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LISTEN: Ancient pagan idol found in Roscommon bog

Aug 13, 2021 13:08 By Shannonside News
LISTEN: Ancient pagan idol found in Roscommon bog LISTEN: Ancient pagan idol found in Roscommon bog
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The Gortnacrannagh Idol was carved just over 100 yrears before St Patrick came to Ireland and is likely to be a pagan deity

Archaeologists have unearthed a wooden pagan idol from the pre-Christian era in a Co Roscommon bog.

The rare artefact , made over 1600 years ago, was retrieved from a bog in the townland of Gortnacrannagh, 6 kilometres northeast of the prehistoric royal site of Rathcroghan.

The wooden carving was discovered by a team from Archaeological Management Solutions (AMS) working in advance of the N5 Ballaghaderreen to Scramogue road project.

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The idol was made in the Iron Age from a split oak trunk.

It has a small human-shaped head at one end and a series of horizontal notches carved along its body.

Only a dozen such idols are known from Ireland.

It's also said to be the largest such item found in Ireland to date, at over two-and-a-half-metres long.

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A replica of the idol is to be made because it is such a significant find and it will go on display at the Rathcroghan Centre in Tulsk.

A statement from AMS consultancy says the find at Gortnacrannagh will have no impact on the progress of the N5 Ballaghaderreen to Scramogue road project.

Analysis of the artefact and the site it was found in are ongoing, and the results of the excavation will be published in a book to be produced by Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

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AMS archaeologist Dr Eve Campbell, who directed the excavation of the site explains what the idol may have been used for.

 

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Hear the full interview with Dr Eve Campbell on Let's Talk with MaryClaire Grealy here.

 

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