A 2,000-year-old Butter Was Found and Remains Edible

While excavating a bog in Emlagh, County Meath, Ireland, a large lump of butter was discovered dating back thousands of years. The lump of butter was covered in soil and weighed approximately 10kg, with a rich and fatty aroma, suggesting it was still edible. This type of food was made from cow’s milk and had a stronger smell than cheese, estimated to be around 2,000 years old. The practice of burying butter was carried out until the 19th century. Preliminary analysis indicates that this lump of butter has been here for a very long time, and further scientific research will be conducted to determine its exact age.

Burying butter in a bog may seem perplexing, but it was an effective preservation method in the absence of modern equipment. Without salt, butter would spoil quickly, but when placed in a cool, oxygen-deprived environment like a bog, its shelf life could be extended. Sometimes, these butter lumps were tightly packed in wooden boxes or wrapped in animal hides.

This 10kg lump of butter had no protective covering and was buried at a depth of nearly 4 meters. The bog was once a border area between three kingdoms and was considered “sacred ground” that humans were not allowed to disturb, so it’s possible that the lump of butter was an offering to the deities rather than for consumption.

A few years ago, archaeologists also discovered several pots of cheese buried from the period 400-350 BCE. Due to careful preservation, these cheeses could still be enjoyed after hundreds of years. However, being rare artifacts, their taste remains unknown. Furthermore, according to local beliefs, no one is allowed to touch items dedicated to the divine.

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