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Bog Mummy : An Ancient Mystery

Can Ancient Bog Mummy Tell What Was Their Last Meal?

Bog Mummy
Bog Mummy
source : Science.howstuffworks

Sometime around 60 AD, a person was led into a wetland outside Cheshire, England to be killed. He was in his mid twenties, about 5’7 all and had a trimmed beard mustache, and brown hair. Apart from an armband made from fox fur, he was naked. It’s likely that he was accompanied and restrained by two or more individuals. Ancient corpses tell us tons about how our ancestors lived and none more so than these unsettling Bog People.

Cast into northern European wetlands, Bog Bodies have appeared long as unexplained to archaeologists as their dark and watery graves. But new clues are coming within the centuries for their origins.

Over 500 Iron Age bog bodies and skeletons dating to between 800 BC. and AD 200 are discovered only in Denmark, with more unburied in Germany, Netherlands , The UK , and Ireland.

Much of the bodies skin, hair, clothes, and stomach contents are well preserved, because of the acidic, poor oxygen conditions of peat bogs, which are made from gathered layers of dead moss.

Six of the Foremost Horrifying Bog Bodies

1. Throat slit ‘from ear to ear’ 

Grauballe Man Bog mummy
Grauballe Man
Source : Wikiwand

The Grauballe man was found from a bog in 1952 near the village of Grauballe in Jutland, Denmark. Experts believe that his throat was slit from ear to ear around 2,300 years ago.

Maybe he was sacrificed as a part of a horrifying ritual or the victim of a terrible murder.

Hand of grauballe man
Hand of Grauballe Man
Source : Wikiwand

Early study revealed that the poor crack was naked when he died, and his face was twisted into a terrible manner. He was about 30 years old and 5feet7inches tall. Analysis of his stomach revealed that his last meal was porridge.
The Grauballe man is on display at Denmark’s Moesgard Museum of Prehistory.

2) Head caved in

Osterby Head
Osterby Head
Source : Pinterest

This man head is so well-preserved that his hair remains tied during a Trendy Knot.

He wear a Suebian knot, a hairstyle prevalent among ancient Germanic tribes. This bog body is known as the Osterby man, or Osterby head, the remains date to around 70 AD.

They were unburied during a peat bog near the town of Osterby, Germany, in 1948.

It appears the person suffered a killing his left temple(area between forehead and ear) was fractured leaving skull fragments embedded in his brain.

osterby man suebian knot bog
Osterby Man Wear Suebian knot
Source : Ancient-origins

Experts aren’t sure whether the person believed to be around 60 years old when he died was killed or sacrificed. His age and hairstyle suggest a noble death. It means he more likely was killed as a part of a ritual.

Bogs were sacred places for Iron Age folk, acting as gateway to the supernatural world, where gifts might be presented to the Gods. The head sits within the Archäologisches Landesmuseum in Germany.

3) Impaled on spikes

Around 700 years ago, this man was struck three times on the back of the top before his body was stabbed on three wooden spikes during a bog in Sweden. Experts think his killers used the spikes to prevent the corpse from rising to the surface.

Analysis revealed that he died around the 13th Century and he was wearing fancy leather shoes and a tunic (loose garments) when he died and suggesting he was of high social standing.

He is known as the Bocksten man, the body was unburied in 1936 and is now on display in the Halland Museum of Cultural History.

4) Drowned for adultery

Bog Mummy Young Girl
Young girl was only 14 years old when she died
Source : Ancient origins

A bog body found in Germany is a young girl who was killed for her crimes. Discovered in 1952, her corpse was found near the town of Windeby when peat cutting machinery chopped off one among her legs and hands.

Experts think she may are an adulteress whose head was shaved, after which she was blindfolded and drowned within the bog. It’s believed the girl was 14 when she died and was discovered with a woollen band covering her eyes, which scientists think was wrapped over her after death. But recent research suggests the “Windeby Girl was actually more likely to possess been a young man.

An analysis of the mummy’s bones indicated a sick young man who may have died from natural causes. He may have lost his hair while archaeologists dug up the body.

5) Sacrificed at 25

bog mummy denmark
Women Found in a Bog in Denmark
Source : Wikipedia

This adult female body is so well preserved that her leather belt and braids of her hair remain in consideration. Examination of the body revealed that she was only 25 years when she met a horrifying death. She was hanged around 2,000 years ago, with the leather noose (death by hanging) leaving a V-shaped scar that’s clearly visible in her neck.

