Nine facts about Bog Bodies

Posted by Rebecca Mortimer - Tuesday, 15 Dec 2020


Archaeology, Human Remains, Exhibitions

By Melanie Giles


Bog Bodies are the best-preserved human remains from NW Europe.

They have inspired poetry, art and literature.

Bogs are not just important as environmental records of the past – they are a vital part of our response to climate change.

The archaeology of bogs can help us understand how our relationship with these rich, fertile yet dangerous places has changed over the last three millennia.

New scientific and forensic techniques have revolutionised our understanding of the story of bog bodies.

Yet there is no one explanation for ‘bodies in the bogs’: they are a mixture of sacrifice, execution, murder and accident.

There are more ‘paper’ bog bodies, hidden in our newspaper archives, letters and old diaries, than we have realised: stories yet to be told.

Bogs have other well-preserved prehistoric marvels hidden in their depths: ‘exquisite objects’ such as cauldrons, weapons and jewellery, as well as ‘everyday treasures’ such as tools, textiles and vats of bog butter.

Whilst bog bodies lie at the heart of many national museum collections, there is considerable debate as to if and how we should display them.









Bog bodies is available now. Melanie Giles is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Manchester.



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