible.
(Photo : cheeseslave / Flickr)

A 2,000-year-old chunk of butter was unearthed from a peat bog in Ireland, and is believed to be still edible.

The 22-pound butter was found last June 1 by Jack Conway while cutting turf in Emlagh bog in County Meath.

The "bog butter" was taken to the Cavan County Museum to be checked, and the curators said it was a "noteworthy" find.

"Butter, a long time ago, was very valuable - it was seen as a luxury," Savina Donohoe, Cavan County Museum curator, told FoxNews.com.

According to Donohoe, people used to preserve butter in peat bogs in ancient Ireland, which they buried in the ground and dug up at a later time. The bogs are said to have excellent preservative properties due to their low temperature, low oxygen and highly acidic environment.

What made it unusual, however, was that the butter wasn't buried in a wooden container or keg, which is what people usually do in storing butter.

"It may have been an offering to the gods," Donohoe said.

The butter was discovered to be 2,000 years old after analyzing the foliage and bits of earth covering the object.

The bog butter has now been transferred to the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin for further analysis.

According to Andy Haplin, assistant keeper in the National Museum's Irish Antiquities Division, the butter can still be eaten.

"Theoretically the stuff is still edible - but we wouldn't say it's advisable," Haplin told the Irish Times.

Haplin also said that the bog butter was significant as it was found in the Drakerath area, which where, in ancient times, inaccessible and extremely mysterious places. He added that the object, having been buried 12-feet underground, was not intended to be dug as what's normally done in ancient times.

"It is at the juncture of three separate kingdoms, and politically it was like a no-man's-land - that is where it all hangs together," Haplin said.

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