Okay ... it’s not heraldic, but of cultural archaeologic validity:
In this undated photo provided by the National Museum of Ireland an ancient book of psalms is seen at an undisclosed location.
Ireland’s archeologists hail ‘miracle’ discovery of 1,200-year-old book of psalms in bog
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK
July 25, 2006
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) - Ireland’s archeologists heralded as a miracle Tuesday the accidental discovery of an ancient book of psalms _ discovered last week when an exceptionally alert construction worker spotted something as he drove the shovel of his backhoe into a bog.
The approximately 20-page book has been dated to 800 A.D. to 1000 A.D. and, according to Trinity College manuscripts expert Bernard Meehan, is the first discovery of an Irish early medieval document in two centuries. Never before has such a fragile, old document been discovered buried in the soggy earth of Ireland.
"This is really a miracle find," said Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum of Ireland, which has the book stored in refrigeration and facing years of painstaking analysis before it is put on public display.
"There’s two sets of odds that make this discovery really way out," Wallace said in an interview. "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."
He said an engineer was digging up bogland last week to create commercial potting soil somewhere in Ireland’s midlands _ he won’t specify where because a team of archeologists is currently exploring the site _ when, "just beyond the bucket of his bulldozer, he spotted something."
"The owner of the bog has had dealings with us in past and is very much in favor of archaeological discovery and reporting it," Wallace said.
Crucially, he said, the bog owner covered up the book with damp soil. Had it been left exposed overnight, he said, "it could have dried out and just vanished, blown away."
New York Times wrote:
Book Buried in Irish Bog Is Called a Major Find
By ALAN COWELL
Published: July 27, 2006
LONDON, July 26 â€” Irelandâ€™s National Museum said on Wednesday that a 1,200-year-old Book of Psalms found last week by a construction worker in a bog was so archaeologically significant that it could be called an â€œIrish equivalent to the Dead Sea Scrolls.â€
Museum officials said it was remarkable both that the psalter had survived for so long in boggy terrain and that a construction worker had spotted it and halted a mechanical digger just in time to save it from destruction.
â€œIn my wildest hopes, I could only have dreamed of a discovery as fragile and rare as this,â€ Patrick F. Wallace, the director of the National Museum in Dublin, said in a statement. â€œIt testifies to the incredible richness of the early Christian civilization of this island.â€
Aoife Demel, a spokeswoman for the museum, said in a telephone interview that several experts had examined the text and that there was no possibility that it was a hoax.
The museum said in a news release that â€œin discovery terms this Irish equivalent to the Dead Sea Scrolls is being hailed by the museumâ€™s experts as the greatest find ever from a European bog.â€ The museum said it could not determine how the manuscript ended up in the bog. â€œIt may have been lost in transit or dumped after a raid, possibly more than a thousand to twelve hundred years ago,â€ the news release said. Bernard Meehan, a manuscript expert at Trinity College, Dublin, said this was the first discovery of its kind in 200 years.
The manuscript, containing approximately 20 pages, was discovered last Thursday in the Irish Midlands when the construction worker noticed it while excavating for commercial potting soil. Museum officials declined to specify the bogâ€™s location, explaining that archaeologists were still exploring the site.
The museum said that the bound pages had slipped outside the bookâ€™s wraparound cover, made of vellum or leather, and that the psalms were written directly on vellum and the book was found open at a page showing Psalm 83 in Latin.
In later English-language versions, Psalm 83 exhorts God to act against conspirator nations plotting to wipe out â€œthe name of Israel.â€
Raghnall O Floinn, who is in charge of collections at the museum, said each page of the document contained about 40 lines of script, with around 45 letters per line. â€œWhile part of Psalm 83 is legible, the extent to which other psalms or additional texts are preserved will only be determined by painstaking work by a team of invited experts, probably operating over a long time in the museum laboratory,â€ he said.
The estimated age of the manuscript would place it in the same early medieval period as the Book of Kells (circa A.D. 800), an illuminated manuscript of the Christian Gospels that is on public view in the Old Library at Trinity College, Dublin.
Psalm 83 in part:
"For, behold, your enemies are stirred up. Those who hate you have lifted up their heads. They conspire with cunning against your people. They plot against your cherished ones.
"Come," they say, "and let’s destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more."
For they have conspired together with one mind. They form an alliance against you. The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab, and the Hagrites;
Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assyria also is joined with them. They have helped the children of Lot."
Anyone believe in omens?
Mark et al.,
I just visited the Irish Museum’s website and came accross the following NEW press release:
Clarification re Psalm 83 in Ancient Book of Psalms
In the press release issued by the National Museum of Ireland on 26th July the following reference was made to Psalm 83:
“While part of Psalm 83 is legible, the extent to which other Psalms or additional texts are preserved will only be determined by painstaking work by a team of invited experts probably operating over a long time in the Museum laboratory”
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 Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Dr. Patrick F. Wallace, would like to highlight that the text visible on the manuscript does NOT refer to wiping out Israel but to the ‘vale of tears’.
This is part of verse 7 of Psalm 83 in the old latin translation of the Bible (the Vulgate) which, in turn, was translated from an original Greek text would have been the version used in the medieval period. In the much later King James version the number of the Psalms is different, based on the Hebrew text and the ‘vale of tears’ occurs in Psalm 84. The text about wiping out Israel occurs in the Vulgate as Psalm 82 = Psalm 83 (King James version).
It is hoped that this clarification will serve comfort to anyone worried by earlier reports of the content of the text.
For Further Press Information please contact:
National Museum of Ireland
Tel: 01 - 648 64 29
Thanks for the timely update!