Long before the invention of refrigerators, ancient people found creative ways to keep their dairy products fresh. In parts of Ireland and Scotland, that sometimes involved burying mounds of butter in local bogs, where the low temperature, high acidity, and minimal oxygen would provide safe, long-term storage. One such piece of “bog butter” was recovered recently from Ireland’s Emlagh Bog. It weighs a massive 10 kilos (22 pounds) and it’s estimated to be over 2,000 years old – yet it appears to still technically be edible (although scientists advise against trying it).
The remarkable find was made by turf cutter Jack Conaway while he was cutting peat for fuel. Conaway discovered the butter 12 feet down and immediately contacted the Cavan County Museum about his find, which is now housing the bog butter in its Conservation Department.
According to the Museum, butter was once a luxury product, used in medieval times to pay taxes and rents. This particular lump of butter, however, lacks any kind of protective covering and was likely never intended to be dug up and used, leading researchers to suspect it was left as an offering to the gods.
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Surprisingly, this isn’t the biggest or oldest lump of bog butter to be recovered in Ireland. In 2013, another turf cutter found a massive container containing 45 kilograms (100 pounds) of butter that dated back 5,000 years.
+ Cavan County Museum
Via Epoch Times
Images via Cavan County Museum