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The Bog People


For many how may not know Bog people are mummified corpses of people who were found in the bogs of northern Europe. Primarily Denmark, Germany, Poland and Scandinavia. These bog people were all victims of murder and it is the belief of the scientific community, human sacrifice. The average time period of death was approximately 100 AD. During this time the Romans dominated Europe however in northern Europe it was ruled by many scattered Germanic kingdoms which were generally immersed in paganism and religion surrounding their own mythological figures. Scientists have yet to fully understand why these people were killed and thrown into the bog and so the study presses on. This article examines the different people that have been found, their cause of death, what they wore, what was found with them, etc. I would warn you though that although this article is historical in nature it is dealing with some subject matter that may not be for those with weak stomachs. So if this is you them feel free to check out another of my articles.



Tollund man was found in the peat bogs of the Jutland peninsula in Denmark. He was very well preserved having deceased in the 4th Century A.D. Although the acidic nature of the bog had dissolved his bone his skin, muscles and organs were completely intact. He wore a sheepskin hat fastened with an animal tie to his chin. He was found with a noose around his neck apparent cause of death was hanging.


Upon examining the contents of his stomach and intestines his last meal was determined to be porridge made of numerous tyes of grains and seeds. some of which were not easily found in the area. It is thought that his last meal was prepared for a special occasion.



This man was found in a Jutland bog as well near the village of Grauballe. Time of death was 3rd Century and cause was determined to have been having his troat cut from ear to ear. His hair remained but had changed to a redish color, it was determined that his true hair was dark bron in color. He was found in the bog in 1952.


This man's hands were found to be smooth and so it was determined that he was not employed to do hard labor. So he wouldn't have worked in farming or other labor jobs. This could possible point to him being of noble descent.



Found in 1897, this young woman was found near Yde village in the Netherlands. Time of death was in the 1st century A.D. She was found with a woolen cape with a braided strap around her neck indicating strangulation. She also had a stab wound close to her collar bone. In the 1990s a reconstruction of her face was performed as shown to the right. Her current state is shown below.


Yde girl was about sixteen years of age and for some reason before death one side of her head was shaved.



Although only a little can be found on this bog man this photograph from 1897 shows how carefully the excavation process was done even in the late 1800s. After cutting down through the big mud the excess dirt was moved away from all sides of the body until free of the ground. After which the body was taken directly to a location to be preserved. At least this is what happens when scientists found the bodies when specifically looking for them. Many of these bodies were found when someone was simply looking for peat for their stoves.


Overall the bog people represent a period of human history that was incredibly violent. the bodies left behind by these early peoples leaves one aghast. But in the interest of history and understanding what we have been and how far we have come one must learn despite finding what we may not want to see or otherwise choose to ignore.

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Candle Hour (author) from North America on July 01, 2012:

Glad you liked it :)

Kitty Fields from Summerland on June 28, 2012:

Very interesting! Loved it.

Candle Hour (author) from North America on June 27, 2012:

lupine - I do my best, I suppose I have a lot of varying interests :)

lupine from Southern California (USA) on June 27, 2012:

You have a knack for finding interesting subjects for your hubs. Great story.

Candle Hour (author) from North America on June 27, 2012:

jennzie - history can be cool!

Candle Hour (author) from North America on June 27, 2012:

Lipnancy - I suppose a show on the history channel would be good. It is the only instance where I think the human body has been preserved this well for so long. Normally they can't perform an autopsy on a dead body that is two millenia old!

Jenn from Pennsylvania on June 27, 2012:

Fascinating hub! I also have never heard of these people before reading this- it's amazing how well-preserved some of them were.

Voted up and shared.

Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on June 27, 2012:

Your hub was so very interesting. I think it would make an excellent show on the History Channel.

Candle Hour (author) from North America on June 27, 2012:

tillsontitan - the part I found most interesting is that the organs were preserved as well. That they could examine the contents of the stomach and find out what their last meal was right down to the ingredients. Some of these people date well over 2000 years!

Mary Craig from New York on June 26, 2012:

I had never heard of the 'bog people' before. I found this very interesting. I wasn't aware of any mummification except in Egypt, and yet, this is a natural form, it appears without any preparation. So many different places and so many different causes of death, all so violent. Could they have been criminals or as you point out what could have been the reason for their deaths? Very interesting photos as well.

I voted this up and interesting.

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