Ancient Book of Psalms Found In Irish Bog

Status: Seems to be real
image A guy was out digging in an irish bog recently when, purely by chance, he found a book buried in the mud. Turns out that it could be a book of psalms over 1000 years old. Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum of Ireland, points out that this discovery was highly fortuitous:
"There's two sets of odds that make this discovery really way out. First of all, it's unlikely that something this fragile could survive buried in a bog at all, and then for it to be unearthed and spotted before it was destroyed is incalculably more amazing."
The book is probably real. It would be difficult to fake something that old. (There was recently a discussion about faking old manuscripts in the forum.) But it did strike me as odd that "The book was found open to a page describing, in Latin script, Psalm 83, in which God hears complaints of other nations' attempts to wipe out the name of Israel." This seems to tie-in neatly with recent political events. Though I'm going to chalk it up as a coincidence. After all, the odds of any random psalm mentioning Israel are pretty good.

Update: Well, it looks like it was all a mistake. The National Museum of Ireland has issued a statement saying that while Psalm 83 was the psalm they said was visible, this doesn't mean what people immediately thought it meant:
"The above mention of Psalm 83 has led to misconceptions about the revealed wording and may be a source of concern for people who believe Psalm 83 deals with 'the wiping out of Israel'," the museum said in its clarification. The confusion arose because the manuscript uses an old Latin translation of the Bible known at the Vulgate, which numbers the psalms differently from the later King James version, the 1611 English translation from which many modern texts derive.
"The Director of the National Museum of Ireland ... would like to highlight that the text visible on the manuscript does not refer to wiping out Israel but to the 'vale of tears'," the museum said. The vale of tears is in Psalm 84 in the King James version. "It is hoped that this clarification will serve comfort to anyone worried by earlier reports of the content of the text," the museum said.


Posted on Wed Jul 26, 2006


I hear that Hitler's diaries are still on the market...
Posted by rikitara  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  10:50 AM
Sounds unlikely to me, but stranger things have happened I suppose.
Posted by N E O  in  Everywhere and nowhere  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  02:46 PM
It smells like a hoax to me.

Peat bogs do tend to preserve organic materials like paper, leather, parchment, animals, plants, and human bodies, due to the humic acid in the peat and the low oxygen content. But the same factors turn anything buried in a peat bog completely black, so I don't see how anybody could read the pages of such a book, even if the book itself was in good condition (apart from all the pages being blacked out).
Posted by Big Gary  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  04:29 PM
If the manuscript is 1000 years old, then it would have been written on vellum, which would have survived in the peat. If it is real, then it would be completely blackened from the peat, as mentioned by Big Gary.

That, however, does not mean that it would be illegible. Archaeologists and archvists have been studying the scrolls from teh Villa of the Paparii in Herculaneum for years. Some of teh script is still legible, and the rest is being read with computers and special lighting that illuminates the black ink on the blackened papyrus.
Posted by tiker_tape  on  Thu Jul 27, 2006  at  08:25 AM
Also, the ink might be of a type that it still stands out even against black pages. Some fancy Bibles were at least partly written with gold paint, so something similar could have been done with this one. Or there could be a visible difference between the black of the ink and the black of the pages, sort of like how I can still see the stripes when the light shines the right way on my black-on-black tabby cat.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Thu Jul 27, 2006  at  11:59 AM
and not only did it survive being buryed for hundreds of years- it was also found open to a prophecy about Israel, according to CNN!!
Posted by katey  on  Thu Jul 27, 2006  at  03:56 PM
I thought I read somewhere that most of the book WAS difficult to read.
Posted by Dano  on  Thu Jul 27, 2006  at  11:28 PM
They have actually debunked that "prophecy abut israel" thing. It is a different version of the bible, Psalm 83 refers to the "veil of tears" in this version. The King James version of the bible has the Psalm 83 and Israel reference.

Posted by Emidawg  on  Thu Jul 27, 2006  at  11:30 PM
There are various techniques to make faded (or in this case blackened out by peat staining) script readible. For example using ultraviolet lighting.
Posted by LaMa  in  Europe  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  02:12 AM
What is surprising though is that a book of this kind ended up in a bog. Me thinks my archaeologist colleagues further exploring the site should be allert for a murdered monk nearby...
Posted by LaMa  in  Europe  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  02:19 AM
"... found open to a prophecy about Israel, ..."

Well, as Alex said, it's not all that amazing to find a psalm that mentions Israel, since most of them do.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  11:50 AM
Remember this is Eire and not ACLU run US state schools or Nu-Labour England. Religion is what they do. Are you really suggesting that Catholic-educated scholars made an elementary mistake over versions? It's easier to believe that they failed to recognise the prophetic significance, as in their theology Rome has replaced Israel. Cover-up? It's a theory - but cui bono?
Posted by Ian.  on  Fri Aug 04, 2006  at  05:20 PM
Great nice
Posted by satanic123  on  Sat Oct 24, 2009  at  12:27 AM
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