Were the Mysterious Bog People date calculator age
A British archaeologist argues that the miraculously preserved bodies were left in the water as offerings phệ the gods .The Tollund Man (Wikimedia )Sometime around 60 A.D., a man was led into a marsh outside Cheshire, England bự be killed. He was in his mid-twenties, stood about 5 ’ 7 ’ ’ tall, & had a trimmed beard, mustache, & brown hair. Except for an armband made out of fox fur, he was naked. It’s likely that he was accompanied, và restrained, by two or more individuals .The details of his death make for grisly reading .First, he received a blow from a blunt object lớn the top of his head, probably while he was seated, which fractured his skull. Then a cord was thrown around his neck. While he was being throttled, his throat was cut. Combined with the pressure from the noose, this would have caused a geyser of blood mập erupt from the wound. Finally, he received a sharp kick mập the small of his back, propelling him face-first into the waters of the bog, where, nearly two thousand years later, he was found by workers digging for peat in the Lindow Moss .We know these details about the fate of the Lindow Man, as he has come lớn be known, because of the almost-miraculous preservative qualities of the bog where he was buried. Since the 18 th century, hundreds of bodies lượt thích his have been pulled out of the marshes of Northern Europe. Their ages span thousands of years, from the Stone Age mập the Second World War. Most, though, come from a relatively narrow band of thời gian, from about 700 B.C. phệ 200 A.D. Many show signs of terrible trauma, including torture, mutilation, & dismemberment. Together, they are the coldest of cold cases, và the reasons for their demise constitute one of the enduring mysteries of European archaeology .Explanations for why the bog victims were killed have included accident, punishment for crimes, execution of prisoners, và robberies gone wrong. In her mới nhất book, Bog Bodies Uncovered, Miranda Aldhouse-Green, a British archaeologist & expert on Celtic antiquity, argues that none of these causes make sense of all the available evidence. Bringing together results from forensic examination of the bodies with the testimony of classical authors và material gathered by ‘ dry land ’ archaeologists, she suggests that the likeliest explanation is also among the most disturbing : that they were victims of human sacrifice, & were left in the waters of the bog as an offering bự the gods .Unlike Egyptian mummies, the bog bodies owe their state to an accident of chemistry.The first thing everyone remarks on when confronted with one of the bog bodies is their remarkable state of preservation. The Tollund Man, perhaps the most famous bog body toàn thân, has been called the “ perfect corpse, ” chiefly because of the exquisite condition of his face & head. Discovered in 1950 by peat cutters in a Danish bog, he was buried naked, save for a giao diện cap và leather belt. He had been hung tàn, và the noose that was used was still around his neck. Given the violence he seemed béo have suffered before death, it always comes as a surprise that his face is the picture of calm. The Danish archaeologist P.V. Glob, present on the day after he was unearthed, described him as having “ a gentle expression — the eyes lightly closed, the lips softly pursed, as if in silent prayer. ”The Tollund Man’s preservation is awe-inspiring, but it wasn’t deliberate. Unlike Egyptian mummies, the bog bodies owe their state phệ an accident of chemistry. The bogs in which they were buried contain little oxygen, which helps Khủng inhibit bacterial growth. The most important ingredient for the bog bodies ’ survival though comes from a plant called sphagnum. When sphagnum dies, it releases polysaccharides which block bacterial metabolisms. This helps keep organic matter lượt thích giao diện, wood, fur, & textiles from succumbing mập decay .Bogs cure bodies in a process akin bự tanning, but while they are wonderful at preserving giao diện, they eat away at bones, leaving the bodies ’ skeletons shrunken và sometimes, completely absent. At the same thời gian, acids in bog water destroy DNA, making genetic studies impossible. Most bog bodies have been discovered in the process of excavating peat for use as fuel, và as a result, many have been hacked apart by spades và shovels, & 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 mập work hard Khủng distinguish trauma inflicted on the bodies in life from the damage done Khủng them when they were found .There is a wealth of forensic data preserved in the bog bodies’ soft tissue, and it can tell us a lot about who these individuals were.On top of post-mortem trauma, the unusual preservation of the bog bodies can pose an additional challenge bự investigators. When a body toàn thân was found in the Lindow Moss in 1983, police at first thought it belonged Khủng a recently murdered woman. By coincidence, it was found just a thousand feet from the cottage of a man who was suspected in his wife’s disappearance. Confronted with the body toàn thân, he admitted béo the crime. Only a few months later did it become apparent that the body toàn thân was that of a two-thousand year old man .But despite these mix-ups, there is a wealth of forensic dữ liệu preserved in the bog bodies ’ soft tissue, & it can tell us a lot about who these individuals ’ were in life — their mạng xã hội status, medical history, và even the food they ate in their final hours. The Tollund Man’s last meal was a kind of gruel, described as ‘ disgusting ’ by a British archaeologist who tasted a reconstructed phiên bản for a program on the BBC. The Grauballe Man ate a porridge made out of 60 different types of plant, which contained enough ergot mập put him in a coma, or