Experts believe she was sacrificed to the gods during a period of great hardship for her tribe. The Elling Woman was found in Bjældskovdal bog, near Silkeborg in Denmark in 1938, and is on display at the Silkeborg Museum.

6) Hanged naked

Tollund Bog  Mummy
Tollund Man
source : Britannica

In 1950, experts found a bog body with a “face so fresh they might only suppose that they had came across a recent murder”. He is known as the Tollund man, the corpse is perhaps the foremost well-preserved body from pre-historic times within the world. 

A plaited leather noose (hanging for death) wrapped tightly around his neck was found with the body, and was what ultimately killed him some 2,300 years ago.

Bog Body
Leather Noose found Wrapped around his Neck
Source : Smithsonianmag

The Tollund man organs are taken out and tested, and he was found with a leather cap still binned to his head. He was found within the same Danish bog because the Ellin Woman, and it was believed that he was also sacrificed as an offering to the Gods.

The man now sits during a glass case at the Silkeborg Museum.

Theories about bog bodies

Theories on mummy
Source : bbc

The first thing everyone remarks on when distressed with one among the bog bodies is their remarkable state of preservation.

The bogs during which they were buried contain little oxygen, which helps to inhibit bacterial growth. the foremost important ingredient for the bog bodies survival though comes from a plant called sphagnum. When sphagnum dies, it releases polysaccharides (a carbohydrate) which block bacterial metabolisms. This helps keep organic matter like skin, wood, fur, and textiles from succumbing(not resist) to decay.

Bogs cure bodies during a process like tanning, but while they’re wonderful at preserving skin, they eat away at bones, leaving the bodies’ skeletons shrunken and sometimes, completely absent. At an equivalent time, acids in bog water destroy DNA, making genetic studies impossible.

Most bog bodies are discovered within the process of excavating peat to be used as fuel, and as a result, many are hacked apart by spades and shovels, and more recently, by mechanical peat excavators. The poor Grauballe Man even had his head stepped on, leaving it badly deformed. Modern forensic specialists have had to figure hard to differentiate trauma imposed on the bodies in life from the damage done to them once they were found.

Forensic data 

reconstruction of bog mummy face
Facial Reconstruction of Bog Body
Source : Pinterest

On top of post-mortem trauma, the weird preservation of the bog bodies can pose a further challenge to investigators. When a body was found within the Lindow Moss in 1983, police initially thought it belonged to a recently murdered woman. By coincidence, it had been found just thousand feet from the cottage of a person who was suspected in his wife’s disappearance. Distressed with the body, he admitted to the crime.

Only a couple of months later did it become apparent that the body was that of a two thousand year old man. But despite these mix-ups, there’s a wealth of forensic data preserved within the bog bodies’ soft tissue, and it can tell us tons about who these individuals’ were in life—their social station , medical record and even the food they ate in their final hours. The Tollund Man last meal was a sort of gruel(thin liquid food or meal of boiled milk or water), described as ‘disgusting’ by a British archaeologist who tasted a reconstructed version for a program on the BBC. The Grauballe Man ate a porridge made out of 60 differing types of plant, which contained enough ergot (fungal food) to place him during a coma, or a minimum of make him insane.

The Old Croghan Man, an aristocratic giant from Ireland, lived totally on meat and dairy, but his final meal was buttermilk and cereal.

The Lindow Man had an ‘upmarket’ meal of griddle-toasted flatbread, with alittle addition of mistletoe (leatherly leaved parasitic plant) pollen. Many of the bog victims suffered from malnutrition. Others appear to possess been more happy. Some had finely manicured (cosmetic treatment) hands, or wore elaborate hairstyles that indicated their rank as freedmen or warriors.

An unusual number of the bog bodies suffered from physical deformities. a number of these were fairly minor, sort of a auricle (external part of ear) or curved spinal cord or diseased joints which might have made walking difficult. Other abnormalities were more pronounced.

A survey of bog body research turns up a dwarf, a giant, and a person with an additional set of thumbs. Aldhouse-Green thinks this could be significant, which visually special people may are deliberately targeted for his or her uniqueness, and possibly, spiritual power. Overall, the archaeologists acknowledged it’s likely there’ll always be more questions than answers when it involves mysterious bog bodies. Added the University of Oslo’s Hedeager: “We will never be ready to uncover the perception of life and death of these individuals 2,000 years ago.

“That remains a real secret of the bogs”.

Originally posted on July 1, 2020 @ 10:02 AM

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