A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!

Irish Bog Body Could Be World's Oldest

Monday, August 12, 2013


 

imageCOUNTY LAOIS, IRELAND—The remains of a young adult male discovered in a bog two years ago have been radiocarbon dated to 2000 B.C., almost 1,500 years older than experts initially thought. A bog body dating to 1300 B.C. had been the oldest known such discovery before the Laois man was unearthed by peat harvesters, who unfortunately destroyed much of the remains. While the exact cause of his death is unclear,  Eamonn Kelly, keeper of Irish antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, thinks the man was killed as part of a ritual sacrifice, and that a lack of calluses on his hands shows the man was probably a noble. “We believe that the victims of these ritual killings are kings that have failed in their kingship and have been sacrificed as a consequence, ”says Kelly.