Bog Bodies

Mighty_Emperor

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#1
Inspired by the Bog Bodies exhibition:

www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20131

I thought it worth starting a thread on this.

Obviously required reading is P.V. Glob's "The Bog People" (my copy is in easy reach).

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On tour: bog man murdered 1,800 years ago

By Ian Herbert, North of England Correspondent

01 February 2005

Judging by the terrified look on his face, the German horseman who has come to be known as "Red Franz" harboured few hopes of 21st-century fame in the moments before he was murdered and deposited in a bog 1,800 years ago. But after a world tour which has already introduced him to half a million people, he arrived in Manchester yesterday in an exhibition which sheds light on the fate which befell him and many others.

Red Franz - who takes his name from the colour his hair turned to after thousands of years in bog water - was joined by other "Bog People", including the Dutch "Girl from Yde" and a pair whose dying embrace earned them the name "the married couple".

Undiscovered until peat-cutters chanced upon them 100 or so years ago, each has been well preserved by the acidity and absence of oxygen afforded by the bogs of northern Europe.

The first international exhibition to bring them together - The Mysterious Bog People - reveals that they shared much more than a resting place. Recent scientific analysis of their bodies suggests that all were subjected to violent deaths and may have been consigned to the bog as sacrificesor as punishment killings. Red Franz, whose long hair was blond when he perished, was stabbed through the shoulder and had his throat cut at the age of 25 - somewhere between AD200 and AD400.

Manchester is used to such artefacts, since the discovery at nearby Wilmslow of Britain's most famous bog body, "Lindow Man", 21 years ago. He was a young adult who had fallen victim to a brutal act of violence in the first century AD. For years, many thought the body (still known locally as "Lindow Pete") was a recent murder victim. This seemed to be a common assumption when a bog person surfaced. The exhibition reveals how many bodies were so well preserved that peat-cutters took them to local police, who could not identify them and arranged for them to be reburied. Red Franz was interred in a cemetery at Hanover, Germany, in 1900 before a local museum realised his value and dug him up again five months later.

The exhibition, which introduces visitors to the bog people via a virtual walk through high-banked peat-cutters' channels, draws on 400 exhibits to support the view that the bogs were carefully selected as places for spiritual sacrifices by people who associated its water with the next world.

From the Mesolithic period (10,000-50,000BC) up to Roman times, people often placed their most precious posessions in the bogs - from amber necklaces to leather-sheathed daggers, elk bones, harpoons and even an entire wooden temple.
Source
 

HelzAngel

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#2
When I was young, a friends father was part of the murder investigation of lindow man. Some of the language we learned when he found out it was thousand of years old was fascinating
 

Kondoru

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#3
Aww, what a spoilsport.

I have P V Globs book, its fastinating.

There is also a bog people chapter in Howard Reids `In search of the Immortals`
 
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#4
There is some interesting stuff on bog-bodies in Timothy Taylor's book The Buried Soul - How Humans Invented Death. Actually it's full of material that would be interesting to Forteans - recommended.
 

Kondoru

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#6
so in order to sell it to the punters an archalogical excavation must now be turned into a murder enquiry?

<shrugs>
 

lordboreal

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#8
I've seen pics of bog bodies before, but the hands on one of the bodies shown in tonights prog were amazing, even to the point where the ridges were preserved.

I was in a channel hopping mood tonight, but I'm glad I stuck the course with this one.
 
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#9
lordboreal said:
I've seen pics of bog bodies before, but the hands on one of the bodies shown in tonights prog were amazing, even to the point where the ridges were preserved.
Yeah I saw some pretty good examples at the exhibition (mentioned earlier) but it was just scary they just looked fresh - it was a bit jarring when the camera pulls back and they are attached to a leathery headless torso (I'm sure there is a Robert Kilroy Silk joke in there).
 

mrpoultice

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#10
TIMEWATCH: Bog bodies

Gah...

No body recorded it did they? I would happily part with a (reasonable) sum of money for a copy. (VHS or dvd). PM me (or email in Profile).

Mr P
 
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#11
Sorry Mr P I can't help there although I think the Beeb should start an online "Watch Again" service but they seem to be taking foreever dicking around with making their own player, etc. - we've paid for it already ad they should use P2P to spread it around!!

