Old Croghan Man

Old Croghan Man
Old Croghan Man in the National Museum of Ireland

Old Croghan Man is the name given to a well-preserved Iron Age bog body found in an Irish bog in June 2003. The remains are named after Croghan Hill, north of Daingean, County Offaly, near where the body was found. The find is on display in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. Old Croghan Man was found three months after a similar find in County Meath. The County Meath find was named Clonycavan Man, and noted for the "gel" found in his hair.[1]



Old Croghan man is believed to have died between 362 BC and 175 BC, making the body over 2,000 years old. Evidence indicates that the man was in his early twenties when he was killed.[2]

The man is calculated (based on his arm span) to have stood 6 ft 6 in (1.98m) tall - tall for that time and the tallest bog body ever found.[citation needed] The man's apparently manicured nails led to speculation that he was not someone who engaged in manual labour, and possibly therefore of high status.[3]

His last meal (analysed from the contents in his stomach) was believed to have been wheat and buttermilk. However, he was shown to have had a meat rich diet for at least the 4 months prior to this. Scars on his lungs suggest he may have suffered from pleurisy.[4]

At the time of his interment, he was naked except for a plaited leather band around his left hand.


The man is believed to have died from a stab wound to the chest, been decapitated and had his body cut in half. [4] This supposition is based on the lack of a head, and body below the hips. He also has a scar on his arm - possible evidence that he tried to defend himself.[5]

The body was found to have deep cuts under each nipple. Several theories have been suggested to explain this,[6] including that the damage was caused (after death) by conditions in the bog, that the cuts were indicative of torture while the man was alive,[4] or that the nipples were deliberately mutilated (either before or after death) for symbolic purposes. The latter theory, put forward by Eamonn Kelly of the National Museum of Ireland, suggests that the mutilation was a symbolic gesture to mark the man as a rejected ruler.[6] Other theories suggest that Old Croghan Man and other bog bodies were sacrifices to gods of fertility or harvest,[2] and killed and buried to ensure good yields of corn and milk.[citation needed]

See also


Coordinates: 53°20′0″N 7°18′0″W / 53.333333°N 7.3°W / 53.333333; -7.3[7]

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