The Faddan More Psalter
November 21, 2021 1:06 PM   Subscribe

In 2006, the remains of an early medieval illuminated manuscript were discovered in a peat bog at Faddan More, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. At YouTube there are short videos about the discovery and conservation of the psalter (psalm-book); and about its significance. For The Guardian, Lisa O'Carroll writes about the manuscript, and the 'terrifying' work led by manuscript conservationist John Gillis, to preserve it.
posted by misteraitch (8 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you! I was thinking about posting this too. The picture of the separated letters is amazing and daunting. When I was considering posting it, I found a few other resources (didn't think of looking for videos). Hope you don't mind me adding them here.

A blog post from 2011 about visiting the 2011 exhibition of the manuscript at the National Museum of Ireland.

An article by Gillis from, I think, 2014: The Fadden More Psalter: De-Watering the Vellum Text (PDF).

Another article by Gillis and Anthony Read from 2007: The Faddan More Psalter: A progress update (PDF). This has some good pictures of the book.

Also found a blog (no longer being updated) about buried books in general: Burying Books: Stories about burying books (and digging them up again) from history, archaeology, myth, religion, art, literature etc.
posted by paduasoy at 2:54 PM on November 21 [10 favorites]

Very cool and learned some things about Ireland!
posted by Glinn at 8:22 PM on November 21

Unbelievably cool!
posted by TheCoug at 9:03 PM on November 21

Wow! Excellent articles, and such a very interesting subject for passing an early, rainy, morning. Thanks!
posted by james33 at 2:37 AM on November 22

Thank you for this! I was familiar with the Faddan More Psalter, thanks to popping in to the National History Museum National Museum of Ireland - History and Archaeology most times that I am in Dublin, but I don't think I really realised the full extent of the difficulty of conserving it before. (Despite the fact that I'm fairly sure that picture with the separated letters features in the exhibition - the psalter tends to be the last thing I visit and I think I'm a bit museumed out by the time I reach it.)

I would recommend at the very least poking around on the NMI website for some of the other exhibits - there are other interesting artifacts in the Treasury, and Ór, the gold collection is amazing. (As are the bog bodies in the Kingship and Sacrifice exhibition in a different way. Note: there are photos at that link that some people may find disturbing).

Here is also the up-to-date YouTube for the National Museum of Ireland, for more Irish history and natural history stuff.
posted by scorbet at 3:32 AM on November 22

That photo of loose, assorted letters gave me big-time anxiety.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:54 AM on November 22 [4 favorites]

That photo of loose, assorted letters gave me big-time anxiety.

Speaking as a book conservator, HARD SAME.
posted by ikahime at 10:03 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]

I couldn't find any of the pages that were built from the loose letters, in fact I could only find one picture of a restored page at all, frustratingly.
posted by tavella at 6:55 AM on November 23 [1 favorite]

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