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29 June 2010
Irish Police wade through rubbish to save ancient artefacts

Now known as the Coggalbeg Hoard, a collection of gold artefacts, dating back 4,000 years were saved from the skip in Dublin (Ireland) by the police after being dumped by pharmacy thieves unaware of their priceless takings. The hoard comprises of a gold lunula (a crescent shaped ceremonial ornament) and two small golden discs, both of which date to between 2300 and 1800 BCE.
     Originally discovered in a Coggalbeg bog, the artefacts were kept safe in Sheehan's Pharmacy in Strokestown, County Roscommon since 1947. Burglars had raided the pharmacy safe of the family business and the Sheehan family notified the police of its contents. Hubert Lannon, who died just 3 weeks earlier, had discovered the item in 1945 when cutting turf on his land and gave them to the local pharmacy for safekeeping. The family had vaguely remembered about the pieces stored by their father, PJ Sheehan, who passed away in the 1960s and notified the police. It was a race against time to track down the skip before it was towed away.
     "It's a total freak. It almost shouldn't have been found... The gardaí (Irish Police) are the heroes of the whole thing," said Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum. The finds have been described as the most significant discovery of Irish Bronze Age gold work for a long time and the discs are the first to have been discovered since the 19th Century. The Coggalbeg Hoard is now on display at the National Museum of Ireland.

Sources: Irish Times, Irish Examiner (24 June 2010)

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