Egyptian papyrus found in ancient Irish bog

Sep 06, 2010

Irish scientists have found fragments of Egyptian papyrus in the leather cover of an ancient book of psalms that was unearthed from a peat bog, Ireland's National Museum said on Monday.

The papyrus in the lining of the Egyptian-style leather cover of the 1,200-year-old manuscript, "potentially represents the first tangible connection between early Irish Christianity and the Middle Eastern Coptic Church", the Museum said.

"It is a finding that asks many questions and has confounded some of the accepted theories about the history of early Christianity in Ireland."

Raghnall O Floinn, head of collections at the Museum, said the manuscript, now known as the "Faddan More Psalter", was one of the top ten archaeological discoveries in Ireland.

It was uncovered four years ago by a man using a mechanical digger to harvest peat near Birr in County Tipperary, but analysis has only just been completed.

O Floinn told AFP the illuminated vellum manuscript encased in the leather binding dated from the eighth century but it was not known when or why it ended up in the bog where it was preserved by the chemicals in the peat.

"It appears the manuscript's leather binding came from Egypt. The question is whether the came with the cover or if it was added.

"It is possible that the imperfections in the hide may allow us to confirm the leather is Egyptian.

"We are trying to track down if there somebody who can tell us if this is possible. That is the next step."

O Floinn said the psalter is about the size of a tabloid newspaper and about 15 percent of the pages of the psalms, which are written in Latin, had survived.

The experts believe the manuscript of the psalms was produced in an Irish monastery and it was later put in the leather cover.

"The cover could have had several lives before it ended up basically as a folder for the manuscript in the bog," O Floinn said.

"It could have travelled from a library somewhere in Egypt to the Holy Land or to Constantinople or Rome and then to Ireland."

The National in Dublin plans to put the psalter on public display for the first time next year.

Explore further: Ancient metal workers were not slaves but highly regarded craftsmen

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Expert: Bog bodies buried at boundaries

Jan 08, 2006

An Irish archaeologist believes two bodies found in peat were buried 2,300 years ago at the boundaries of kingdoms to ensure successful reigns.

Recommended for you

Oldest representative of a weird arthropod group

Aug 28, 2014

Biologists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have assigned a number of 435-million-year-old fossils to a new genus of predatory arthropods. These animals lived in shallow marine habitats ...

Bronze Age wine cellar found

Aug 27, 2014

A Bronze Age palace excavation reveals an ancient wine cellar, according to a study published August 27, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Andrew Koh from Brandeis University and colleagues.

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

KBK
3.5 / 5 (6) Sep 06, 2010
Apparently, if you research it, the old Celtic symbols and relational aspects of mythology are quite interestingly... near and dear to that of Egypt. Ie, much older and notably different than that of central European origin. Meaning the old druidic origins seem to have stronger connections to the area of Egypt and sumer than with 'christianity'. In the direction of 'Sol Invictus', and far deeper and older.

So it comes as no surprise to me that aspects of something that resembles Egypt should be coming out of a swamp in Ireland.

Thus the 'troubles'. These are aspects of old cultures encountering one another. The celtic base and the marauding interlopers moving into Merry olde'..then trying to reach into the much older Druidic system base.

That battle is far older than it looks, for most people only stare at the surface and have a memory that reaches no further back than the last episode of their favorite sitcom.
otto1932
4 / 5 (4) Sep 06, 2010
Indeed, and one can count the likes of Phoenicians as interlopers as well.

There's the idea that Enoch, the grandfather of Noah and the Keeper of Knowledge, identified with the Egyptian Thoth, actually traveled to Ireland instead of heaven as described in the 'Book of Enoch', to the pagan observatory at newgrange. The book describes white shining walls, and shrine at newgrange is faced with white quartz.

This tale could well be a facsimile of an earlier one, a journey of priests spreading word of empire.
http://en.wikiped...ewgrange
Rainbojangles
Sep 07, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
dospoet
3 / 5 (2) Sep 07, 2010
It may be of interest to note that the Celtic Church did nor fully conform to the Roman Church until the Synod of Rathbrazil, Co Cork, Ireland, in 1111 AD. Accordingly many of the ancient manuscripts prior to that and their contents have not been subjected to the usual 'corrections' and revisions of evolving Roman belief!

There are strong traditions linking the Early Celtic Church with the Mid East rather than Rome and the connections with Spain and St James have remained live. Most old churches in South West Ireland are in fact named for St James. In the late 19th, apparition at Knock in Mayo, St John, the favorite gospel author was among those featured.

I would suggest a google of 'Saltar Na Rann' as a good starting point. There is a very good introduction from some years back by an academic of St Andrews University. Incidently the term Egyptian was often used against the Celtic Church as a term of denigration by Rome prior to the regularization.

Good questing !
toddao
1 / 5 (1) Sep 11, 2010
interesting coincindence with this uri geller story:

http://online.wsj...982.html
"When Uri Geller saw a rocky lump off Scotland's eastern coast was for sale a couple of years ago, the famed spoon-bender says he knew he had to have it. "I didn't know why. I was somehow drawn to it," Mr. Geller recalls. the 63-year-old paranormalist says he now understands why he bought the uninhabited, 100 yard-by-50 yard Lamb Island. Buried inside, he says, is an Egyptian treasure including relics supposedly brought there by a pharaoh's daughter some 3,500 years ago.
Tales of Scotland's ties to ancient Egypt date back to the 15th century, but many regard them as a bit of nonsense. According to the legend, King Tutankhamen's half-sister, Princess Scota, fell out with her family and fled to Ireland and then Scotland, thereby giving the country its name.
"Tosh!" says Edinburgh-based historian and author Stuart McHardy. LOL