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Bog unearths untold bookly delights

The L.A. Times boasted one of the most intriguing leads of recent days with the announcement that “Irish archeologists Tuesday heralded the discovery of an ancient book of psalms, found by a construction worker while driving his backhoe into a bog.” Instead of finding used prophylactics or perhaps a cat skeleton, they unearthed a 20-page book “dated to the years 800 to 1000. Trinity College manuscripts expert Bernard Meehan said it was the first discovery of an Irish early medieval document in two centuries.” National Museum of Ireland director Pat Wallace said, “This is really a miracle find.” Years of “painstaking analysis” await the book, which has been tossed in the fridge for the time being (clearly a more pleasant home than a bog). According to the L.A. Times story, “It could take months of study, Wallace said, just to identify the safest way to pry open the pages without damaging or destroying them. He ruled out the use of X-rays to avoid moving the pages.”

“First of all, it’s unlikely that something this fragile could survive buried in a bog at all,” according to Wallace. “And then for it to be unearthed and spotted before it was destroyed is incalculably more amazing.” He said the engineer was just minding his own business, tearing up the bogland last week — to create commercial potting soil — when, “just beyond the bucket of his bulldozer, he spotted something.” To add to the Indiana Jones feel, the location of the site is top-secret, to protect the ongoing dig.

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Read the L.A. Times story here