----------
Anyway the Tomwatch page has gone live with some new pags including info in the form of a diary:

www.bbc.co.uk/history/programmes/timewa ... g_01.shtml

and some furhter resources:

www.bbc.co.uk/history/programmes/timewa ... _gpp.shtml

Which includes:

Spookdaddy said:
There is some interesting stuff on bog-bodies in Timothy Taylor's book The Buried Soul - How Humans Invented Death. Actually it's full of material that would be interesting to Forteans - recommended.
I've got Tom Taylor's "The Prehistory of Sex" and will pick this one up to. Details:

The Buried Soul: How Humans Invented Death
Timothy Taylor

www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/18570 ... ntmagaz-21
www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0807046 ... enantmc-20
 

TheQuixote

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#12
Too late now MrPoultice, but it was repeated this afternoon on BBC2! :(

The preservation on the headless body was absolutely amazing.
 
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#13
Article:

'These were horrific torture techniques'

By Isabella Mulhall
National Museum of Ireland

They were stunning finds: two Iron Age "bog bodies" found in the Republic of Ireland. All the evidence points to the individuals being the victims of a ritual sacrifice. Isabella Mulhall, who coordinated the project to investigate the remains, explains how her team went about its work.

In 2003, I was given the role of looking after peatland archaeology at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. I had only been in the role for a few weeks when the first of the bog bodies came to light, so I suppose I was thrown in at the deep end, so to speak.

It was a great surprise to everyone when Clonycavan Man was discovered, particularly to other specialists that had dealt with bog bodies whose discovery dated back to the 1950s and earlier.

The first thing we did was to secure the site in County Meath where the remains were found, making sure there were no other body parts. That process had just finished when the second bog body - Old Croghan Man - was found.

It was a great shock to find two so close in time and in space - they were found just 25 miles apart.

Our next step was to draw up a preliminary list of specialists to join the group that would work on the remains. I did this by going through previous publications on previous bog bodies from Ireland, Britain and further afield.

I also attended scientific conferences, to try to persuade other experts to join our project.

People were very willing to lend their expertise and to refer us to other specialists. Without their help, the project would not have taken off as it did. Eventually, we built a team of about 35 people from six different countries to work on the remains.

During the first phase of the project, the team carried out extensive photography, and also drawing, recording and measuring of the remains; and making anatomical and pathological descriptions.

After that phase was complete, we carefully took samples from the bodies for analysis. We made sure that sampling was kept to an absolute minimum.

Those that we did take were used for radiocarbon dating and palaeodietary analysis, as well as analysis of the gut contents and hair, amongst other items.

We then carried out CT and MRI scans on Clonycavan Man and Old Croghan Man. CT scanning is very much like carrying out a virtual autopsy; you can examine the skeleton, the ligaments, the muscles and so forth.

Once the remains had been fully examined, they were conserved by treating them with polyethylene glycol and then freeze-drying them for several weeks.

Any samples taken after these processes will no longer be pure; so prior to these treatments, we bagged some fresh samples from the bodies which could be used for future research.

Bit by bit, our investigation was building a complete picture of these two men. We discovered the age of these individuals, and many insights into how they lived.

For example, we discovered that Clonycavan Man had his hair coated with a form of resin which acted as a hair gel. And he had a very full set of teeth.

We were able to establish the sequence of traumas the men experienced before they died.

Old Croghan Man was stabbed and had a secondary defence wound on his arm where he had tried to protect himself. He was decapitated following several blows to his neck, and his body was severed below the torso.

He has one hole in both his upper arms where a rope, or withy, was fed through to restrain him. That was a very poignant reminder of the torture he endured.

Clonycavan Man also had several types of trauma to his body. These levels of trauma before death are common to other bog bodies from north-western Europe.

These horrific torture techniques were sometimes meted out in combinations and go beyond what is necessary simply to kill the person.

Most of the bodies that have been found are in their 20s, though older and younger examples have been found. Many archaeologists have put forward theories about the ritual significance of these killings.

Mr Ned Kelly, keeper of Irish antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, has put forward his own theory that these are sacrifices to the gods of fertility by kings to ensure a successful reign.

He has noted that these bodies - and artefacts - turn up on ancient boundaries.

There was obviously some great significance attached to these boundaries, whether they were political boundaries or associated with sovereignty or kinship rituals.

It gives us an insight into the kind of society in which these men lived.

Old Croghan Man and Clonycavan Man will be put on display for an exhibition called Kingship and Sacrifice which runs from May at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

-----------
The story of The Bog Bodies is also told in a Timewatch programme which will be shown on BBC Two at 2100GMT on Friday, 20 January.

