Folklife Center to Host Lecture on "Treasure from the Bog"

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Frank & Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University will host a special talk by a guest lecturer from Ireland at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 3.   

John Gillis, Senior Conservator at Trinity College Library, Dublin, will speak on “Treasure from the Bog,” the story of the Faddan More Psalter, an 8th-century manuscript unearthed from a peat bog. A reception will follow the lecture. Admission is free and open to the public.

In July 2006, one of the most spectacular discoveries in European archaeology was made near the small Irish town of Faddan More, County Tipperary. A man working in a peat bog uncovered the first early medieval Irish manuscript to be found in 200 years. Within days, the manuscript was transferred to the National Museum of Ireland, marking the beginning of a 4 and a half year project to document, analyze and conserve this wholly unique artifact.

The lecture examines the manuscript’s fragmented remains of the 150 Psalms, with areas of illumination and decorated lettering; its cover, one of only a handful of surviving early medieval Western book covers; and surprising aspects of the cover that compare with early book structures from as far away as Egypt. Some of the surprise features raise more questions than answers. 

John Gillis has worked in and taught book conservation in Ireland and Italy for over 25 years. He spent almost half a decade carrying out the conservation of this rare manuscript, encountering the unprecedented challenges and unforeseen surprises it presented. Gillis is an engaging storyteller whose enthusiasm is contagious.

For more information, contact Pat Musick, Interim Director, Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center, (304) 333-3606 or 367-4403.

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University is dedicated to the identification, preservation and perpetuation of our region’s rich cultural heritage, through academic studies, educational programs, festivals and performances and publications. For more information about the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center, visit