Bog body
Overview
 
Bog bodies, which are also known as bog people, are the naturally preserved human corpses found in the sphagnum bogs
Bog
A bog, quagmire or mire is a wetland that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses or, in Arctic climates, lichens....

 in Northern Europe
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

. Unlike most ancient human remains, bog bodies have retained their skin and internal organs
Organ (anatomy)
In biology, an organ is a collection of tissues joined in structural unit to serve a common function. Usually there is a main tissue and sporadic tissues . The main tissue is the one that is unique for the specific organ. For example, main tissue in the heart is the myocardium, while sporadic are...

 due to the unusual conditions of the surrounding area. These conditions include highly acid
Acid
An acid is a substance which reacts with a base. Commonly, acids can be identified as tasting sour, reacting with metals such as calcium, and bases like sodium carbonate. Aqueous acids have a pH of less than 7, where an acid of lower pH is typically stronger, and turn blue litmus paper red...

ic water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

, low temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

, and a lack of oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

, combining to preserve but severely tan
Tanning
Tanning is the making of leather from the skins of animals which does not easily decompose. Traditionally, tanning used tannin, an acidic chemical compound from which the tanning process draws its name . Coloring may occur during tanning...

 their skin. Despite the fact that their skin is preserved, their bones are generally not, as the acid in the peat dissolves the calcium phosphate
Calcium phosphate
Calcium phosphate is the name given to a family of minerals containing calcium ions together with orthophosphates , metaphosphates or pyrophosphates and occasionally hydrogen or hydroxide ions ....

 of bone.

The German scientist Dr.
Encyclopedia
Bog bodies, which are also known as bog people, are the naturally preserved human corpses found in the sphagnum bogs
Bog
A bog, quagmire or mire is a wetland that accumulates acidic peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses or, in Arctic climates, lichens....

 in Northern Europe
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

. Unlike most ancient human remains, bog bodies have retained their skin and internal organs
Organ (anatomy)
In biology, an organ is a collection of tissues joined in structural unit to serve a common function. Usually there is a main tissue and sporadic tissues . The main tissue is the one that is unique for the specific organ. For example, main tissue in the heart is the myocardium, while sporadic are...

 due to the unusual conditions of the surrounding area. These conditions include highly acid
Acid
An acid is a substance which reacts with a base. Commonly, acids can be identified as tasting sour, reacting with metals such as calcium, and bases like sodium carbonate. Aqueous acids have a pH of less than 7, where an acid of lower pH is typically stronger, and turn blue litmus paper red...

ic water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

, low temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

, and a lack of oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

, combining to preserve but severely tan
Tanning
Tanning is the making of leather from the skins of animals which does not easily decompose. Traditionally, tanning used tannin, an acidic chemical compound from which the tanning process draws its name . Coloring may occur during tanning...

 their skin. Despite the fact that their skin is preserved, their bones are generally not, as the acid in the peat dissolves the calcium phosphate
Calcium phosphate
Calcium phosphate is the name given to a family of minerals containing calcium ions together with orthophosphates , metaphosphates or pyrophosphates and occasionally hydrogen or hydroxide ions ....

 of bone.

The German scientist Dr. Alfred Dieck
Alfred Dieck
Alfred Dieck was a German archaeologist internationally recognised for the scientific studies on bog bodies and bog finds...

 catalogued the known existence of over 1,850 northern European bog bodies in 1965, but according to the state of scientific research, many cannot be verified by documents or archaeological finds. Most, although not all, of these bodies have been dated to the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

. Many show signs of having been killed and deposited in a similar manner, indicating some sort of ritual
Ritual
A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. The term usually excludes actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers....

 element, which many archaeologists believe show that these were the victims of human sacrifice
Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual . Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history...

 in Iron Age Germanic paganism
Germanic paganism
Germanic paganism refers to the theology and religious practices of the Germanic peoples of north-western Europe from the Iron Age until their Christianization during the Medieval period...

