Rare Christian idol found in Irish bog

Rare Christian idol found in Irish bog

In Ireland, archaeologists have unearthed a pagan idol dating back to pre-Christian times. It was a swamp, and in those days one of the wetlands was considered a sacred place.

During the pre-construction excavations of the highway, archaeologists found a pagan statue in the town of Gortnakranag (Ireland) at the Archaeological Management Solutions (AMS). At least 1600 years old, it resembles a Christian period in Ireland and is located in a swamp. Thanks to the special conditions of these wetlands that allow to preserve the old timber is preserved there. Only a dozen such idols are still known in Ireland.


Representation of a pagan goddess

The statue was made during the Iron Age (in Ireland from the 6th century BC to the 5th century AD) and split from an oak trunk. At one end of it is a human head of smaller dimensions and a series of horizontal notches along the body. It is the largest idol ever found in this area with two and a half meters of wings. The director of mining, Dr. Eve Campbell said: ⁇ [cette idole] It was carved 100 years before St. Patrick’s arrival in Ireland. It’s probably a representative of a pagan goddess. “. AMS archaeologist Dr. Rose Ó Maldin explains that a copy of this idol was created to better understand it and how it was made.

Katie Moore, a woodworker, inspected the statue. © Archaeological Management Solutions

A sacred and sacrificial place

The remains of animal bones found near the idol and the ritual dagger indicate that it was present at the sacrificial ceremonies there. Dr. As Eve Campbell explains, the natives saw the bogs as magical places where they could connect with their goddesses and the “other world.” Wood specialist Kathy Moore adds: “The lower part of many idols has at one point acted as if they were placed vertically. Their meaning is uncertain, but they may be present. […] They acted like sacrificial wooden bodies in place of humans.

The idol will be on display soon

This discovery will have no effect on the construction of the planned road axis at this site, and the analysis of the archeological finds at this site will be the subject of a book produced by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), which manages the project. The statue of Gortnakranag is now at the University of Dublin, where curator Susanna Kelly began a three-year preservation process. The property will be handed over for maintenance National Museum of Ireland.

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