Isabella Mulhall is Coordinator of the Bog Bodies Project, Irish Antiquities Division, National Museum of Ireland.

-----------
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/s ... 632296.stm

Published: 2006/01/20 16:26:37 GMT

© BBC MMVI
 

Kondoru

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#14
Finding new Bog bodies is always a good thing.

Im wondering with advanced techniques, if it might not be possible to scan a peat bog to see whats buried in it?
 
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#15
Although preservation isn't as good as usual this fits in here:

Scientists uncover secrets of 2,650 year old swamp girl

General Science : April 04, 2006


German scientists on Tuesday said a girl whose 2,650-year-old skeleton was found in a swamp in the east of the country had lived a short life marked by famine.

"Moora", as the skeleton has been dubbed, was only about 15 when she died, forensic scientists at the Hamburg-Eppendorf university clinic said, as they unveiled the results of months of research on the skeleton.

Studies of her teeth and bones showed that she was malnourished up to the age of 11, suggesting that there had been food shortages in the region where she lived.

"Moora" was found in a marshland in Germany's eastern Lower Saxony state in 2000.

Archeologists were surprised to discover a skeleton in a swamp, as the custom at the time when she lived was rather to cremate the dead.

"We still cannot say what happened to her, whether there was an accident or whether she was killed to punish her or perhaps as a sacrifice," said Klaus Pueschel, the head of the forensic science department at the university.

He said his team hoped to reconstruct the teenager's skull, face and body with the help of computer tomography but that this would take some time.

Police in 2000 initially found a part of the skeleton, and suspecting a crime, took it to the Hamburg-Eppendorf clinic.

In January 2005, the bones of a hand were found in the same place, sparking the interest of archaeologists who helped to unravel the mystery.

------------
© 2006 AFP
www.physorg.com/news63369386.html
 

rynner2

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#16
First-century Lindow Man goes back to his roots
Maev Kennedy The Guardian, Monday January 28 2008

Lindow Man is to return to close to the spot where he met an appalling death almost 2,000 years ago, skull smashed in, strangled, stabbed, and finally dumped face down into the bog pool which preserved the evidence of his last terrible hours.

He has been one of the star exhibits at the British Museum since his discovery in 1984 by peat cutters at Lindow Moss in Cheshire, transfixing visitors who gaze into his leathery, contorted face and startlingly preserved hair and eyelashes. The museum is now sending him on a year-long loan to Manchester Museum.

"I am delighted people in the north-west will once again have the opportunity to meet this everyman of prehistoric Britain," said the London museum's director, Neil MacGregor.

Lindow Man, dated to the mid-first century AD, is the best-preserved ancient body found in Britain, and one of a haunting group of scores of bodies found in bogs across northern Europe which have provoked debate among archaeologists. Like many of the others found across Europe he was a healthy man in the prime of life, although he had the beginnings of osteoporosis in his spine, and intestinal parasites. The remains of his one surviving hand have neatly trimmed nails and fingertips with no sign of the wear of hard manual labour.

"The jury really is still out on these bodies," curator Jody Joy said, "whether they were aristocrats, priests, criminals, outsiders, whether they went willingly to their deaths or whether they were executed - but Lindow was a very remote place in those days, an unlikely place for an ambush or a murder.

"I think the fascination is that you can look into the face of a real man who may have used the implements and objects in the cases around him."

Lindow Man was exceptional among the bodies found in bogs for his "triple death", bludgeoned, stabbed, and garotted by the leather cord still around his neck. However, scientists now think the tightness of the leather may have been caused by swelling in the water.

"We may never know exactly how and why he died," Joy said, "but I believe science will have a great deal to tell us about how he lived."

Although the bodies are tanned to leather, they are fragile and in danger of decay and mould. Lindow Man will be on display in Manchester from April.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/ ... sicscience
 
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#17
Archaeologists dig up bog army bones in Denmark
http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/bre862 ... sacrifice/
By John AcherPosted 2012/07/03 at 3:52 pm EDT

COPENHAGEN, July 3, 2012 (Reuters) — Danish archaeologists said on Tuesday they had re-opened a mass grave of scores of slaughtered Iron Age warriors to find new clues about their fate and the bloody practices of Germanic tribes on the edge of the Roman Empire.

Bones of around 200 soldiers have already been found preserved in a peat bog near the village of Alken on Denmark's Jutland peninsula.

