A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

Special Introductory Offer!
online features
Violence in the Bogs "Bodies of the Bogs"

[image] In 1904 two bodies were found in the southern part of the Bourtanger Moor in the Netherlands. Because one of them lays on the outstretched arm of the other, who is obviously male, it was long believed that the second body was that of a woman. We now know that this body is also male. Both men died between 160 B.C. and 220 A.D. The intestines of one body (right) protrude from a stab wound in his left chest. How the other man died is unknown. (Drents Museum of the Netherlands, Assen)[image]
[image]In 1879 the body of an adult woman was found in a bog near Ramten, Jutland in Denmark. The body, known as Huldremose Woman, was very well preserved. The woman met her violent end sometime between 160 B.C. and 340 A.D. Her arms and legs showed signs of repeated hacking, and the diggers who found her body noted that her right arm was detached from the rest of her body. That arm was evidently cut off before she was deposited in the peat. (National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen)
The preserved body of a 16-year-old girl was dredged out of a small raised bog by peat cutters near the village of Yde, province of Drenthe, Holland, in 1897. The body was badly damaged by the peat dredgers' tools. Yde Girl died a violent death sometime between 170 B.C. and A.D 230. The woolen band around her throat shows that she died from strangulation. A wound near her left clavicle was probably inflicted with a knife. With the girl were the remains of a large and rather worn woolen cloak. (Drents Museum of the Netherlands, Assen) [image]
[image]Elling Woman was found in 1938 in the Bjeldskovdal bog, west of Silkeborg, Denmark, only about 200 feet from where Tollund Man (see below) came to light 12 years later. Elling Woman was wrapped in one sheepskin cape, and another covered her legs and feet. She wore a woven belt around her waist. Elling Woman was hanged with a leather thong, which left a V-shaped furrow that is clearly visible in her neck. The leather belt that was used to hang her still survives. It has a sliding knot, making it suitable for execution purposes. This happened in the pre-Roman Iron Age, between 350 and 100 B.C. (Silkeborg Museum)
[image]Tollund Man was discovered in Bjeldskovdal in 1950. He lived in the third or second century B.C., and is thought to have died at 30-40 years of age, choked to death with a leather garrotte. He was found lying on his side with arms bent and legs drawn up. Much of his flesh had decayed, but his head was intact including the stubble on his chin. Analysis of his intestines indicates he probably had eaten a gruel consisting predominantly of barley and seeds available in winter or early spring. (Drents Museum of the Netherlands, Assen; Carlos Muñoz-Yagüe)[image]

Share