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11 August 2013
Irish 'bog body' said to be world's oldest

The mummified remains of a body found in a Laois bog two years ago have been found to date back to 2000 BCE, making it the oldest "bog body" discovered anywhere in the world.
     Eamonn Kelly, keeper of Irish antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, said previously the earliest bog body discovered in Ireland dated to around 1300 BCE, but "Cashel man" substantially predates this period, making one of the most significant finds in recent times.
     The remains are those of a young adult male which were placed in a crouched position and covered by peat, probably on the surface of the bog. The man's arm was broken by a blow and there were deep cuts to his back which appear to have been inflicted by a blade. Unfortunately the head, neck, and chest were damaged when the body was discovered, making it impossible to determine the exact cause of death.
     Kelly believes the wounds on the body, combined with the fact that it was marked by wooden stakes and placed in proximity to an inauguration site, point to the individual being the victim of a ritual sacrifice.
     "It seems to be same type of ritual that we've observed in later Iron Age finds. What's surprising here is that it's so much earlier. We believe that the victims of these ritual killings are kings that have failed in their kingship and have been sacrificed as a consequence."

Edited from Irish Times (2 August 2013)

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