. Some of the most notable examples of bog bodies include Tollund Man
Tollund Man
The Tollund Man is the naturally mummified corpse of a man who lived during the 4th century BC, during the time period characterised in Scandinavia as the Pre-Roman Iron Age. He was found in 1950 buried in a peat bog on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark, which preserved his body. Such a find is...

 and Grauballe Man
Grauballe Man
The Grauballe Man is a bog body that was uncovered in 1952 from a peat bog near to the village of Grauballe in Jutland, Denmark. The body itself is that of an adult male dating from the late 3rd century BC, during the early Iron Age, and he had been killed by having his throat slit open...

 from Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 and Lindow Man
Lindow man
Lindow Man, also known as Lindow II and as Pete Marsh, is the preserved bog body of a man discovered in a peat bog at Lindow Moss near Wilmslow in Cheshire, North West England. The body was found on 1 August 1984 by commercial peat-cutters...

 from England.

Bog chemistry

A limited number of bogs have the correct conditions for preservation of mammalian tissue. Most of these are located in the colder climes of northern Europe near bodies of salt water. For example, in the area of Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 where the Haraldskær Woman
Haraldskær Woman
The Haraldskær Woman is an Iron Age bog body found naturally preserved in a bog in Jutland, Denmark. Labourers discovered the body in 1835 while excavating peat on the Haraldskær Estate...

 was recovered, salt air from the North Sea blows across the Jutland wetlands and provides an ideal environment for the growth of peat
Peat
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world...

. As new peat replaces the old peat, the older material underneath rots and releases humic acid
Humic acid
Humic acid is a principal component of humic substances, which are the major organic constituents of soil , peat, coal, many upland streams, dystrophic lakes, and ocean water. It is produced by biodegradation of dead organic matter...

, also known as bog acid. The bog acids, with pH levels similar to vinegar, conserve the human bodies in the same way as fruit is preserved by pickling
Pickling
Pickling, also known as brining or corning is the process of preserving food by anaerobic fermentation in brine to produce lactic acid, or marinating and storing it in an acid solution, usually vinegar . The resulting food is called a pickle. This procedure gives the food a salty or sour taste...

. In addition, peat bogs form in areas lacking drainage and hence are characterized by almost completely anaerobic
Hypoxia (environmental)
Hypoxia, or oxygen depletion, is a phenomenon that occurs in aquatic environments as dissolved oxygen becomes reduced in concentration to a point where it becomes detrimental to aquatic organisms living in the system...

 conditions. This environment, highly acidic and devoid of oxygen, denies the prevalent subsurface aerobic organisms any opportunity to initiate decomposition
Decomposition
Decomposition is the process by which organic material is broken down into simpler forms of matter. The process is essential for recycling the finite matter that occupies physical space in the biome. Bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death...

. Researchers discovered that conservation also required the body to be placed in the bog during the winter or early spring when the water temperature is cold—i.e., less than 4 °C (40 °F). This allows the bog acids to saturate the tissues before decay can begin. Bacteria are unable to grow rapidly enough for decomposition at temperatures under 4 °C.

The bog chemistry environment involves a completely saturated acidic environment, where considerable concentrations of organic acids and aldehydes are present. Layers of sphagnum and peat assist in preserving the cadavers by enveloping the tissue in a cold immobilizing matrix, impeding water circulation and any oxygenation. An additional feature of anaerobic preservation by acidic bogs is the ability to conserve hair, clothing and leather items. Modern experimenters have been able to mimic bog conditions in the laboratory and successfully demonstrate the preservation process, albeit over shorter time frames, than the 2,500 years that Haraldskær Woman's body has survived. Most of the bog bodies discovered had some aspects of decay or else were not properly conserved. When such specimens are exposed to the normal atmosphere, they may rapidly begin to decompose. As a result, many specimens have been effectively destroyed, such as the first bog body from Husbake. It is estimated that 53 bog bodies (the Cashel Man being the latest discovered) have survived.

Iron Age bog bodies

The vast majority of the bog bodies that have been discovered date from the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

, a period of time when the peat bogs covered a much larger area of northern Europe than they do currently. Many of these Iron Age bodies bear a number of similarities, indicating a known cultural tradition of killing and depositing these people in a certain manner. These Pre-Roman Iron Age
Pre-Roman Iron Age
The Pre-Roman Iron Age of Northern Europe designates the earliest part of the Iron Age in Scandinavia, northern Germany, and the Netherlands north of the Rhine River. These regions feature many extensive archaeological excavation sites, which have yielded a wealth of artifacts...

 peoples lived in sedentary communities, who had built villages, and whose society was hierarchical. They were agriculturalists
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, raising animals in captivity as well as growing crops. In some parts of northern Europe, they also hunted fish
Fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

. Although independent of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, which dominated southern Europe at this time, the Bog People traded with the Romans.

