Edercloon staff, Co. Longford, Ireland.

Edercloon staff, Co. Longford, Ireland. Image courtesy of Catriona Moore, with permission.

In addition to the well-known human remains, bogs have attracted considerable concentrations of other objects – some mundane, some votive such as the Bronze Age Edercloon staff shown above. Found associated with the Late Bronze Age trackway EDC5, dated to 1260-970 cal BC. The staff is made of hazel around which honeysuckle has grown and then modified, trimmed and dressed at the end. honeysuckle, modified, trimmed and dressed at one end.

These staffs were likely used as decorative staffs or walking sticks; Catriona Moore, the site director for Edercloon says: “there is a tradition of harvesting these pieces in the Netherlands to make what are called goa-stok, a traditional walking stick which dates at least to the Medieval period and in more recent centuries was used in a ceremonial way to announce weddings, births etc and lead dances etc. There were 6 of these pieces in 2 different trackways at Edercloon, so there was something special about them, plus they are part of the very structured practice of artefact deposition at the site. Eamon Kelly thinks they were used in sacred kingship rites”