I have seen the remains of Lindow Man in the British Museum. He was found in a bog outside Wilmslow, Cheshire, in 1984.
Just imagine what it must have been like to have been in that area when the Tollund Man was found. WOW! Not a recent homicide as initially thought.
Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
This information was a little harder to locate, but I finally found a Danish article entitled "The Tollund Man - A Face Found from Prehistoric Denmark" which answered the questions posed.
I recognized the image as a "bog man". A quick image search brought me to image on the National Geographic web sit and the name "Tollund Man".
I then moved to the Danish site for "The Tollund Man" which contained details about his life, death, and examination of the body.
Isn't it odd that he has a hat on and nothing else? Don't think the arranged position is sufficient to say he was a "sacrifice"! Other burials show bones arranged in such positions. Came into this world from this position so they are being born into another one?
It took a few minutes for the light bulb to go on, but then I remembered hearing about the man found in the ice in the Alps in 1991. He has been given the name of Otzi the Iceman and is believed to have lived around 3,300 BCE. The interesting thing about Otzi is that he still had intact blood cells. A DNA analysis found a lot of information, including living descendents. This web site lists a number of mummies, some of which were naturally mummified. jasonponic.hubpages.com/hub/PreservedMummies
Carol Gene Farrant
I knew what this was as soon as I saw it. :) I am absolutely fascinated with Tolland man; the minute detail, the pores of the skin, everything is perfect -it is absolutely incredible and something I am happy to have seen in my lifetime.
I am totally captivated by the bog bodies and what we can learn from them.
We were at "Danish Days" in Solvang today. We bought a raffle ticket (for a free trip to Denmark). See you at the Silkeborg!
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Tollund Man has become the face of Iron Age Europe. But in 1950, when men cutting peat near the village of Tollund, Denmark, stumbled upon him, they thought he was a modern murder victim. The police, aware of similar ancient bodies, contacted the Silkeborg Museum, and various specialists—archeologists, forensic scientists, radiologists, paleobotanists, even dentists—later studied his body.
This 2,400-year-old corpse is the world’s most famous bog body. Learn how scientists reconstructed his final hours. Click here to learn about their findings and get an intimate view of the 2,400-year-old man.
The examination of the Tollund Man at the National Museum of Denmark in 1950 revealed an unusually well-preserved body of an adult male who was approximately 30 to 40 years old when he died. The Tollund Man is probably the most well-preserved body from pre-historic times in the world. Only the side of the body which had been turned upwards in the excavation of the peat bog showed signs of decomposition. On his right side, which had been turned downwards in the grave, the skin was well-preserved whereas the body itself had shrunk, thus making folds in the skin. Different measurements showed that he measured 161 centimetres when he was discovered, but it is very likely that he shrank a little during his stay in the bog.
His arms and hands were almost skeletonized and partly ruined due to the peat-digging in the bog - only his feet and one finger were completely untouched.
The head was almost shockingly well-preserved. The eyes were closed and so was the mouth - the look on his face was calm and solemn as if he was just sleeping. His hair was short - 1-2 centimetres long - the red colour of his hair is due to the influence of the bog water. We don't know his original hair colour.
The hair on his head was covered by a crafted, pointed leather cap made of sheepskin. It was secured with two thin leather straps attached near the temples and tied together under his chin. A loop made it easy to put the cap on and remove it again.
The belt was tied around the body's hips. The belt was 77 centimetres long and was made of thin pieces of leather.
To launch interactive website, click on thumbnail.
Tollund Man today (top), and before restoration (bottom).
One end of the belt had an oblong cut through which the other end of the belt had been pulled through and secured with a loop which could easily be untied. The leather cap and the leather belt were the man's only remaining clothing but around his neck was a braided leather rope tightened in a noose. The leather rope gives us the answer to one of the most interesting questions in connection with the Tollund Man: How did he die?
The rope had left a clearly visible furrow in the skin on the sides of his neck and under his chin, whereas there were no marks on the back of his neck where the knot was placed. The rope was strong enough to hold the weight of a grown man. The loose end, which was approximately 1 metre long, was rolled up and placed under the Tollund Man and had clearly been cut in half with a knife. The forensic examiners had no doubts when they decided on the cause of death: The Tollund Man had been hanged.