For these people, the bogs held some sort of significance, and indeed, they placed votive offering
Votive offering
A votive deposit or votive offering is one or more objects displayed or deposited, without the intention of recovery or use, in a sacred place for broadly religious purposes. Such items are a feature of modern and ancient societies and are generally made in order to gain favor with supernatural...

s into them, often of neck-rings, wristlets or ankle-rings made of bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 or more rarely gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

. The archaeologist P.V. Glob believed that these were "offerings to the gods of fertility and good fortune", a viewpoint that is widely supported. It is therefore widely speculated that the Iron Age bog bodies were thrown into the bog for similar reasons, and that they were therefore examples of human sacrifice
Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual . Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history...

 to the gods. Nonetheless, others speculate that the bog bodies were criminals who were executed before being deposited in the bog rather than religious sacrifices.

Many bog bodies show signs of being stabbed
Stabbing
A stabbing is penetration with a sharp or pointed object at close range. Stab connotes purposeful action, as by an assassin or murderer, but it is also possible to accidentally stab oneself or others.Stabbing differs from slashing or cutting in that the motion of the object used in a stabbing...

, bludgeon
Bludgeon
Bludgeon may refer to:* Bludgeon , a fictional character* Bludgeon , a club-like weapon* Crabtree's Bludgeon, a foil to Occam's Razor...

ed, hanged or strangled, or a combination of these methods. In some cases the individual had been beheaded, and in the case of the Osterby Head found at Kohlmoor, near to Osterby
Osterby
Osterby is a municipality in the district of Rendsburg-Eckernförde, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.Osterby is south of the municipality of Hummelfeld or Fleckeby or Windeby, but north of Hütten, Damendorf, and Groß Wittensee....

, Germany in 1948, the head had been deposited in the bog without its body.

Usually the corpses were naked, sometimes with some items of clothing with them, particularly headgear. In a number of cases, twigs, sticks or stones were placed on top of the body, sometimes in a cross formation, and at other times forked sticks had been driven into the peat to hold the corpse down. According to the archaeologist P.V. Glob, "this probably indicates the wish to pin the dead man firmly into the bog." Some bodies show signs of torture, such as Old Croghan Man
Old Croghan Man
Old Croghan Man is the name given to a well-preserved Iron Age bog body found in an Irish bog in June 2003. The remains are named after Croghan Hill, north of Daingean, County Offaly, near where the body was found. The find is on display in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.Old Croghan Man...

, who had deep cuts beneath his nipples.

Some bog bodies, such as Tollund Man
Tollund Man
The Tollund Man is the naturally mummified corpse of a man who lived during the 4th century BC, during the time period characterised in Scandinavia as the Pre-Roman Iron Age. He was found in 1950 buried in a peat bog on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark, which preserved his body. Such a find is...

 from Denmark, have been found with the rope used to strangle them still around their necks. Some, such as the Yde Girl
Yde Girl
Yde Girl is a bog body found in the Stijfveen peat bog near the village of Yde, Netherlands. She was found on 12 May 1897 and was reputedly uncannily well-preserved when discovered , but by the time the body was turned over to the authorities a fortnight later it had been severely damaged and...

 in the Netherlands and bog bodies in Ireland, had the hair on one side of their heads closely cropped, although this could be due to one side of their head being exposed to oxygen for a longer period of time than the other. Some of the bog bodies seem consistently to have been members of the upper class: their fingernails are manicured, and tests on hair protein routinely record good nutrition. Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

 records that the Celts practiced auguries on the entrails of human victims: on some bog bodies, such as one of the Weerdinge Men
Weerdinge Men
The Weerdinge men . were two naked bog bodies found in Drenthe, the Netherlands, in the southern part of Bourtanger Moor in 1904. Radiocarbon dating shows that the two likely died between ca.160 BC to ca.220 AD. At first, it was believed that one of the two bodies was female, which led to the...

 found in southern Netherlands, the entrails have been partly drawn out through incisions.

