An ancient wooden idol has been unearthed by archaeologists in Roscommon bog, Ireland.
Called the Gortnacrannagh Idol, the 8-feet wooden idol is considered to be at least 1600 years old and from the Iron age. Researchers consider it to be a pagan sculpture that was ritually submerged in the wetlands. The idol has been cut from the split trunk of an oak tree. According to Cathy Moore, who is an expert in prehistoric wood, the idol is a kind of human figurine. Moore describes the sculpture as roughly worked with nine unevenly spaced notches.
Dr. Eve Campbell, a researcher at AMS and the lead archaeologist in this project, explained that wetlands were considered as “mystical places” by ancient Irish settlers. Depositing these idols in the wetlands was considered a way to connect with the ancestors and the other world. Alongside the idol, archaeologists also find animal remains and a dagger. Dr. Campbell believes this was an example of ancient pagan animal sacrifice.
The discovery was made while digging up the N5 Road Project in Western Ireland, in Roscommon Bog. The site is only a few miles away from Rathcroghan, one of the most important sites in Irish history. Rathcroghan was the capital of one of the five ancient Irish kingdoms and home to many important historical sites. It was also a prime site for pagan worship and considered “Ireland’s Gate To Hell” in the later medieval era.
Due to their decaying nature, it is rare to find an ancient wooden artifact. However, due to the waterlogged conditions in the bog, the wooden idol remained relatively intact. While it is one of the few dozen figurines discovered in Ireland, it is the largest one thus far.