Archaeological human remains were discovered in a Co. Meath bog last weekend. The discovery was reported to the National Museum of Ireland by Bord Na Mona workers at Rossan bog. The bog lies in Co.Meath but is close to the boarder with Co. Westmeath. Over the past few days, a team of archaeologists and conservators from the National Museum of Ireland investigated the discovery which consists of the lower leg and foot bones of an adult but whether male or female remains to be determind. The exact date of the remains is not known and will be established by radiocarbon dating. This is the second bog body from Rossan bog. The remains were found close to the discovery in 2012 of a bronze Age bog body of an adult which was radiocarbon dated to between 700 and 400 BC.
Further analysis of the human remains will take place in the National Museum of Ireland's conservation laboratory at Collins Barracks, Dublin.
The oxygen-free conditions that prevail in bogs assist in the preservation of organic material such as human tissue. The survival of such remains allows for more detailed research into past lives than if only the bone was to survive.
Bog bodies have been found across nothern Europe from Ireland to Scandinavia. Many show evidence for violent death and are believed to be sacrificial offerings connected to kingship and sovereignty.
Maeve Sikora of the Irish Antquities Division, who led the Museum's fieldwork team, said "I would like to thank the staff at Bord na Móna for reporting the find so quickly and for their assistance on site". The Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Raghnall Ó Floinn welcomed the new discovery saying "every new find helps to bring us closer to understanding the lives and beliefs systems of our ancestors".
The National Museum of Ireland holds the finest collection of bog bodies anywhere in the world. The best preserved examples along with related bog finds can be seen in the exhibition Kingship and Sacrifice at the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, Kildare St, Dublin.