A bog body is a corpse found mummified a peat bog. Unlike other ancient remains, most bog bodies still have skin and organs. This is due to the very specific conditions found in peat bogs, which feature highly acidic water, very little oxygen, and low temperatures. The skin is usually well preserved, although it is often tanned, but bones usually dissolve because of their calcium phosphate content.
The Ages Of Bog Bodies
The oldest bog person to date is known as Keolbjerg Man from Denmark, who has been dated back to 8,000 BC. The oldest fleshed body dates back to the Bronze Age of 2,000BC and is known as Cashel Man. Lindow Man, one of several found in Lindow Moss bog, dates back to about 2BC.
The Bjaeldskovdal Bog in Denmark’s Jutland peninsular was where one of the most famous bog bodies, Tollund Man, was found. The story, as told in the Light House News Daily explains how originally, the people who found him thought they had found the remains of a young boy who had recently gone missing, so they reported their find to the police. The police were trying to establish a time of death but were experiencing difficulty, so called out a local archaeologist named Professor Glob. He shocked them all by declaring the body to be at least 2,000 years old and the victim of a ritual sacrifice.
Where Are They Found
Large parts of Europe were at one time a bog, and that is where the most have been found. In Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, and the UK, examples of bog bodies have been unearthed, mostly dating back to the Iron Age. A few have been found in Florida, where they call them ‘bog people’, and these are estimated to be 5,000 to 8,000 years old.
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How Did They Get In The Bog?
Many bog bodies are naked, and appear to have been thrown into the bog, whether as a sacrifice to their gods or because they were criminals. Some had been strangled, others wore expensive jewelry, and a few were well nourished. If someone committed suicide, their corpse was thrown into the bog because it went against religious beliefs to bury them in consecrated ground. It is thought this was the case with the 16th century Meenybradden Woman, who was found in Ireland. It has also been suggested that sometimes bodies were thrown into the bog because the families could not afford the cost of a funeral.
Whatever the reason corpses finished up in a bog, new technology has made it easier to determine their lifestyle and what happened to them. There are instances where it was thought they had been hit hard on the head with a blunt object and that was the cause of death. Now scientists have been able to establish that in some cases it was the weight of the bog that damaged their skulls.
No doubt, as their scientific tools continue to progress, the information from bog bodies will become even more accurate.