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    Sale 5971

    An English Look - Robert Kime, Piers von Westenholz, David Bedale and James Graham-Stewart

    8 July 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 382

    A PAIR OF FOSSILISED GIANT DEER OR 'IRISH ELK' ANTLERS

    CIRCA 10,500-5,700 B.C.

    Price Realised  

    A PAIR OF FOSSILISED GIANT DEER OR 'IRISH ELK' ANTLERS
    CIRCA 10,500-5,700 B.C.
    71 in. (180.5 cm.) overall width


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    The Giant Deer or 'Irish Elk' (Megaloceros giganteus) lived during the Pliocene, Pleistocene and Holocene epochs and survived the Great Ice Age, although the climactic changes following the Ice Age may have hastened its extinction. The latest known remains of the Irish elk have been carbon dated to about 5,700 B.C. It probably originated in Siberia but migrated westward under the influence of increasing cold. Its range extended over a wide part of central Europe and Asia and the largest concentration of its remains have been found in Ireland, chiefly in the marl underlying bogland. This marl has a high calcium carbonate content, which assists in preserving bones. These ancient antlers, many discovered in caves in Counties Waterford, Cork and Clare, have long been a feature of the Irish banqueting hall. Among the most celebrated examples of the extinct Giant Deer were those displayed at Rathfarnham Castle in the 1580s (an early 17th century sketch is preserved in the National Museum of Ireland and is illustrated in A. Crookshank and the Knight of Glin, Irish Watercolours, London, 1994, pl. 30).

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    Provenance

    Kilrush House, County Clare, Ireland.


    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that the provenance of this lot should read 'Kilrush House, Freshford, Co. Kilkenny.'