Location of ‘Ireland’s Dead Sea Scrolls’ revealed
The exact location of the discovery of what has been dubbed ‘Ireland’s Dead Sea Scrolls’ has been revealed by the National Museum of Ireland.
The Psalter, or Book of Psalms was pulled out of a bog in the townland of Faddan More in north Tipperary, where it was first hidden around 1,000 years ago.
The ancient religious manuscript was discovered a fortnight ago when bulldozer driver Eddie Fogarty unearthed it while digging peat.
The area, rich in medieval history, has turned up several ancient artefacts in the past and a number of monastic sites have been found nearby.
Archaeologists and conservators from the National Museum spent the last seven days excavating the bog and recovered a few other important pieces.
A fine leather pouch in which the book was kept originally was discovered as well as other small fragments of the manuscript and its cover.
The museum said the investigation results suggest that the owner concealed the book deliberately, perhaps with a view to recovering it at a later date.
All the new material is being conserved and analysed in the National Museum and samples of the peat surrounding the find spot have been sent for specialist analysis.
The extensive fragments of the manuscript appear to be of an Irish Early Christian Psalter, written on vellum. Initial examinations show there are about 45 letters per line and a maximum of 40 lines per page.
Days after the find, tales of Biblical prophecies coming to pass were fabled around the world.
One piece of the manuscript which was legible was Psalm 83 and its supposed reference to “the wiping of Israel from the map”.
But in a bid to dispel fears, the National Museum revealed the psalm referred to the Vale of Tears from Verse 7 of Psalm 83 in the old Latin translation of the Bible, the Vulgate.
In the much later King James version the numbering of the psalms is different where Psalm 83 refers to Israel.
The area around Faddan More Bog is rich in medieval history. Monastic foundations such as Lorrha and Terryglass in Co Tipperary and Birr and Seirkieran in Co Offaly are located nearby.
The bog is owned by local brothers Kevin and Patrick Leonard. A leather satchel was found in the same bog six years ago that has been radiocarbon dated to between the seventh and ninth centuries AD. Two ancient wooden vessels were also found in the bog in recent years.
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