Old Croghan Man
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Old Croghan Man, Seanfhear Chruacháin
Age ~20 years old
Sex Male
Status Unknown, suspected royalty
Height 6'6" (1.98m)
Culture Ancient Irish Tribal
Date(s) Died sometime between 362 BCE and 175 BCE
Site Croghan Hill, Daingean, County Offaly, Ireland
Current Location
Location National Museum of Ireland
Catalog # Unknown
Old Croghan Man (Seanfhear Chruacháin in Irish) is the name given to a well-preserved Iron Age bog body found in an Irish bog in June 2003. The remains are named after Croghan Hill, north of Daingean, County Offaly, near where the body was found. The find is on display in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. Old Croghan Man was found three months after a similar find, dubbed Clonycavan Man, inCounty Meath.[
Old Croghan Man



The man is calculated (based on his arm span) to have stood 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) tall: which is considered to be fairly rare for the period when he lived.[2] The man's apparently manicured nails led to speculation that he was not someone who engaged in manual labour, and possibly therefore of high status.[3] [4]

Old Croghan man is believed to have died between 362 BCE and 175 BCE, making the body over 2,000 years old. Evidence indicates that the man was in his early twenties when he was killed.[6]

The body was naked except for a plaited leather band around his left arm. This likely indicated high status. [4]

A 2014 documentary suggested that the man was once a king and was sacrificed due to poor weather or harvests. These ancient tribes believed that this was caused by the failure of the king and he was responsible. [4]


The man was buried at a bog (likely once a lake) at the foot of an ancient hill that was used for kingship ceremonies.


His last meal (analysed from the contents in his stomach) was believed to have been wheat and buttermilk. However, he was shown to have had a meat rich diet for at least the 4 months prior to this. The man is believed to have died from a stab wound to the chest.[4] He had been decapitated and had his body cut in half. [5] He also has an injury to one arm, possible evidence that he tried to defend himself.[7] A similar wound has been seen on the Cashel Man, who was found in 2011, also in Ireland. [4]

The body was found to have deep cuts under each nipple. Several theories have been suggested to explain this,[8] including that the damage was caused (after death) by conditions in the bog, that the cuts were indicative of torture while the man was alive,[5] or that the nipples were deliberately mutilated (either before or after death) for symbolic purposes. The latter theory, put forward by Eamonn Kelly of the National Museum of Ireland, suggests that the mutilation was a symbolic gesture to mark the man as a rejected ruler.[8] Other theories suggest that Old Croghan Man and other bog bodies were sacrifices to gods of fertility or harvest,[6] and killed and buried to ensure good yields of cerealsand milk.[8]

Scars on his lungs suggest he may have suffered from pleurisy.[5]

Additional Information

Croghan Hill is known as Bri Eile in Irish myth. [12] [13] In "The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn," we are told "At that time there was a very beautiful maiden in Bri Ele, that is to say, in the fairy-knoll of Bri Ele, and the name of that maiden was Ele. The men of Ireland were at feud about that maiden. One man after another went to woo her. Every year on Samain the wooing used to take place; for the fairy-mounds of Ireland were always open about Samain; for on Samain nothing could ever be hidden in the fairy-mounds. To each man that went to woo her this used to happen: one of his people was slain. This was done to mark the occasion, nor was it ever found out who did it."[14]


Coordinates: 53°20′0″N 7°18′0″W[15]

  1. Jump up^ National Geographic - Photo in the News: Iron Age "Bog Man" Used Imported Hair Gel - 17 January 2006
  2. Jump up^ Clonycavan and Old Croghan Men - Archaeology Magazine Archive
  3. Jump up^ Science Spin (Ireland's science wildlife and discovery magazine) - Irish bogs reveal bodies and books - January 2007
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Hart, Edward, dir. "Ghosts of Murdered Kings." NOVA. Prod. Edward Hart and Dan McCabe. PBS. 29 Jan. 2014. Television.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c "Murdered 2,500 Years Ago" - Report by The Mirror, Jan. 2006
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b BBC News - Iron Age 'bog bodies' unveiled - 7 January 2006
  7. Jump up^ National Geographic September 2007: "Tales From the Bog"
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b c National Geographic - Tales from the Bog - September 2007
  9. Jump up^ Durrani, A. Analysis and Conservation of an Arm-ring from Oldcroghan Man
  10. Jump up^ Mumford, Louise (December 2008) Pers. corr. Department of Archaeology and Numismatics, National Museum Cardiff.
  11. Jump up^ Arm-Ring Conservation report
  12. Jump up^ Hogan, Edmund, 1910 Onomasticon Goedelicum, Dublin: Hodges, Figgis, p. 127
  13. Jump up^ Ó Riain, Pádraig, Diarmuid Ó Murchadha, Kevin Murray 2005 Historical Dictionary of the Irish Language. Fascicle 2. London:Irish Texts Society. p. 195.
  14. Jump up^ Cross, Tom P., & Clark Harris Slover, ed. & trans., 1936 The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn. In Ancient Irish Tales, pp. 360-369. NewYork: Henry Holt.
  15. Jump up^ " 2003-10362"." 2003-10361"." 2004-12348".
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