Gallagh Man, who died
between 400 -200 BC, was discovered by Irish peat cutters in a bog
near Castleblakeney, County Galway in 1821.
His body, covered with a
deerskin cape, was lying on its left side some nine feet below the
surface. The cape was fastened at the neck by a band of willow rods,
which may have been used to strangle him. During his
burial in the bog, he was pegged to the peat by two wooden stakes on
either side. After discovery, his body was reburied, then unearthed
repeatedly to show interested parties.
Eventually, according to R.
C. Turner, the body was sent to the Royal Dublin Society and then to the
Royal Irish Academy where the body was displayed. Gallagh Man, then,
became the the first complete bog body ever to be exhibited.
Although he was in
"exceptional condition" when he was found, experts at the time
decided to let the body dry in order to preserve it. Unfortunately, the
body became distorted as it dried and his beard and hair disintegrated.
Only a few small pieces of the cape still exist. Today, a similar bog body
would not be allowed to dry.