Experts started digging again on Monday, saying they expected to find more bodies dating back 2,000 years to around the time of Christ.

"I guess we will end up with a scale that is much larger than the 200 that we have at present," Aarhus University archaeologist Mads Kahler Holst told Reuters.

"We have only touched upon a very small part of what we expect to be there ... We have not seen anything like this before in Denmark, but it is quite extraordinary even in a European perspective," he added, speaking by phone from the site on damp grazing meadows near Jutland's large lake of Mossoe.

The first bones, belonging to people as young as 13, were discovered in 2009. Cuts and slashes on the skeletons showed they had died violently, said Holst. But nothing was known for sure about the identity of the killers, or their victims.

"That is one of the big mysteries ... We don't know if it is local or foreign - we would expect it to be local," Holst said.

"We think it is a sacrifice related to warfare and probably the defeated soldiers were killed and thrown into the lake," he said.

The remains are from the beginning of the Roman Iron Age, though Roman armies never reached so far north.

"It was the time when the Roman Empire had its greatest expansion to the north," Holst said. But even that push only got the Romans as far as modern day Germany, a few hundred kilometers to the south of the Danish site.

"This conflict could have been a consequence of the Roman expansion, its effect on the Germanic world," Holst said.

He said the discovery could shed new light on what happened in those centuries beyond the borders of the Roman Empire.

"It will also tell about what level of military organization existed in this northern European area," he said.

Similar discoveries of sacrificed warriors from a few hundred years earlier have been made at Celtic sites in France, Holst said.

The soggy conditions at Alken have delayed decomposition so the remains are unusually well preserved, he said.

The remains are so well preserved that experts will be able to analyze their DNA - a rare achievement in remains so old, said Ejvind Hertz, curator of archaeology at Skanderborg Museum.

Preliminary DNA tests have been carried out at a laboratory on six teeth and two femur bones. "There was not much in the femurs but there was in the teeth - teeth are good at preserving DNA," Hertz said.

The DNA of people who lived at that time would not normally differ from the DNA of today's Scandinavians. If differences are found, it could point to a foreign army from southern Europe, Hertz said.

(Reporting by John Acher; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
 
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#18
More on the Alken find.

Macabre Finds in the Bog at Alken Enge, Denmark: Skeletal Remains of Hundreds of Warriors Unearthed
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 100302.htm

The first skull from the 2012 dig with a mortal wound caused by a spear or an arrow. (Credit: Field Director Ejvind Hertz, Skanderborg Museum)

ScienceDaily (Aug. 14, 2012) — A fractured skull and a thighbone hacked in half. Finds of damaged human bones along with axes, spears, clubs and shields confirm that the bog at Alken Enge was the site of violent conflict.

"It's clear that this must have been a quite far-reaching and dramatic event that must have had profound effect on the society of the time," explains Project Manager Mads Kähler Holst, professor of archaeology at Aarhus University.

For almost two months now, Dr Holst and a team of fifteen archaeologists and geologists have been working to excavate the remains of a large army that was sacrificed at the site around the time of the birth of Christ. The skeletal remains of hundreds of warriors lie buried in the Alken Enge wetlands near Lake Mossø in East Jutland, Denmark.

The remains will be exhumed from the excavation site over the coming days. Then an international team of researchers will attempt to discover who these warriors were and where they came from by performing detailed analyses of the remains.

"The dig has produced a large quantity of skeletal remains, and we believe that they will give us the answers to some of our questions about what kind of events led up to the army ending up here," explains Dr Holst.

Forty hectares of remains

The archaeological investigation of the site is nearing its conclusion for this year. But there are many indications that the find is much larger than the area archaeologists have excavated thus far.

"We've done small test digs at different places in the 40 hectare Alken Enge wetlands area, and new finds keep emerging," says Field Director Ejvind Hertz of Skanderborg Museum, who is directing the dig.

In fact, the find is so massive that researchers aren't counting on being able to excavate all of it. Instead, they will focus on recreating the general outlines of the events that took place at the site by performing smaller digs at different spots across the bog and reconstructing what the landscape might have looked like at the time of the birth of Christ.

New geological insights

At the same time as the archaeological dig, geologists from the Department of Geoscience at AU have been investigating the development of the bog.

"The geological survey indicates that the archaeological finds were deposited in a lake at a point in time when there was a a smaller basin at the east end of Lake Mossø created by a tongue of land jutting into the lake," explains Professor Bent Vad Odgaard, Aarhus University.