Modern techniques of forensic analysis now suggest that some injuries, such as broken bones and crushed skulls, were not the result of torture, but rather due to the weight of the bog. For example, the fractured skull of Grauballe Man
Grauballe Man
The Grauballe Man is a bog body that was uncovered in 1952 from a peat bog near to the village of Grauballe in Jutland, Denmark. The body itself is that of an adult male dating from the late 3rd century BC, during the early Iron Age, and he had been killed by having his throat slit open...

 was at one time thought to have been caused by a blow to the head. However, a CT scan of Grauballe Man by Danish scientists determined his skull was fractured due to pressure from the bog long after his death.

Non-Iron-Age bog bodies

There are of course bog bodies that are exceptions in that they do not date to the Iron Age. The oldest known bog body is that of the Koelbjerg Woman
Koelbjerg Woman
Koelbjerg Woman is the oldest bog body known and dates from around 8000 BC.. Discovered in 1941 her skeletal remains were uncovered and are kept at the Fyns Oldtid-Hollufgärd museum in Denmark.-References:...

 who was found in Denmark, and has been dated to around 8000 BCE, during the Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

. Amongst the most recent, the corpse of Meenybradden Woman found in Ireland dates to the 16th century AD and was found in unhallowed ground, with evidence indicating that she committed suicide and was therefore buried in the bog rather than in the churchyard because she had committed a Christian sin
Sin
In religion, sin is the violation or deviation of an eternal divine law or standard. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Christians believe the moral code of conduct is decreed by God In religion, sin (also called peccancy) is the violation or deviation...

. Bog bodies have also formed from the corpses of Russian and German soldiers killed fighting on the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War I)
The Eastern Front was a theatre of war during World War I in Central and, primarily, Eastern Europe. The term is in contrast to the Western Front. Despite the geographical separation, the events in the two theatres strongly influenced each other...

 during the First World War in the Masurian Lake District region of north-eastern Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

.

Discovery and archaeological investigation

Ever since the Iron Age, humans have used the bogs to harvest peat
Peat
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world...

, a common fuel source. On various occasions throughout history, peat diggers have come across bog bodies. Records of such finds go back as far as the 17th century, and in 1640 a bog body was discovered at Shalkholz Fen in Holstein
Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

, Germany. This was possibly the first ever such discovery to be recorded. The first more fully documented account of discovery of a bog body was at a peat bog on Drumkeragh Mountain in County Down
County Down
-Cities:*Belfast *Newry -Large towns:*Dundonald*Newtownards*Bangor-Medium towns:...

, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

; it was written up by Lady Moira, the wife of the local landowner. Such reports continued into the 18th century: for instance, a body was reportedly found on the Danish island of Fyn
FYN
Proto-oncogene tyrosine-protein kinase Fyn is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the FYN gene.This gene is a member of the protein-tyrosine kinase oncogene family. It encodes a membrane-associated tyrosine kinase that has been implicated in the control of cell growth...

 in 1773, whilst the Kibbelgaarn body was discovered in the Netherlands in 1791. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, when such bodies were discovered, they were often removed from the bogs and given a Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 burial on consecrated church ground in keeping with the religious beliefs of the community who found them, who often assumed them to be relatively modern.

With the rise of antiquarianism in the 19th century, some people began to speculate that many of the bog bodies were not recent murder victims but were ancient in origin. In 1843, at Corselitze on Falster
Falster
Falster is an island in south-eastern Denmark with an area of 514 km² and 43,398 inhabitants as of 1 January 2010. Located in the Baltic sea, it is part of Region Sjælland and is administered by Guldborgsund Municipality...

 in Denmark, a bog body unusually buried with ornaments (seven glass beads and a bronze pin) was unearthed and subsequently given a Christian burial. By order of the Crown Prince Frederick
Frederick VII of Denmark
Frederick VII was a King of Denmark. He reigned from 1848 until his death. He was the last Danish monarch of the older Royal branch of the House of Oldenburg and also the last king of Denmark to rule as an absolute monarch...

, who was an antiquarian, the body was dug up again and sent to the National Museum of Denmark
National Museum of Denmark
The National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen is Denmark’s largest museum of cultural history, comprising the histories of Danish and foreign cultures, alike. The museum's main domicile is located a short distance from Strøget at the center of Copenhagen. It contains exhibits from around the world,...

