Thursday, May 9, 2019

Murders of the Bog

Author: Shaila Adia

Paint Me Like One of Your Irish Bog Bodies
In the area of northern Europe, there has been a series of murders… two-thousand year old murders that is. Since about 700 B.C. there has been multiple accounts of people being thrown into peat bogs and being found around the 18th century. Originally people thought these bodies were recently killed until an in-depth evaluation and one murder confession later anthropologist find out these bodies aren’t from our time (“Were the Mysterious Bog People Human Sacrifices”).

These people are now called bog bodies. Bog Bodies are bodies that have been cast into or who fell into bogs while alive\(“What are Bog Bodies”). Throwing these people into bodies of water was believed to be a human sacrifice or just plain murder that turned into mummification of a body. Mummification is a method of embalming or treating a dead body used in ancient Egypt (“Egyptian Mummies”). When pulled out of the peat bog, these people had their skin still intact, but very burnt, facial features prominent, clothes and hair still on their body, the only thing that disintegrated was their bones. This was able to happen because of a moss called sphagnum found in peat bogs, that produces a substance that keeps out or kills bacteria and small bugs that could eat or ruin the flesh on the body and the material of the clothing they (“Bless This Boggy Book: How Do Bogs Keep Things Fresh?”). Bog bodies are akin to getting tanned because the bog cures the body in a way that it preserves skin but eats away at bones leaving no trace of DNA and them being shrunken (“Were the Mysterious Bog People Human Sacrifices”).

A Peaceful Death
One of the most well-known bog body is Tollund Man, found in Aarhus, Denmark 1950. He is known for his peaceful like resting face being the most recognizable and intact. His death was ruled as a murder because of the noose that was found tied around his neck with the fact that he was placed into the bog. Being laid in a sleeping position with eyes and mouth shut, this led archeologist to believe he was a human sacrifice.

Other bog bodies that have been found include Cashel Man (2011), Old Croghan Man (2003), Lindow Man (1984), Yde Girl (1897), Grouballe Man (1952), Windeby Girl (1952). Yde Girl was believe to be murdered with half of her hair cut off because of her having a disfigurement. Windeby Girl was about 13/14 and was believed to be murdered for being an adulteress with a man found five yards away from her body. Lindow man still had his facial hair intact with good teeth and well-manicured nails. He had a violent and brutal death, with it obviously being a murder. Grouballe Man was analyzed and x-rayed the most and it was found that his last meal with a hallucinogenic fungus (“Bog Bodies of the Iron Age”).

Poem "The Tollund Man" by Seamus Heaney

Works Cited:

Clark, Robert. Grauballe Man was found in 1952 in Nebelgard Mose, a small bog in Jutland, Denmark. Forhistorisk Museum, Højbjerg, Denmark. “Bodies of the Bogs.” Archaeology, 10 Dec. 1997.

Tollund Man. “Tollund Man,” Atlas Obscura, contributed by Ronin. . Accessed on 27 March 2019.

“Egyptian Mummies.” Smithsonian, Access Day March 24, 2019.

Engber, Daniel. “Bless This Boggy Book: Ho Do Bogs Keep Things Fresh?” Slate, 28 July 2006,

FirstscienceTV, “The Tollund Man: Denmark’s remarkable bog mummy.” YouTube, 19 Oct. 2007,

Gazur, Ben. “10 Ancient Bog Bodies That Will Amaze You.” Listverse, 28 Jan. 2017,

Heany, Seamux. “The Tollund Men”, Nova, Jan. 2006,

Lewis, Susan K. “The perfect Corpse: Bog Bodies of the Iron Age.”, Nova, 2006,

Mikanowski, Jacob. “Where the Mysterious Bog People Human Sacrifices?” The Atlantic, 11 March 2016,

For further reading:

Mystery of the Bog Bodies This source explains not only the science of bogs but specifics on one of the cases for bog bodies. This source breaks down the mystery of bog bodies in a kid friendly way along with diagrams.

Bog Bodies Uncovered: Solving Europe's Ancient Mystery This book explains in depth about who the bog bodies were, more bog bodies mentioned, and how or why they died.

Man-Eating Peat Bogs? 10 Top Tips For Crossing Treacherous UK Bogs This source gives readers who are into wilderness and become more interested in bogs, a safe way to travel and how to become more conscious and not end up like the bog bodies discovered.

No comments:

Post a Comment