This smaller basin became the Alken Enge bog of today. The geologists' analyses also indicate that the water level in the area has changed several times. Mapping these periods of high and low water levels chronologically using geological techniques will tell researchers what the precise conditions were on the site at the time of the mass sacrifice.

Share this story on Facebook, Twitter, and Google:

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Aarhus University. The original article was written by Signe Hvid Maribo.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
 

Daftbugger1

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#19
My great uncle was Professor Glob's assistant, and got a lot of TV time after the Professors death. Now probably more famous for that, than discovering Dilmun. I remember being made to watch the Timewatch programme about the bog bodies when I was little, and the gorotting scared me half to death!
 
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#21
Museum to examine remains found in Co Meath bog
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ire ... 82934.html
MARK HILLIARD

Mon, Dec 10, 2012

The National Museum of Ireland is to begin examining the remains of Ireland's latest "bog person" discovered at a Bord na Móna site in Co Meath last week. The headless body was found among a stack of peat by workers on Friday morning near Kinnegad.

An archaeological team from the National Museum was dispatched to inspect the remains which were excavated on Saturday and transported to Dublin.

It is unclear at this stage the age, sex or cause of death, though those details are likely to emerge this week following examination by experts.

The discovery comes just over a year after that of the "Cashel Man" remains from a bog in Co Laois, which were thought to be those of a sacrificial victim.

There are just four such bodies on display at the National Museum on Kildare Street, Dublin.

"How ancient its year we won't be able to say yet but it is a bog body of some antiquity," said Maeve Sikora, an assistant keeper in the museum's Irish antiquities division.

"Its upper body appears to be intact and further analysis should be able to tell us how much else is there. It seems like it has been exposed to the air for quite a while and that would be damaging but nonetheless its condition is very good."
 
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#23
Kondoru said:
The interesting thing is that it was cut and stacked before it was noticed. I wonder how often that happens? With the body section or artefact not being recognised and thrown away or burned.
 
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#24
Co Laois bog body is world's oldest
Updated: 17:40, Friday, 02 August 2013

ArticleVideo (1)
The body was found by a Bord na Móna worker two years ago The body was found by a Bord na Móna worker two years ago
Tests carried out to age Laois bog body
Tests carried out to age Laois bog body
Related Stories

Portlaoise bog body could be 3,000 years old
http://www.rte.ie/news/2013/0802/466108-bog-body/

New tests on the remains of a preserved body found in a Co Laois bog have revealed that it is the oldest bog body ever discovered in the world.

The body was found by a Bord na Móna worker milling peat in 2011.

It was initially believed that the remains were those of a young female which were around 2,500 years old.

However, a series of recent tests have revealed that it is the body of a male, which dates back as far as 2000 BC.

The chemical makeup of bogs can preserve human bodies for thousands of years.

Older bog bodies have been discovered elsewhere but none as mummified or as well preserved as this example.

Archaelogists said the body which is believed to be a member of historic royalty, was almost certainly put to the sword by his own people.
The body is missing its head, which has never been recovered.
 
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#25
More details.

Laois ‘bog body’ said to be world’s oldest
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/ ... -1.1483171

4,000-year-old remains were discovered on Bord na Móna land in Co Laois in 2011

The bog body found by Jason Phelan at the Bord Na Mona Cashel Bog, in Co Laois. The body is estimated to be over 4,000 years old, and is possibly the result of a human sacrifice. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.
The bog body found by Jason Phelan at the Bord Na Mona Cashel Bog, in Co Laois. The body is estimated to be over 4,000 years old, and is possibly the result of a human sacrifice. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times.
Eoin Burke-Kennedy

First published:
Fri, Aug 2, 2013, 17:44


The mummified remains of a body found in a Laois bog two years ago have been found to date back to 2,000BC, making it the oldest “bog body” discovered anywhere in the world.

The 4,000-year-old remains, which predate the famed Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun by nearly 700 years, are those of a young adult male.

He is believed to have met a violent death in some sort of ritual sacrifice.
The body was unearthed in the Cúl na Móna bog in Cashel in 2011 by a Bord na Móna worker operating a milling machine.

Initially, experts thought it dated from the Iron Age period (500BC-400AD), placing it on a par with similar finds in other Irish bogs.

However, radiocarbon tests on the body; the peat on which the body was lying; and a wooden stake found with the body, date the body to the early Bronze Age, around 2,000BC.

