Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Bog Man

There is a human relic uncovered in Denmark!

The extraordinarily well preserved body of a man found in a Danish bog tells a 2,400-year-old tale of violence and mystery. The peat in which the Tollund Man was buried controlled bacteria and slowed decomposition, leaving a largely intact body for researchers to investigate when local workers discovered it in the 1950s. Shrunken and folded skin still covered the man's core, and his extremities, though skeletal, were still attached. His face remains astonishingly lifelike, with eyelids, lips—even brow wrinkles. Within his skull, x-rays reveal a preserved brain. A tuft of cropped red hair—so colored by the bog water—remains on his head, as well as a sheepskin hat with leather straps.

Modern radiocarbon dating places the corpse in the Iron Age circa 400 B.C., but debate persists over the cause of death: human sacrifice or criminal punishment? A four-foot-long (1.2 m) rope around his neck confirms he was hanged or strangled, but the gentle positioning of his body in its final resting place suggests a more benign hand. Bog man was an estimated 30 to 40 years old when he died. More than a thousand such bodies and skeletons have been found in Europe's bogs.

Agrarian Heritage

ollund Man most likely lived in a farming village during the Celtic or pre-Roman Iron Age. Tending livestock and harvesting grain were the primary occupations, but fire-side cooking and storytelling drew people indoors too. Antique vessels are evidence of worship rituals and offerings, though it's uncertain which gods were honored.

From National Geographic's "Hidden Earth" which you can purchase here.

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