Oldcroghan Man

15 Sep

Before going into the museum, I assumed it would be like most museums I had visited in the past. Captivating beauty, history, and alluring artifacts. The Irish Museum was quite the opposite. Not only did it capture, and highlight raw beauty, but instead gave us as visitors the tools to really see what life was like in Neolithic times, while still giving a broad overview of many different works of art.

As I walked through the museum, I kept on reading the numerous blurbs about each piece of art. I loved the way they not only gave you facts about the works, but also incorporated information about how people lived, and what life was like in a time that many of us can barely imagine. The piece that caught my eye the most was the Oldcroghan Man. This was the body of a 25 year old man thats remains were found at the bottom of a bog. It was finally discovered in late 2003, and the remains consisted of nothing but a torso, and hands. What was most fascinating to me is how easily the scientist that inspected the body could tell his overall diet, his social stature, and even what his last meal was just from his torso. Because the body was found in a bog; extremely rich in minerals and nutrients the organs and hands were all still in tact. From his fingernails, they could tell that his diet was rich with meats and also that he most likely did not do a lot of manual labor; meaning that he must of been high in society. Per old Irish tradition, one of the ways to show submission is to suck on a kings nipples. On the body, his nipples had been severed off, which meant that he was not eligible to be in the Kingship. He had a gash in his left arm from trying to protect himself from the wound that probably killed him.  Also, after studying his stomach, they detected that his last meal was most likely some kind of cereal and buttermilk which was very different from his regular diet.

For some reason, I really felt like I could relate this back to my own life. We all come from different places, we all have different scars on our bodies and markings that show where we have been, just like this corpse from hundreds of years ago. I found looking at this severed body very humane in a sense. We could truly see his suffering, and also his successes. He was clearly a man of higher class, just from looking at his hands and his diet. Clearly something had taken a turn for the worst because his body was completely mutilated. But yet, we still get that heroic statement from him trying to shield himself from the wounds that took his life in the end. This shows in the most honest sense possible how no matter what time period it may be, we all have our own personal hurdles and wounds to over come and also embrace. This really made me feel closer to not only Ireland’s history, but also to connecting more from where I come from. Relating back to Ireland’s history as a whole, I found it interesting as to how they were able to dissect this body in order to understand what life had been like for people before them.

Cite: National Museum of Ireland

-Leila ZuaiterImage

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