The discovery promises to open a new chapter in the archaeological record of Bronze Age burial in Ireland.

Eamonn Kelly, keeper of Irish antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, said previously the earliest bog body discovered in Ireland dated to around 1,300BC but “Cashel man” substantially predates this period, making one of the most significant finds in recent times.

He said the remains are those of a young adult male which were placed in a crouched position and covered by peat, probably on the surface of the bog.
The man’s arm was broken by a blow and there were deep cuts to his back which appear to have been inflicted by a blade, which indicate a violent death, Mr Kelly said.

Unfortunately, the areas that would typically be targeted in a violent assault, namely the head, neck and chest, were damaged by the milling machine when the body was discovered, making it impossible to determine the exact cause of death.

Nonetheless, Mr Kelly believes the wounds on the body, combined with the fact that it was marked by wooden stakes and placed in proximity to an inauguration site, point to the individual being the victim of a ritual sacrifice.
“It seems to be same type of ritual that we’ve observed in later Iron Age finds. What’s surprising here is that it’s so much earlier.”

Because of the lack of calluses on the hands and the well-groomed

fingernails observed in other finds, though not this one as the hands were not recoverable, Mr Kelly suggests the victims were most likely “high-born”.

“We believe that the victims of these ritual killings are kings that have failed in their kingship and have been sacrificed as a consequence.”
The museum is awaiting further test results on samples taken from the man’s bowel which should reveal

the contents of the meal he was likely to have consumed before he died.
The chemical composition of bogs can preserve human bodies for thousands of years.

Archaelogists have discovered more than 100 ancient bodies in Irish bogs but few as well-preserved as “Cashel man”.
 
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#26
ramonmercado said:
More details.

Laois ‘bog body’ said to be world’s oldest
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/laois-bog-body-said-to-be-world-s-oldest-1.1483171

...

Because of the lack of calluses on the hands and the well-groomed

fingernails observed in other finds, though not this one as the hands were not recoverable, Mr Kelly suggests the victims were most likely “high-born”.

“We believe that the victims of these ritual killings are kings that have failed in their kingship and have been sacrificed as a consequence.”
The museum is awaiting further test results on samples taken from the man’s bowel which should reveal

the contents of the meal he was likely to have consumed before he died.

...
Or, The King's Messenger, if you believe The Wicker Man (and other sources).
 

rynner2

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#28
With detailed photos:

World's oldest bog body hints at violent past
By Matt McGrath, Environment correspondent, BBC News

Cashel Man has had the weight of the world on his shoulders, quite literally, for 4,000 years.
Compressed by the peat that has preserved his remains, he looks like a squashed, dark leather holdall.
Apart, that is, from one forlorn arm that stretches out and upward and tells us something of the deliberate and extremely violent death that he suffered 500 years before Tutankhamen was born.

Cashel Man is now being studied at the National Museum of Ireland's research base in Collins Barracks, Dublin. He was discovered in 2011 by a bog worker in Cashel bog in County Laois.

When the remains are brought out of the freezer, it is hard to tell that this was ever a human being.
"It does look like mangled peat at first," says researcher Carol Smith.
"But then you can see the pores on the skin and it takes on a very human aspect quite quickly."

Carol starts to spray the body with non-ionised water. This prevents it deteriorating when exposed to room temperatures.
As we peer at the glistening bog-tanned body, we can see small, dark hairs on the skin, and a trail of vertebrae along his back.

Experts say that the remains of Cashel Man are extremely well preserved for his age. Radiocarbon dating suggests that he is the earliest bog body with intact skin known anywhere in the world. He is from the early Bronze Age in Ireland about 4,000 years ago.

Bog bodies with internal organs preserved have cropped up in many countries including Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Scotland and Spain.
But in Ireland, with its flat central, peaty plain, they have been particularly plentiful.

In the past 10 years, there have been two other significant finds, in varying states of decay. Both Clonycavan Man and Old Croghan Man, who were discovered in 2003, were violently killed but the preservative powers of the bog have allowed science to piece together their stories.

"The bog is an amazing place," says Isabella Mulhall, who co-ordinates the bog bodies research project at the museum.
"It is basically an anaerobic environment and the oxygen that bacteria feed off is not present, and therefore decomposition does not occur."
The process of preservation though is complicated, involving several factors including Sphagnum moss, which helps extract calcium from the bones of buried bodies.

