While turf cutter Jack Conway was working on Emlagh Bog near his home in County Meath, Ireland, he happened upon a 2,000 year old stash of “bog butter“. Bog butter a waxy substance from peat bogs that was used throughout Ireland and Scotland as an early form of refrigeration. People would bury their meat and dairy products inside a box and leave them out in the bog, where the steady cool temperature, low oxygen and high acidity provided a perfect environment for keeping food unspoiled.
Bogs are excellent preservative properties – low temperature , low oxygen and highly acidic environment. In early medieval Ireland butter was a luxury food often used as a means to pay taxes and rents. It was sometimes used as a offering to the spirits and gods to keep people and their property safe – when used as offerings it would have been buried and never dug up again.
images via Cavan Museum
via The Irish Times