On May 17th 1950, shortly after the Tollund Man was discovered, he was sent to the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. After having carefully opened the box the actual excavation of the body began. Two of the conservators of the museum, Knud Thorvildsen and Brorson Christensen, were given the exciting task of removing the last layer of peat which was still covering the body. The head was the first part they uncovered and after that came the body itself. They later wrote a report about the excavation in which the wrote: "The head was unusually well-preserved. The hair was short (1-2 centimetres long). His eye brows were partly preserved. On his upper lip, chin and cheeks appeared very short but thick stubble. His eyes were closed, his mouth, whose lips were well-preserved, was closed, too. His face was at peace af if he was sleeping quietly.
Tollund Man after being turned over.
The upper part of his body was bent slightly forward and most of the skin had been preserved. However, the left side of his chest and shoulder was somewhat decomposed since big areas of the skin were missing.
The right side of the body was well-preserved, even though the skin was pierced by the bones of the shoulder and the lower ribs. Down his back was a long line of sharp cuts caused by the spades that dug into him when he was discovered in the bog. His hip socket had pierced the skin on his left side. The skin of the stomach was pleated. The genitals were well-preserved and that of a man.
Now it was possible to measure him. He wasn't very big - hardly taller than 162 centimetres - but it is possible that he might have shrunk quite a bit during his time in the bog. We don't know how much he might have shrunk but his feet are big as if they belonged to a bigger framed man.
During the excavation, which took place in the open air, the Tollund Man was constantly sprayed with a special liquid. It prevented any growth of bacteria and fungi which might have destroyed him now that the bog water, which had protected him for so long, was gone.
On May 31st, 1950 the excavation of the Tollund Man was completed at the National Museum, and drawings were made and photographs taken of him. Then his journey continued to Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen in order to carry out the internal exminations of him and at the same time find out what was the cause of death. A forensic examiner examined him as if he was the victim of a recent murder, and in the report it says among other things that "the rope, judging by the way it was placed around the body's neck, was most likely not used for strangulation, and because of that it is of less importance that the cervical vertebras were undamaged since that sometimes happens when a person is hanged".
X-rays had shown that the Tollund Man's cervical vertebras weren't broken. When a person is hanged it is very common that the cervical vertebras break, but still the forensic examiner had no doubts that the cause of death was hanging.
If you look closely you can see the faint shadow of his cap in the top right corner. Inside the head you can see the brain which has shrunken a little. In his jaw you can see his teeth.
New examinations of the brain with an endoscope have shown that it is unusually well-preserved.
The new examinations also show that his tongue had become distended - a characteristic often seen in a hanged person.
The internal parts were also examined, and they turned out to be well-preserved. The forensic examiners were able to open the Tollund Man and look at his heart, lungs and liver.
The alimentary canal, which consists of the stomach and intestines, was removed in order to be studied more closely - in particular to see if any food had been preserved that might tell us about his last meal before he was hanged.
The fact that his personal hygiene wasn't that good is indicated by the presence of intestinal worms. He and other bog bodies all had human pinworms in their small and large intestines which doctors tell us are best kept away if you wash your hands often. However, even today approximately 75% of us have intestinal worms which makes the Tollund Man less unusual.
The report from the forensic examiners also tells us that after the Tollund Man had been examined his head was cut off. It was done in accordance with instructions from the National Museum because the intention was to try to preserve it as it looked. There was no interest in preserving the body - it was thought of as being too ghastly and macabre!
However, the well-preserved feet and a finger were kept in formalin - a preservative liquid - so they could be examined later. The finger-print experts with the Danish National Police Forces examined them in 1976.
In 1978 experts in finger-prints with the National Police Forces examined one of the Tollund Man's fingers and his feet, which had been kept in formalin in order to prevent them from rotting away. The pattern on the finger was well-preserved and thus belongs among the oldest in the world. The pattern is still very easy to see. The assistant commissioner, who did the examination of the finger and feet, pointed out that the design of the Tollund Man's finger-print is quite similar to the ones found on the people of today.
The report by Assistant Commissioner H.P. Andersson states among other things:
"...The photograph of the right thumb shows a typical pattern with curved lines.
Top side of Tollund Man's thumb (top), and underside of Tollund Man's thumb (bottom).
This pattern is often seen in prints taken today, and the fact that it is found on the right thumb is also the case with more than two percent of the prints we have registered in the Danish police's database of finger-prints."