. According to the archaeologist P.V. Glob, it was "he, more than anyone else, [who] helped to arouse the wide interest in Danish antiquities" such as the bog bodies.

After the Haraldskær Woman
Haraldskær Woman
The Haraldskær Woman is an Iron Age bog body found naturally preserved in a bog in Jutland, Denmark. Labourers discovered the body in 1835 while excavating peat on the Haraldskær Estate...

 was unearthed in Denmark, she was exhibited as having been the legendary Queen Gunhild of the early Mediaeval period. This view was disputed by the archaeologist J. J. A. Worsaae, who argued that the body was Iron Age in origin, like most bog bodies, and predated any historical persons by at least 500 years. The first bog body to be photographed was the Iron Age Rendswühren Man, discovered in 1871, at the Heidmoor Fen, near Kiel in Germany. His body was subsequently smoked as an early attempt at conservation and put on display in a museum.

With the rise of modern archaeology
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 in the early 20th Century, the bog bodies began to be excavated and investigated more carefully and thoroughly.

Archaeological techniques

Until the mid-20th century, it was not readily apparent at the time of discovery whether a body has been buried in a bog for years, decades, or centuries. But, modern forensic and medical technologies (such as radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years. Raw, i.e. uncalibrated, radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" ,...

) have been developed that allow researchers to more closely determine the age of the burial, the person's age at death, and other details. Scientists have been able to study the skin of the bog bodies, reconstruct their appearance and even determine what their last meal was from their stomach contents. Their teeth also indicate their age at death and what type of food they ate throughout their lifetime.
Subsurface radar
Ground penetrating radar survey (archaeology)
Ground penetrating radar survey is one of a number of methods used in archaeological geophysics. GPR can be used to detect and map subsurface archaeological artifacts, features, and patterning.- Overview :...

 can be used by archaeologists to detect bodies and artifacts beneath the bog surface before cutting into the peat. Radio carbon dating is also common as it accurately gives the date of the find, most usually from the Iron Age.

Because the peat marsh preserves soft internal tissue, the stomach contents can be analyzed. These give a good picture of the diet of those people. Forensic facial reconstruction
Forensic facial reconstruction
Forensic facial reconstruction is the process of recreating the face of an individual from their skeletal remains through an amalgamation of artistry, forensic science, anthropology, osteology, and anatomy...

 is one particularly impressive technique used in studying the bog bodies. Originally designed for identifying modern faces in crimes, this technique is a way of working out the facial features of a person by the shape of their skull. The face of one bog body, Yde Girl
Yde Girl
Yde Girl is a bog body found in the Stijfveen peat bog near the village of Yde, Netherlands. She was found on 12 May 1897 and was reputedly uncannily well-preserved when discovered , but by the time the body was turned over to the authorities a fortnight later it had been severely damaged and...

, was reconstructed in 1992 by Richard Neave of Manchester University using CT scans of her head. Yde Girl and her modern reconstruction are displayed at the Drents Museum
Drents Museum
The Drents Museum is a historical museum located in Assen, Netherlands. It was founded by the King's Commissioner of Drenthe on November 28, 1854 as the Provincial Museum of Drents Antiquities.-Collection:...

 in Assen
Assen
Assen is a municipality and a city in the north eastern Netherlands, capital of the province of Drenthe. It received city rights in 1809. Assen's main claim to fame is the TT Circuit Assen the motorcycle racing circuit, where on the last Saturday in June the Dutch TT is run...

. Such reconstructions have also been made of the heads of Lindow Man
Lindow man
Lindow Man, also known as Lindow II and as Pete Marsh, is the preserved bog body of a man discovered in a peat bog at Lindow Moss near Wilmslow in Cheshire, North West England. The body was found on 1 August 1984 by commercial peat-cutters...

 (British Museum, London, United Kingdom), Grauballe Man
Grauballe Man
The Grauballe Man is a bog body that was uncovered in 1952 from a peat bog near to the village of Grauballe in Jutland, Denmark. The body itself is that of an adult male dating from the late 3rd century BC, during the early Iron Age, and he had been killed by having his throat slit open...

