2,000-Year-Old 22-Pound Mound of Butter Pulled Out of a Bog in Ireland

Do you think they kept track of expiration dates back then?


Jack Conway of County Meath, Ireland recently pulled a 22-pound mass of butter out of the Emlagh bog. Surprised at his find, he smartly contacted the Cavan County Museum rather than trying out the butter for himself.


It turns out that the butter weighs 10 kilos - or 22 pounds - and is around 2,000 years old. Museum sources were surprised at the find but note that bogs have “excellent preservative properties - low temperature, low oxygen and a highly acidic environment”. Oddly enough, this hasn’t been the first case of recently discovered bog butter - though the size of the find and the fact that it wasn’t preserved in a container are unique.


According to reports, Jack Conway found the butter while cutting turf. The Cavan County Museum curator, Savina Donohoe, said that the butter was discovered 5 meters (over 15 feet) underground.

Donohoe, who held the lump of butter in her hands, said that definitely smelled like butter, albeit a particularly strong and cheesy type. She said that it was difficult to wash from her hands. No word on whether anyone has tried to sample it yet.

The museum speculates that the butter was buried as an offering to the gods. They cite the fact that butter was an ancient luxury and that the size and lack of a container indicate that the butter was not intended for normal use.