Treasure emerges from the mud of history (UK)

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To the untutored eye, it looks like a lump of mud, but experts say that an 8th-century psalter found in an Irish peat bog is exceptionally significant.

Even though the vellum pages of the early Book of Psalms are a crumpled mass, they are likening it to the Book of Kells, one of the world’s most beautiful illuminated manuscripts.

As the find is thought to date from the late 8th century, the illuminators of both books would have been contemporaries, within ten or twenty years of each other. The two books — among few survivals of an age of outstanding manuscript production — are comparable in their large-format size.

The Book of Psalms — now undergoing a long-term conservation project — was uncovered by chance by a bulldozer digging peat moss in Faddan More Bog, Co Tipperary.

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