Tuesday, July 30, 2013
The Cashel Bog body

The Cashel Bog body

Remains are of a young man killed in human sacrifice around the year 2000 BC LAOIS holds the unusual record of having the oldest bog body discovered in Europe. Tests carried out on the remains of the bog body discovered in 2011 in Cashel Bog has proved it to be the oldest in Europe. The remains are of a young man who was killed in human sacrifice around the year 2000 BC. This date means that what is now called ‘Cashel man’ is the oldest body with flesh on it that has ever been discovered in Europe. The findings have been reported by Eamonn Kelly of the National Museum in the latest volume of ***Ossory, Laois and Leinster,*** the history journal covering mainly counties Kilkenny and Laois. So surprised were the experts at the date of the body that a second series of tests was carried out in England on the peat found above and below it and these tests confirmed the body’s age. It had been thought initially that the body might have been that of an English Elizabethan soldier involved in the Nine Years War of the late 16th and early 17th century. When the initial carbon dating results were returned, however, it became clear that something of extreme historical significance had been discovered. Dr Kelly maintains that the wounds on the body, and the fact that it seems to have been tied down beneath hazel rods, all point to the man being the victim of a ritual sacrifice. “All the indications are that the human remains from Cashel Bog tell of the fate of a young king who, through folly or misadventure, was deemed to have failed to appease the goddess on whose benevolence his people depended, and who paid the ultimate price,” said Dr Kelly. The journal in which these findings are exclusively reported, ***Ossory, Laois and Leinster***, is edited and published in Crosspatrick, Co Kilkenny. Its editor, Pádraig Ó Macháin, says that this story proves the value of local history publications in being able to communicate important historical information in an accessible way to the relevant local communities. The journal also contains articles on the Lalor family and on the Book of Leinster. The journal is available for sale at bookshops in Portlaoise and at Abbeyleix Heritage Centre.

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