Category: Archive

6th Century crozier found in Offaly bog

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Andrew Bushe

DUBLIN — The country’s oldest Christian crozier, or bishop’s staff, has been found buried in a bog in County Offaly.

Bord na Mona said the 1.3-meter crozier, which dates from the 6th Century, was discovered during arch’ological excavation of an ancient wooden trackway through Lemanaghan Bog.

The crozier, which is at least 100 years older than similar items found in Ireland, has a small Maltese cross carved on its end.

"This indicates that the crozier almost certainly belonged to a Christian and is, therefore, one of the earliest dated Christian objects from Ireland," a spokesman for Bord na Mona said.

Heritage Minister Sile de Valera said that because of peat’s preservative qualities, the country’s bogs are storehouses of arch’ology.

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The crozier was handed over to the National Museum and a new agreement with the Bord and Duchas, the heritage service, means arch’ological liaison officers will be appointed at each turf production center.

Turf board workers have found centuries-old containers of still-edible butter in the bogs. They have also uncovered bronze and gold ornaments, weapons, tools and clothing.

The crozier was handed over to the museum along with a 1st Century copper horse harness that had been used to harness two ponies to a chariot. It was found in Ballykane Bog, also in Offaly.

The board spokesman said the harness may have been deliberately buried in the bog as a "votive deposit" that related to the practice of burying bodies of ritual murder victims.

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