Clonycavan Man is the name given to a well-preserved Iron Age bog body found in Clonycavan, Ballivor, County Meath, Ireland in March 2003. He has been calculated to have been approximately 1.76 metres (5 ft 9 in) in height, and is remarkable for the "gel" in his hair.
Only his torso and upper abdomen are preserved. He was found in a modern peat harvesting machine, which was possibly responsible for the severing of his lower body. He had a squashed nose and crooked teeth. Pores are visible on the nose, and he had a thin beard.
Clonycavan Man is believed to have been murdered - based on an examination of the evidence found on his body by the Garda Technical Bureau (Irish Police Forensic Division). His skull had been split open by a sharp implement. There is a deep wound on the top of his head, and parts of his brain have been found in this wound. There is also a large laceration across the bridge of his nose leading under his right eye. Both injuries seem to have been caused by the same sharp implement, most likely an axe. Radiocarbon dating has placed his death to between 392 BCE and 201 BCE, during the Iron Age of western Europe, making him around 2,300 years old.
Scientific study of his hair has shed light on Clonycavan Man's diet leading up to his death. His diet was rich in vegetables, which indicates that he may have been killed during the warmer summer months of the year. Clonycavan Man was also fairly young at the time of his death, believed to be in his early twenties.
The most distinguishing feature of the man was his Mohawk hairstyle, which was raised with the help of a "hair gel" of plant oil and pine resin, imported from south-western France or Spain. This may attest to trade between Ireland and southern Europe in the fourth and third centuries BCE, before Roman influence was brought to bear on the Celts of Iberia and Galicia (Spain). This could also suggest that he was wealthy, as few others would have been able to buy imported cosmetics.
- "Iron Age 'bog bodies' unveiled", BBC News, 7 January 2006
- "Iron Age 'Bog Man' Used Imported Hair Gel", National Geographic, Jan. 17, 2006
- "The Perfect Corpse" Transcript, PBS Broadcast Feb. 7, 2006
- National Geographic September 2007: "Tales From the Bog"
- "www.excavations.ie 2003 County Meath 10186".