at least, make him delirious. The Old Croghan Man, an aristocratic giant from Ireland, lived mostly on meat & dairy, but his final meal was buttermilk & cereal. The Lindow Man had an ‘ upmarket ’ meal of griddle-toasted flatbread, with a small addition of mistletoe pollen .Many of the bog victims suffered from malnutrition. Others appear Khủng have been better off. Some had finely manicured hands, or wore elaborate hairstyles that indicated their rank as freedmen or warriors. An unusual number of the bog bodies suffered from physical deformities. Some of these were fairly minor, lượt thích a cauliflower ear, or curved spines or diseased joints which would have made walking difficult. Other abnormalities were more pronounced. A survey of bog body toàn thân research turns up a dwarf, a giant, & a man with an extra phối of thumbs. Aldhouse-Green thinks this might be significant, và that “ visually special people ” may have been deliberately targeted for their uniqueness, và possibly, spiritual power .Bogs themselves seem to have been places of special reverence.One thing that the bog bodies make clear is that the mistreatment they suffered in death was as extreme as it was varied. The Haraldskaer Woman was killed with a garrote. The Yde Girl was strangled with her own girdle. The Tollund Man was ác ôn. The Kayhausen Boy, a teenager from northern Germany, was hogtied before death. The Lindow, Grauballe & Kayhausen bodies all had their throats cut. The Windeby girl was drowned, và her arm was hacked off as well. The Borremose woman was scalped, her face crushed, & her right leg broken. The Old Croghan Man was cơn sốt with a barrage of blows, most likely from an axe, enough bự máy chủ his head & cut his body toàn thân in half .The violence inflicted on the bodies continued after death. Several of the bodies had their arms pierced, và willow branches were drawn through the wound. Others had wooden stakes driven through their knees. Aldhouse-Green writes that these restraints may have been a way of taming the chết, pinning their ghosts phệ the spot where they died. Several bodies also show signs of having undergone ritual humiliation. Most were buried naked, or wrapped only in a shroud. The Windeby Girl had the left side of her head shaved. The Yde Girl’s entire head was shorn, & her hair left by her side. In addition mập everything else that was done lớn him, the Old Croghan’s nipples were sliced. This may have had special significance : According phệ tradition, in ancient Ireland, sucking a king’s nipples was a way of showing him submission .The elaborate effort & preparation that went into the killing of the bog bodies suggests that these weren’t ordinary murders. Likewise, the placement in bodies the bogs suggests that they were not ordinary burials. Cremation was the most common size of internment in Iron Age northern Europe, while higher status individuals were sometimes placed in oak caskets và buried with grave goods for use in the next world. The bog bodies had neither. But does that necessarily mean that they were sacrificed ?Aldhouse-Green presents two main strands of evidence lớn argue that it does. One comes from classical antiquity. Several Roman historians, including Strabo, Tacitus, và Julius Caesar, described versions of human sacrifice being practiced by the peoples of northern Europe. Sometimes it was a means of telling the future, và at other times it was done as part of a cult associated with a particular god or temple .The other strand comes from archaeology of the British Isles, where there are many examples of bodies that seem bự have been buried alive, human remains used as foundation deposits for houses, & burials in which attendants were interred with their chiefs. There are even signs that bodies may, in certain places, have been pulled out of the bogs và kept on display hundreds of years after their deaths. Bogs themselves seem lớn have been places of special reverence. In Germany & Denmark, weapons, wagons, food, images of gods, & even whole ships were deliberately left in their waters. Thes e were most likely as ceremonial offerings, & as Aldhouse-Green points out, in societies where slavery was common, a human being might have been worth less than a valuable sword or cauldron .Both strands of evidence suffer from certain deficiencies. Aldhouse-Green emphasizes that the classical historians have Khủng be treated with caution. They were, after all, biên tập as outsiders phệ the cultures they were describing, và each brought their own agenda lớn bear on the customs of the barbarian north. The archaeological record from Northern Europe is similarly problematic. Although it contains multiple signs of human và animal sacrifice, as well as material offerings made phệ the bogs, these finds give little indication — aside from a few tantalizing hints — as bự the exact nature of the beliefs that motivated the ceremonies. Ultimately, the best evidence for human sacrifice comes from the bog bodies themselves, & the excessive, & clearly staged, violence used phệ kill them, as in the case of the Lindow Man .Although we may chưa bao giờ know for certain what was going through the minds of the killers, the bog bodies will still retain their fascination. I visited the Tollund Man more than twenty years ago on a childhood trip lớn Denmark & I still remember the vivid shock of seeing his face. The Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who devoted a cycle of poems béo the bog bodies, wrote of being moved just by their photographs. Describing the Grauballe Man, he asked, “ Who will say ‘ corpse ’ / béo his vivid cast ? / Who will say ‘ body toàn thân ’ / mập his opaque repose ? ” After thousands of years, the bog bodies are still with us, living a life they couldn’t possibly have imagined in death .