2,000-year-old hunk of bog butter found in Ireland is 'theoretically still edible'

The 2,000-year-old hunk of bog butter found in Ireland.
The 2,000-year-old hunk of bog butter found in Ireland.PHOTO: CAVAN COUNTY MUSEUM

A 2,000-year-old hunk of bog butter found in Ireland is "still edible" - but don't expect it to taste any good.

Mr Jack Conway found the 10kg chunk while harvesting peat at the Emlagh bog in County Meath, Ireland, in early June.

It was buried more than 3m beneath the surface of the bog, in conditions - low temperature, low oxygen and a highly acidic environment - that helped to preserve the butter, said the Cavan County Museum's website.

In early mediaeval Ireland, butter was a luxury food that was even used to pay rent and taxes, it added. Butter was also used as offerings to spirits and gods, in which case it would be buried for good.

Mr Conway's find will be given to Ireland's National Museum for research, analysis and preservation.


(From left) Cavan County Museum curator Savina Donohoe, Mr Jack Conway, who found the butter, and assistant keeper at Ireland's National Museum Andy Halpin. PHOTO: CAVAN COUNTY MUSEUM

"Bog butter" is not an unusual find, the Irish Times said, but Mr Conway's discovery was notable because of its location.

Mr Andy Halpin, assistant keeper at the National Museum's Irish Antiquities Division, said that the Drakerath area in which it was found was once the juncture of three separate kingdoms.

"These bogs in those times were inaccessible, mysterious places," he said, according to the Irish Times.

And while the butter is still edible, you may want to steer well clear.

Mr Halpin said: "Theoretically the stuff is still edible but we wouldn't say it's advisable."

The butter is said to be creamy white and smells like strong cheese. Archaeological experts have described it as crumbly, the Irish Times said.

Cavan County Museum curator Savina Donohoe told Fox News: "There was a strong smell from my hands after touching and holding it."

She added that she declined trying the butter. "I passed on that."