Top ten archaeological finds in Ireland

Top ten archaeological finds in Ireland

Secrets of Ireland’s ancient history discovered and preserved

Kerry O’Shea

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Ireland has a rich history of stunning archaeological finds. From jewelry, to people, to ancient sites, here are some of the more recent artifacts discovered in and  around Ireland.

1. Clonycavan Man

Clonycavan Man was discovered in Meath in February of 2003 after its remains dropped off of a peat cutting machine. Most interesting about him is that his hair appeared to have a sort of hair gel in it, which slicked his hair up into a mohawk. The ingredients of the “gel” were traced back to either France or Spain. Judging by the deep wounds in his skull, Clonycavan Man appeared to have been brutally murdered, supposedly by an axe approximately 2300 years ago. Clonycavan Man has found a new home and is on display at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

2.Oldcroghan Man

Oldcroghan Man was named for the location he was found, Croghan Hill in Offaly. This mummy had the distinguishing traits of being 6’6, quite tall for the time period he existed during, as well as neatly manicured nails. National Geographic reports that Oldcroghan’s body was preserved so finely that upon its discovery, a murder investigation was launched. Later, he was found to have been brutally murdered which was deducted from his lack of head and lower body. His stomach gave evidence of a wheat and buttermilk diet. He, along with Clonycavan Man (who was found only three months earlier and about 25 miles away), is on display at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

3.Linn Duachaill


The scene at Linn Duachaill  - Luke Torris

Just this month, a  Viking settlement village was discovered in Annagassan, County Louth. The village is presumed to be what was a Viking winter base, one of only two in Ireland. The untouched “virgin” site is said to be a massive discovery. After some testing by Dundalk’s County Museum, it was discovered that the site was in fact an area used to repair long ships, a base for inland raids and later, a trading site. Its importance is attributed to its early time period as it was founded in 841 among the earliest settlements of Vikings in Ireland.

4. Bog butter

This batch of butter was dug up in Tullamore and is believed to be a staggering 5,000 years old. The “butter” was discovered by turf cutters who found it seven feet underground it what appeared to be a “keg” or “urn” type capsule. They cut it open with a spade to find the butter inside. Presumably, the butter was buried as a form of refrigeration. Although ‘bog butter’ is a more common discovery around Ireland, the discovery in 2011 was remarkable for its size - 100 pounds! The substance was said to still have a “dairy smell,” though no one is positive what exactly the substance is.

5. 4000-year-old necklace found

After two thieves robbed a shop in Strokestown, Roscommon, they discarded the necklace and other documents in a dumpster in Dublin. Police, short on time before trash collection, luckily found the precious artifact which is believed to be 4,000 years old and a belonging of an early king of Ireland. The necklae, called a lunala, was originally found in 1945 when it was dug up in Roscommon. It was given to the Strokestown shopkeeper where he kept it locked away in a safe until the robbery.

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