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From Morvern, Argyll

Postcard of Keg.
© National Museums Scotland


This wooden keg was found at Morvern in Argyll. It was filled with bog-butter, and buried in the peat sometime between 120 and 329 AD. When found, it also had a lid. The practice of burying butter in bogs was carried out over many centuries.

The body of the keg was carved from a single alder trunk. The keg has two handles projecting above the rim and two perforated lugs in the middle of the body. The base, made of split timber, was shaped to leave a lip around the outer edge.

In the ancient forests of mainland Scotland the trees grew both broader and taller than they do now. The tree from which this keg was made was greater in girth than alders growing today.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-004-113-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.SHC 1
Date: Between 120 and 329 AD
Material: Wood, alder or birch / bog-butter
Dimensions: 24.00" x 16.50"
What: Keg / adipocere / bog butter
Subject: Dairy - bog butter (NMAS Classification)
Where: Scotland, Argyll, Morvern, Glen Gell
Description: Bog-butter keg of alder or birch, with a lid, found in Glen Gell, Morven, Argyll
  • Earwood, Caroline. Two early historic bog butter containers. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquities of Scotland, 121 (1991), pp 231-40. 
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