Cashel Man

Cashel Man is a bog body from the Cúl na Móna bog near Cashel in County Laois, Ireland. He was found on 10 August 2011[1] by Bord na Mona employee Jason Phelan from Abbeyleix. The body was a young adult male, around 20-25,[2] who had been intentionally covered with peat after death. The crouched figure was recovered after being partially damaged by a milling machine in 2011. The head and left arm were presumed destroyed by the peat harvester, until later found.[3] Radiocarbon dating places him around 2000 BC, making it the oldest fleshed bog body of Europe.[2][4]


Cashel Man had once lived in what was a flourishing community.[2] The legs were found to be protruding from the skin of the corpse, in addition to being exceptionally well preserved.[2] The remaining part of the body inside of the bag-like skin was not as well preserved. The stomach of the man had long since decomposed, which made analyzing his last meal impossible.[2] The body parts that had been disturbed by the milling machine were later recovered, including part of the head, which had closely cut hair.[3] The body was later moved to the National Museum of Ireland for examination. The man was believed to have been buried with his arms holding his legs, his knees bent toward his chest.[2]


The man had a pre-mortem broken arm, caused by a strike with a sharp object.[2] His back was broken in two places (believed to have happened after his death), and a cut on his back, most likely from the same blade that broke his arm.[2] The body was accompanied by wooden stakes, suggesting ritual sacrifice.[5] The wound on the man's arm suggests that it was a defensive wound.[2] The man may have once been the king of his region, and was sacrificed due to poor harvests, as a king was believed to have been responsible for such things.[2] Like Old Croughan Man and Clonycavan Man, he was buried near a hill that may have been used for kingship initiation.[2]


  • Kelly, Eamonn (2012). "The bog body from Cashel Bog, Co. Laois". Ossory, Laois and Leinster. 5.
  • Kelly, Eamonn (2011). "New Find Supports Kingship and Sovereignty Theory: Bog Body from Cashel Bog". Archaeology Ireland. 25 (3): 4–6. ISSN 0790-892X.


  1. ^ "Kingship and Sacrifice Exhibition National Museum of Ireland". National Museum of Ireland.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Hart, Edward, dir. "Ghosts of Murdered Kings." NOVA. Prod. Edward Hart and Dan McCabe. PBS. 29 Jan. 2014. Television.
  3. ^ a b "Current Archaeology – News: Human sacrifice in Ireland". Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  4. ^ Kelly, Eamonn (2012). "The bog body from Cashel Bog, Co. Laois". Ossory, Laois and Leinster. 5.
  5. ^ "Laois 'bog body' said to be world's oldest". The Irish Times. 2 August 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2015.