Stoneyisland Man
Biographical Information
Name(s) The Stoney Island Man
Age ~40
Sex Male
Status unknown
Height 5' 2"
Date(s) 3320 – 3220 BC
Site Stoneyisland bog, Ireland
Current Location
Catalog #

The Stoneyisland Man was discovered in the Stoneyisland Bog of Gortanumera, County Galway, Ireland on May 13, 1929. He was found by Turf-cutters James Dolphin, Thomas Rodgers and John Spain, the body was found under 10 feet of uncut turf. When the body was first discovered It was thought to be the remains of a man named Mr. Ward who had gone missing. "The skeleton was intact with the arms outstretched at right angles to the body. The individual who excavated the body was Mr. T. Shea, he was also the professor who would examine the body. Shea posited that due to the position of the body - outstretched arms - indications lead to the conclusion that the body had not been discardde directly into the bog, rather the man had drowned, sunk to the bottom of the lake that was once in that location, and the bog had formed to cover and preserve him over the years. Shea concluded that that the body was of a man, of about forty years of age, who stood 5"2' tall. The Stoneyisland man is believed to be neolithic, dating back to 3320-3220 B.C.  


Mummification occurred in Stoneyisland Bog which is located, Gortanumera, County Galway, Ireland 13 May 1929. What was once a lake - where the man was believed to have originally drowned - eventually turned into a bog, and this is what allowed for the preservation. The various types of moss, which make up the floral composition of the moss, restrict oxygen making it difficult for microbes that would typically cause decomposition to develop, thus preserving the remains for thousands and thousands of years.


After Shea's studies on the body which were highlighted above there have been no recent notable studied beyond that of radiocarbon dating which further confirmed the bodies age.

Pollen and peat analysis dated the remains to sometime after 4500 BCE. Several radiocarbon datings dated the remains between 3320–3220 BC.[2]


There is no evidence that suggests the Stoneyisland man suffered from any illness or disease. Cause of death was probably drowning


Although no other items were found with the Stoneyisland man, James Dolphin claimed to have found a canoe at while cutting turf in another part of the bog on a previous occasion, this also helped to support the claim that the cause of death was drowning.

"The lower jaw and teeth, and a large number of the limbs bones were peculiar to prehistoric skeletons in Western Europe. The period of the skeleton was further determined by the degree of flattening of some of the arm and leg bones which are characteristic of skeletons of Neolithic man."

The bogs composition and preservation ability also allows for microbotanical remains such as pollen to survive for thousands of years. Pollen can be used as a dating technique which was implimented in the case of the Stoneyisland Man, this date him back to sometime after 4500 BCE (This was later confirmed by radiocarbon dating which placed the remains between 3320-3220 BC).

External Links

White, J. (1931). Pollen Analysis of Peat from Stoneyisland, Portumna, Co. Galway. The Irish Naturalists' Journal, 3(10), 210-214. Retrieved from

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.