Mummies in the Mire- Dalton Cox

18 Apr

Visiting the National Museum of Ireland’s Archeological Exhibition is not quite a visit to Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Though of historical significance, these items played little role in the world history books that we all grew up memorizing. The average twenty-year-old can only boggle at ancient Cypriot Tupperware for so long without running off for Starbucks, however one exhibit manages to be memorable: the primordial people, born 2,000 years before Christ, preserved and posing for camera-ready visitors. 

These “bog mummies” are found in the “Kingship and Sacrifice” exhibition of the museum. Found preserved by the pressure of the dense, acidic Irish peat, both “Clonycavan Man” and “Old Croghan Man” were discovered in 2003. Keeper of antiquities, Eamonn Kelly has worked on the preservation of both and theorizes that the men may have been kings, married to the Earth and sacrificed in times of famine or plague.

According to National Geographic, Clonycavan Man dates back to sometime between 392 and 201 B.C. He was discovered in Clonycavan, Ballivor, County Meath. It was revealed that at the time of his burial, he was using a hair product made with pine tree resin, native to Spain and southwest France; this imported “hair gel” reaffirms his high status. Kelly and his team have found that the body suffered blows to the chest and head before disembowelment.

Similarly “Old Croghan Man” was found near Croghan Hill, north of Daingean, County Offaly. According to a report by Archeology Magazine, he was approximately six and half feet tall, which was exceptionally tall for a man of the time. His diet also included meat, which was an expensive luxury, suggesting he also of noble status. Furthermore, he had finely manicured nails, which would be uncommon of men exposed to regular physical labor.


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