, Girl of the Uchter Moor
Girl of the Uchter Moor
The Girl of the Uchter Moor also known as Moora is the name given to the female Iron Age bog body remains, discovered in 2000 in the marshland near Uchte, Germany. The remains include vertebrae, hair and skull pieces. The studies of the body began in 2005. The radiocarbon dating performed at the...

, Clonycavan Man
Clonycavan Man
Clonycavan Man is the name given to a well-preserved Iron Age bog body found in Clonycavan, County Meath, Ireland in March 2003. He has been calculated to have been approximately 1.57 metres in height, and is remarkable for the "gel" in his hair....

, and Windeby I
Windeby I
Windeby I is the name given to the bog body found preserved in a peat bog near Windeby, Northern Germany, in 1952. Until recently, the body was also called the Windeby Girl, because an archeologist believed it to be the body of a 14-year old female due to its slight build. Prof...

..

Notable bog bodies

Hundreds of bog bodies have been recovered and studied. The bodies have been most commonly found in the Northern Europe
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

an countries of Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Ireland. In 1965, the German scientist Alfred Dieck
Alfred Dieck
Alfred Dieck was a German archaeologist internationally recognised for the scientific studies on bog bodies and bog finds...

 cataloged more than 1,850 bog bodies, but later scholarship revealed much of the Dieck's work was erroneous, and an exact number of discovered bodies is unknown.

Several bog bodies are notable for the high quality of their preservation and the substantial research by archaeologists and forensic scientists. These include:
  • Bocksten Man
    Bocksten Man
    The Bocksten Man is the remains of a medieval male body found in a bog in Varberg Municipality, Sweden. It is one of the best-preserved finds in Europe from that era and is exhibited at the Varberg County Museum. The man had been killed and knocked to the bottom of a lake which later became a bog...

    , a modern body from 1290-1430 CE, found in 1936 in Varberg Municipality
    Varberg Municipality
    Varberg Municipality is a municipality in Halland County, in southwest Sweden. Its seat is in Varberg.It was formed in 1971 through the amalgamation of the City of Varberg and the surrounding rural municipalities...

    , Sweden
    Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

    .
  • Borremose Bodies
    Borremose Bodies
    Borremose Bodies is the collective name for three bog bodies found in the Borremose peat bog in Himmerland, Denmark. Recovered between 1946 and 1948, the bodies of a man and two women have been dated to the Nordic Bronze Age...

    , from 400-700 BCE, found 1940s in Himmerland
    Himmerland
    Himmerland is a peninsula in northeastern Jutland, Denmark. It is delimited to the north and the west by the Limfjord, to the east by the Kattegat, and to the south by the Mariager Fjord. The largest city is Aalborg; smaller towns include Hobro, Aars, Løgstør, Støvring and Nibe...

    , Denmark
    Denmark
    Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

    .
  • Cladh Hallan
    Cladh Hallan
    Cladh Hallan is an archaeological site on the island of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. It is significant as the only place in Great Britain where prehistoric mummies have been found. Excavations were carried out there between 1988 and 2002....

     mummies, from 1600-1300 BCE, found on the island of South Uist
    South Uist
    South Uist is an island of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. In the 2001 census it had a usually resident population of 1,818. There is a nature reserve and a number of sites of archaeological interest, including the only location in Great Britain where prehistoric mummies have been found. The...

    , Scotland
    Scotland
    Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

    .
  • Clonycavan Man
    Clonycavan Man
    Clonycavan Man is the name given to a well-preserved Iron Age bog body found in Clonycavan, County Meath, Ireland in March 2003. He has been calculated to have been approximately 1.57 metres in height, and is remarkable for the "gel" in his hair....

    , from 392-201 BCE, found 2003 in County Meath
    County Meath
    County Meath is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Mid-East Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the ancient Kingdom of Mide . Meath County Council is the local authority for the county...

    , Ireland
    Ireland
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

  • Girl of the Uchter Moor
    Girl of the Uchter Moor
    The Girl of the Uchter Moor also known as Moora is the name given to the female Iron Age bog body remains, discovered in 2000 in the marshland near Uchte, Germany. The remains include vertebrae, hair and skull pieces. The studies of the body began in 2005. The radiocarbon dating performed at the...

    , found in 2000 in Uchte
    Uchte
    Uchte is a municipality in the district of Nienburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated approximately 25 km southwest of Nienburg, and 25 km north of Minden.Uchte is also the seat of the Samtgemeinde Uchte....

