A farmer in Ireland recently discovered a 20-pound chunk of butter while doing some work on the field. Researchers examined the piece and determined that the ancient butter is about 2,000 years old.
The farmer, named Jack Conway, discovered the large lump of butter in a peat bog while cutting turf for fuel in Emlagh Bog, County Meath on June 1. The product in question was buried at about 16 feet down in the bog, as reported by Fox News.
Although some people could qualify the discovery as an odd one, the finding it is not unusual for the researchers in the country. The cheesy smell product has been given to the National Museum of Ireland to be further studied and preserved with other similar findings.
However, the discovery was somehow significant due to it was found in the Drakerath area, where 11 townlands and the boundaries of three ancient baronies met, Andy Halpin, assistant keeper in the museum’s Irish Antiquities Division, told the Irish Times.
“These bogs in those times were inaccessible, mysterious places,” he said. “It is at the juncture of three separate kingdoms, and politically it was like a no-man’s-land – that is where it all hangs together.”
People often buried butter, which was seen as a luxury to many, in peat bogs to preserve it in ancient and medieval Ireland. With some of the qualities of such area, the low oxygen, and highly acidic environment, the place was the ideal location to storage the products.
But, researchers pointed out that this buried product was unusual due to is was not stored in a wooden container or keg, which was how people used to bury groceries with preservation purposes. According to Savina Donohoe, curator of the Cavan County Museum, the butter was probably an offering to the gods.
The 20-pound chunk had a strange smell, a mix between butter and cheese, according to some experts who encountered with the chunk of butter after its discovery. Even after a millennium underground, the chunk still smells like butter, commented Donohoe, while adding that there was a strong smell from her hands after touching and holding it.
Top chef Kevin Thornton has revealed that he has tasted bog butter, although it is unknown whether if it was an older or younger one than the recently found. This offers some prove that people have tested bog butter, however, archeologists remain reluctant to encourage people to taste the ancient butter.
“Theoretically the stuff is still edible, but we would not say it is advisable,” Halpin added.
More than 400 ancient balls of butter have been found in Ireland and Scotland within the past years, and each one has been provided to scientists to collect data about the interesting tradition. One 100-pound ball of butter was found nearly three years ago in Ireland and is believed to be about 5,000 years old, as reported by Quartz.
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) June 13, 2016
Source: Irish Times