The Man of Clonycavan

Clonycavan Man - Mark Healey - cc
Clonycavan Man - Mark Healey - cc

The Clonycavan Man is a mummified body of a man, which was found in a bog in Clonycavan in County Meath. Discovered in 2003 by a farmer who was turning over his field, this mummy is one of the most remarkable in the country! It has since been exhibited at the National Museum in Dublin.

See the Man of Clonycavan

A mummy with unfathomable mysteries!

Naturally embalmed by the bog, the mummified body of the Man of Clonycavan consists essentially of a bust, arms and head. Although partially damaged by the tractor that discovered him (the arms were half severed), the body is in a remarkable state. According to the researchers, he would have been the victim of a violent death: he would have received 3 axe blows to the head, and suffered an important gash to the belly. There are many theories, but many tend to favour a sacrificial rite to explain this violent death.

A carbon-14 dating indicates that the body would have been thrown into the bog between 392 and 201 BC. The man was then 1.57m tall, and seemed to belong to the wealthy classes of society at the time.

But the Man of Clonycavan is mostly a question of the man’s hairstyle. This hair would have been covered with a hair gel based on pine resin and vegetable oil, to be dressed in the shape of an Iroquois crest. A first, never seen on other mummies before! What’s more, it seems that the hair gel used could not have been made in Ireland, so it was imported from Spain or France! One more mystery that fascinates and obsesses researchers!