Clonycavan Man-Early Iron Age

17 Sep

Matthew DiCenso

When I first walked into the museum on Friday morning, I took a look around and saw various objects. There were different artifacts that all contained their own aspects of Irish culture. I wasn’t too surprised initially, because all of them fit in with the museum and made sense to me. However, after a short period I found myself in front of the Clonycavan Man. This was one of the many bog bodies on display in the museum. This artifact certainly caught my attention for obvious reasons and stood out compared to the other pieces in the museum.

According to scientific analysis, Clonycavan Man was a person who was killed in the BC stage. After being murdered he was placed in a bog which was “on the boundary between the ancient kingdoms of Brega and Mide”. His skin was well preserved, especially his hair. As you can see in the picture below, Clonycavan Man’s hair style is clearly still visible. This is due to a combination of the minerals of the bog and also the type of gel Clonycavan Man used in his hair. The gel was made from “resin” which was “imported from France and Spain”. As the description at the museum shows, a man from his time period who was able to trade with foreign countries was definitely a figure high up on the social ladder. But although his facial features were still visible, the only other parts of his body that still remain intact are his torso and parts of his arms. Clonycavan Man was torn to pieces and scientists also believe that he took blows to the head, most likely from an axe. For the most part the bog kept his body in good shape (even though he was already dead) and gave him a leather-like appearance.

In relation to this period of Irish history, bog bodies were generally not rare. Once again, a major cause of the “bog people” could quite possibly be human sacrifices. And perhaps most of the sacrifices were done to people with higher social rankings. Another bog body in the National Museum was “Oldcroghan Man” who suffered a similar death to Clonycavan Man. The primary difference between these two bog bodies was the body parts that were left of them. When someone mentions the word “artifact”, a large number of items can come to mind. The fact that a bog body is considered an artifact intrigued me a great deal. When I saw the Clonycavan Man in the National Museum of Ireland, I had no choice but to choose him for my blog.

Clonycavan Man

Clonycavan Man


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