This is the oldest bog body found in Ireland and might prove to be the oldest ever found anywhere...he was unearthed by a turf cutting machine in County Laois in 2011 but it's only now more details have been revealed.
He dates from the Bronze Age...that's four thousand years ago....and was probably a sacrifical victim because he was placed in a crouched position and there were wooden stakes around the body...one arm had been broken and there were severe cuts on his back. Unfortunately the turf machine had all but destroyed his head,face and chest which would have probably shown other signs of a violent assault...
But there is enough of the bowel left for tests to be done to determine what foods he ate before his death...most of the bog bodies found in Ireland so far have traces of honey and milk in the stomach and bowels which historians believe indicate those chosen for sacrifice were fed a special diet...
The 'new' thinking is that those bodies found between boundaries and close to important inauguration sites were kings who somehow 'failed' to protect their people or their crops and animals...and I've put failed in inverted commas because it could include a disease of cattle, a failure of crops or a plague of some sort which struck the tribe.
The king was the all-giver and had to protect his tribe from any harm so it's reasonable to imagine that if he 'failed' he would have been sacrificed to the gods.
He has been named Cashel man, and once he's been preserved and tests have been carried out, then he'll join the other bog bodies on display in the Musuem in Dublin.
It is an exciting find...and another important detail in our understanding of the Bronze Age in Ireland.
Eamonn Kelly, who is Keeper of Irish Antiquities at the National Musuem in Dublin , ensures human remains are treated with huge respect and kindness...and with the dignity they deserve. He said, while studying the bog bodies already on display, that those remains were once people who held small babies and had people plait their hair...they ate and drank and made love...and it is right and it is proper that we treat their remains with care and tenderness...
Laois is pronounced Leesh...