Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Book in a bog

Ruadhan Mac Cormaic at the Irish Times:

Fragments of what appear to be an ancient psalter, or Book of Psalms, were uncovered by a bulldozer in a bog in the south midlands last Thursday.

It is estimated that it could be between 1,000 and 1,200-years-old and staff at the museum said yesterday its discovery was an Irish equivalent to that of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The director of the National Museum of Ireland, Dr Pat Wallace, said the find was of 'staggering importance' and that its survival until now was 'a miracle'.

'In my wildest hopes, I could only have dreamed of a discovery as fragile and rare as this. It testifies to the incredible richness of the early Christian civilisation of this island and to the greatness of ancient Ireland,' he said.

The artefact comprises extensive fragments of what appear to be an Irish early Christian psalter, written on vellum. The pages appear to be those of a slim, large format book with a wraparound vellum or leather cover from which the book block has slipped.

(Link via the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

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