    , Germany.
  • Grauballe Man
    Grauballe Man
    The Grauballe Man is a bog body that was uncovered in 1952 from a peat bog near to the village of Grauballe in Jutland, Denmark. The body itself is that of an adult male dating from the late 3rd century BC, during the early Iron Age, and he had been killed by having his throat slit open...

    , from 290 BCE, found 1952 in Jutland
    Jutland
    Jutland , historically also called Cimbria, is the name of the peninsula that juts out in Northern Europe toward the rest of Scandinavia, forming the mainland part of Denmark. It has the North Sea to its west, Kattegat and Skagerrak to its north, the Baltic Sea to its east, and the Danish–German...

    , Denmark.
  • Haraldskær Woman
    Haraldskær Woman
    The Haraldskær Woman is an Iron Age bog body found naturally preserved in a bog in Jutland, Denmark. Labourers discovered the body in 1835 while excavating peat on the Haraldskær Estate...

    , from 490 BCE, found 1835 in Jutland, Denmark.
  • Lindow Man
    Lindow man
    Lindow Man, also known as Lindow II and as Pete Marsh, is the preserved bog body of a man discovered in a peat bog at Lindow Moss near Wilmslow in Cheshire, North West England. The body was found on 1 August 1984 by commercial peat-cutters...

    , from 2 BCE – 119 CE, found 1984 in Cheshire
    Cheshire
    Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

    , England.
  • Old Croghan Man
    Old Croghan Man
    Old Croghan Man is the name given to a well-preserved Iron Age bog body found in an Irish bog in June 2003. The remains are named after Croghan Hill, north of Daingean, County Offaly, near where the body was found. The find is on display in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.Old Croghan Man...

    , from 362-175 BCE, found in 2003 County Offaly
    County Offaly
    County Offaly is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Midlands Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the ancient Kingdom of Uí Failghe and was formerly known as King's County until the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. Offaly County Council is...

    , Ireland.
  • Tollund Man
    Tollund Man
    The Tollund Man is the naturally mummified corpse of a man who lived during the 4th century BC, during the time period characterised in Scandinavia as the Pre-Roman Iron Age. He was found in 1950 buried in a peat bog on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark, which preserved his body. Such a find is...

    , from 400 BCE, found 1950 in Jutland, Denmark.
  • Weerdinge Men
    Weerdinge Men
    The Weerdinge men . were two naked bog bodies found in Drenthe, the Netherlands, in the southern part of Bourtanger Moor in 1904. Radiocarbon dating shows that the two likely died between ca.160 BC to ca.220 AD. At first, it was believed that one of the two bodies was female, which led to the...

    , from 160-220 BCE, found in Drenthe
    Drenthe
    Drenthe is a province of the Netherlands, located in the north-east of the country. The capital city is Assen. It is bordered by Overijssel to the south, Friesland to the west, Groningen to the north, and Germany to the east.-History:Drenthe, unlike many other parts of the Netherlands, has been a...

    , Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

     in 1904.
  • Windeby I
    Windeby I
    Windeby I is the name given to the bog body found preserved in a peat bog near Windeby, Northern Germany, in 1952. Until recently, the body was also called the Windeby Girl, because an archeologist believed it to be the body of a 14-year old female due to its slight build. Prof...

    , found 1952 in Schleswig-Holstein
    Schleswig-Holstein
    Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany, comprising most of the historical duchy of Holstein and the southern part of the former Duchy of Schleswig...

    , Germany.
  • Yde Girl
    Yde Girl
    Yde Girl is a bog body found in the Stijfveen peat bog near the village of Yde, Netherlands. She was found on 12 May 1897 and was reputedly uncannily well-preserved when discovered , but by the time the body was turned over to the authorities a fortnight later it had been severely damaged and...

    , 170 BCE–230 CE, found 1897 near Yde
    Yde
    Yde is a town in the Dutch province of Drenthe. It is a part of the municipality of Tynaarlo, and lies about 11 km south of Groningen.Yde is perhaps best known as the location near to where the bog body of the Yde Girl was found....

    , Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

    .


For a more comprehensive list of bog body discoveries, see List of bog bodies.

External links

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