Friday, September 28, 2012

The Army from the Bog

Most of us have seen photos of the famous "Tollund Man" at the Silkeborg Museum in Denmark. Another bog man, although not quite as famous, is "Lindow Man" who resides at the British Museum in London.  Similar ancient iron age bog people have been discovered in swamps and peat bogs all across Northern Europe.  Some, such as Tollund and Lindow man, are remarkably well preserved.  The natural tannic acid in the humus rich bogs and a anaerobic environment help to preserve skin and tissue. 

The well preserved face of Tollund Man

Some of these leather like mummies date back over 2,000 years and many show signs of ritual sacrifice or execution.  Until recently most have been discovered inadvertently by folks digging for peat.  Some historians and archaeologist suggest that preservation in a bog was not an honor.  A body which does not corrupt does not release a soul to the afterlife. 

Lindow Man on display at the British Musuem in London

See more on Tollund Man here:

See more about Lindow Man here:

A Danish archaeological team has discovered an entire "army" in a single bog.  To this point 240 individuals have been recovered out of about 1,000 who were thought to be interred in this bog about 2,000 years ago.  All are men between the ages of 13 and 45 years. Many of the bodies show clear signs of trauma from animals and from bladed weapons. The evidence of trauma, ages and sex and associated artifacts and weapons found in context, suggest that these were warriors, likely fighting during the Teutonic Wars.  The presence of animal bite marks is curious and my indicate that they were not buried immediately, and were possible brought from the battlefield to this bog after the fight.  Animals may have gotten to the bodies before they were collected or during the time they were transported.  What the animal bites do conclude, is that they were not thrown into bog immediately after death as part of some ritual, but at some time post mortem.  Were they brought here and thrown into the bog as some form of sacrifice or to dishonor them, or were these men placed in the bog to preserve and honor them?

Skull found during excavation of the bog, via Skanderborg Museum

This discovery will reignite the theories of bog interment.  Hopefully some useful data will be recovered from these individual to tell us more about their violent end.

You can see more about the Army From the Bog here:


  1. The discovery of Windover bog people in Florida is the largest and best preserved ancient cemetery in North America. The 9000 year-old people predate Native Americans.

    1. Bobby, thanks for visiting Eras Gone and mentioning Windover Bog. That is a facinating site and it gets so little press because some folks do not like the DNA analysis. It will all come out eventually. There are new theories about the first inhabitants of North America (that came from the east instead of the west) which are finally being taken seriously. Thanks again.