There is no more enigmatic find than that of bog bodies;
These human remains are of iconic status and known to a wider audience from the seminal works of P.V. Glob (1969) and the modern day poems of Seamus Heaney, such as “the Tollund Man”. The corpses are in a state where bodily decay has ceased due to the preservative qualities of the bogs. As they are not ageing they could be seen to have gained otherworldy characters. It is also true that that not all were preserved or even deposited as full bodies. The archaeological material from wetlands also contains bones of humans and animals. Some of these were linked with violent deaths, where some interpretations explain their deposition with their identity as social outcasts, others may simply have been drowning victims. Occasionally the bog bodies have been seen as connected to Celtic sacrificial rites, however the phenomena of depositing human remains stretches to other geographical areas and may have another distribution in time. However an all over understanding of this corpus of material is still needed (including analyses of both visceral and skeletal material). Furthermore there is a need to investigate both the associated material culture as well as the sites and landscapes where these depositions took place.
Tollund Man’s Face © Museum Silkeborg
The Bog Body Research Network aims to connect researchers involved with this material and to map and promote current research within the field of bog body studies.
The Bog Body Research Network was established as a result of a workshop hosted by the Department of Archaeology at Stockholm University in 2011.