More fragments of an ancient manuscript concealed in a Co Tipperary bog over 1,000 years ago with a view to later recovery, have been found by the National Museum of Ireland, writes Seán Mac Connell
The discoveries also include a fine leather pouch in which the manuscript was originally kept.
Museum experts have excavated the site at Faddan More, in north Tipperary, since the discovery of the manuscript last month by excavator driver Eddie Fogarty.
He found the book on July 20th while digging peat on a bog owned by brothers Kevin and Patrick Leonard, according to a statement issued by the museum last night.
It said archaeologists and conservators had completed excavation of the area where the ancient manuscript was found. It described the find as "an extremely significant discovery".
"The site was excavated over seven days by archaeologists and conservators from the National Museum of Ireland.
"Part of a fine leather pouch in which the book was kept originally was recovered as well as other small fragments of the manuscript and its cover. The investigation results suggest the owner concealed the book deliberately, perhaps with a view to its later recovery," the statement noted.
"All the excavated material is now being conserved and analysed in the National Museum of Ireland and samples of the peat surrounding the find spot have been sent for specialist analysis," it said.
The area around Faddan More bog is rich in medieval history. Of particular relevance are important monastic foundations such as Lorrha and Terryglass in Co Tipperary and Birr and Seirkieran in Co Offaly, which are located nearby.
A leather satchel was found in the same bog six years ago and has been radiocarbon dated to between the 7th and 9th centuries AD.