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Butter's out of date.. by 3,000 years; AMAZING FIND IN PEAT BOG.

Byline: ALEX MARUNCHAK

A BARREL of 3,000-year-old butter has been found in an Irish peat bog.

Peat diggers John Fitzharris and Martin Lane stumbled on the 3ft, 77lb oak trunk in Gilltow, Co Kildare.

It had a large split down its side caused by the butter expanding. Archaeologists said it was from the Iron Age.

Padraig Clancy of the National Museum said: "It's rare to find a barrel as intact as that. Especially with the lid intact and attached. It's a really fine example."

Staff in the Irish Conservation Department are drying out the butter and will soak it in a wax-like solution to preserve it.

The butter has turned white and transformed into adipocere, a water-proof substance made mainly of fatty acids, found on well-preserved bodies found in bogs.

Experts say the butter was put in the bog for practical reasons. Mr Clancy said: "We're inclined to think that 3,000 years ago they were just storing it. There are accounts dating back to the 1850s where people used to put some butter into the bog."

Iron Age artefacts found in Kildare include spearheads, pottery and bodies.

Irish Mirror Comment: Page 8

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OLDEN CHURN Butter slab at National Museum
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 26, 2009
Words:203
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