Friday, August 11, 2006

Ancient religious book found in Irish bog

Hailed by the National Museaum of Ireland as the "Irish equivalent to the Dead Sea Scrolls", the discovery of an early Christian psalter that appears to date back as far as AD800 is the "greatest find ever from a European bog".
The ancient religious manuscript was discovered two weeks ago in a peat bog at Faddan More, in north Tipperary.
Further excavation of the site also uncovered a fine leather pouch in which the manuscript was originally kept, as well as other small fragments.
It was considered that the book may have been deliberatley hidden in the peat all those centuries ago.
The large format manuscript comprises about 20 pages and appears to be of an Irish Early Christian Psalter, written on vellum.
One page, which was open when it was found, is still legible.
Psalm 89 is set out with 45 letters per line and a maximum of 40 lines to the page.
This find is not the first from the area - six years ago, a leather satchel was unearthed in the same bog. That has been radiocarbon dated to between the seventh and ninth centuries AD. Two ancient wooden vessels were also discoverd in the bog in recent years.
The area around Faddan More bog is rich in medieval history with the foundation sites of several monastaries located nearby.
Dr Pat Wallace, the National Museum's director said that the rare find: “testifies to the incredible richness of the early Christian civilisation of this island and to the greatness of ancient Ireland." She described the find as being of staggering importance.
The psalter will now be subject to a long and painstaking process of restoration,
Source material and photo: The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner and The Guardian


Cindy Thomson said...

Hi Margaret,

They are always finding things in Irish bogs that are preserved. It's very exciting.

dale said...

Hi Margaret, Thanks for posting this information and photo. very interesting.
Regards, Dale
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