Another critical element is acidity.
"The pH levels vary in bogs and in some cases you may not get the bog mummy; you may get a bog skeleton," says Isabella Mulhall.
"Even within a site, you may have a body partially mummified and the lower half could be skeletonised."

While the preservation offered by the bog gives scientists huge amounts on information on the diet, living conditions, background and lifestyle of the bodies, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
The bog destroys the DNA, depriving researchers of genetic information and making it very difficult for Irish people to claim descent from these ancients.

The Iron Age bodies of Clonycavan Man and Old Croghan Man are on display at the museum, which sits in a wing of Leinster House, the Irish parliament.

Eamonn Kelly is the long-time Keeper of Irish Antiquities and a man who has worked on all the major bog body finds.
He is an archaeologist of the old school, with a deep knowledge of Irish and European mythology and symbolism.
He patiently explains the stories behind the bodies on display, where the well-preserved hands are a striking feature.

"They are so evocative really. You can see those arms cradling a baby, or caressing a lover, or wielding a sword. But the personality is there; it's been preserved in their remains," he says.

Eamonn, or Ned as he is universally known, has developed a theory that connects the significant finds made in Ireland.
He argues that the bodies, all male and aged between 25 and 40, suffered violent deaths as victims of human sacrifice.
"When an Irish king is inaugurated, he is inaugurated in a wedding to the goddess of the land.
"It is his role to ensure through his marriage to the goddess that the cattle will be protected from plague and the people will be protected from disease.
"If these calamities should occur, the king will be held personally responsible. He will be replaced, he will pay the price, he will be sacrificed."

Eamonn says that Cashel Man fits this pattern because his body was found on a border line between territories and within sight of the hill where he would have been crowned. He suffered significant violent injuries to his back, and his arm shows evidence of a cut from a sword or axe.

However, a critical piece of information that would cement this argument is missing.
Because Cashel Man's chest was destroyed by the milling machine that uncovered him, the researchers are unable to examine the state of his nipples.
In the other two bog body cases, says Eamonn Kelly, the nipples had been deliberately damaged.

"We're looking at the bodies of kings who have been decommissioned, who have been sacrificed. As part of that decommissioning, their nipples are mutilated.
"In the Irish tradition they could no longer serve as king if their bodies were mutilated in this way. This is a decommissioning of the king in this life and the next."

The real surprise with Cashel Man is his age, being 1,500 years older than the other significant finds. But he may not be the last.
As the midland bogs are depleted, the scientists believe they could find other bodies of a similar age.

In December last year, more remains were found in Rossan bog, Co Meath, of a body that's being called Moydrum Man. Isabella Mulhall says there are indications that it could be the same age as Cashel Man.
"He hasn't been dated as yet, but we suspect that he would come as well from the very early levels of the bog and he would fit into that Bronze Age date range as well. But we have to confirm that with carbon dating," she says.

In the future, Cashel Man is likely to join the other bodies in the National Museum. Like the others, he will be treated sympathetically and with some reverence. This is hugely important to Eamonn Kelly and all the staff.
"I see these bodies as ambassadors who have come down to us from a former time with a story to tell. I think if we can tell that story in some small measure we can give a little added meaning to those lives that were cut short.
"And even though it was thousands of years ago, it is still in each and every case a human tragedy."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24053119
 
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Ancient bog body found in Meath to be carbon dated
Second set to be found at Rossan Bog after body from 700-400BC found in 2012

Experts from the National Museum of Ireland plan to radiocarbon date an ancient bog body found at a Midlands bog today. It is the second one to be found at the midlands bog in two yearsThe partial remains, comprising of adult leg and foot bones and flesh, were discovered by Bord Na Móna workers at Rossan Bog close to the Westmeath border in Co Meath on Saturday.

Once the find was made, a Bord Na Móna worker initiated company protocol and called gardai to examine the scene. Work was stopped and the National Museum of Ireland was notified.

A team of archaeologists and conservators from the National Museum of Ireland spent last weekend examining the find at the bog before removing the remains on Monday. They have yet to determine the gender or age of the body, but are convinced the remains are those of an adult. Further analysis of the bog body will now take place in the National Museum of Ireland’s conservation laboratory at Collins Barracks, Dublin.

Maeve Sikora of the museum’s Irish antiquities division, who led the museum’s fieldwork team, thanked Bord na Móna staff for promptly reporting the find and providing assistance at the site. ...

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ancient- ... -1.1930625
 
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