The assistant commissioner was able to tell that the epidermis was gone. This is probably due to the Tollund Man's long stay in the bog water - the water must have caused it to decompose.
When people made earthenware vessels in prehistoric times, they sometimes left their finger-prints in the wet clay, thus making it possible for us to detect them in the finished earthenware vessels. But aside from these finger-prints the Tollund Man's thumb has given us one of the oldest finger-prints in the world.
The alimentary canal, which consists of the stomach and intestines, was removed by the forensic examiners in order to be studied more closely - in particular to see if any food had been preserved that could tell us more about his last meal.
Most of the meal had passed through the stomach and into the intestine. Based on that the doctors were able to conclude that he must have eaten somewhere in between 12 to 24 hours before he died.
Tollund Man's alimentary canal.
A specialist in plants was given the stomach contents for further examination. Under the microscope he was able to see that there were no traces of meat, fish or fresh fruit among the contents, only grain and seeds.
The specialist in plants found many traces of barley, flaxseed, false flax and knotgrass. The last two grow in the wild , whereas barley and flaxseed were cultivated in fields. Traces of other seeds were also found in the contents - some of them had probably been gathered, whereas others may have been mixed in by coincidence. The specialist was able to recognize approximately 40 different kinds of seeds
When at the discovery in 1950 the police saw the Tollund Man they realized right away that he was from prehistoric times, but they were not able to date him more precisely. When the specialists examined his last meal, they realized he had lived around the time of the birth of Christ. The kind of barley and a number of the other seeds that were in his last meal were very common around that time.
A few years after the discovery of the
Nuclear accelerator used for recent carbon dating.
Tollund Man th scientists started using nuclear physics to date organic objects: wood, charcoal, bones, leather and similar objects. By the use of a Geiger counter they were able to measure the amount of radioactive carbon-14 that was left in the organic material.
While human beings - and other organisms - are alive they absorb carbon. Carbon comes in carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14 where the latter is radioactive. When the organism dies, like the Tollund Man, the carbon-14 slowly disappears.
A small sample the size of a thumbnail was taken from the Tollund Man's body and used as the basis for the readings. Based on that it was possible to calculate that he died approximately 2,400 years ago.
At the dating laboratory of the National Museum of Denmark, where the carbon-14 datings are done, the scientists were also able to conclude that the Tollund Man wasn't very fond of eating fish, because if he had been there would have been more carbon-13 in his body. Your main source of carbon-13 is marine animals (fish, seals and web-footed birds).
In order to reach the most precise dating of the Tollund Man, several tests were done and as a result of that we are able to say with great certainty that he was hanged 3-400 years before the birth of Christ.
The Tollund Man is not the only bog body that has been discovered in Bjældskovdal - at least three have been discovered over the years. One was discovered in 1927 and covered again shortly after the discovery when the peat bank collapsed over it - remnants of it might still be found in the bog.
In 1938 a local farmer named Jens Zakariassen was digging peat. He struck something which he first thought was an
animal that had drowned in the bog. "The animal" turned out to be wearing a belt of woven wool around its waist and that is when he realized that what he had discovered would be of interest to archaeologists.
The National Museum was sent for and the body was moved in the same way as the Tollund Man and transported to Copenhagen to be examined. The back of the body was very well-preserved whereas the front of it was in such poor condition that it was even impossible to tell whether it was a man or a woman.
However, it was possible to tell that the well-preserved hairstyle consisted of a long pigtail tied into a knot. The body was dressed in a skin cloak and a blanket or a cloak of cowhide had been wrapped around her legs.
Elling Woman was discovered only 80 metres from where the Tollund Man was to be discovered 12 years later, but at the time the discovery did not cause much of a stir. This is primarily due to the fact that it was
impossible to date the body at the time. It was not until 1976 that the archaeologists, forensic examiners, radiologists, forensic dentists and the Carbon-14 laboratory of the National Museum started to examine the body which had been brought out from
its hiding place in the archive.
The X-rays revealed that it was a woman who was approximately 25 years old - a conclusion which was supported by the forensic dentist.
By studying photographs taken in 1938 the forensic examiners could tell that there was a clearly visible furrow around the neck - she had been hanged like the Tollund Man.
At the same time the carbon-14 method revealed that she had died at approximately the same time as the Tollund Man - 280 B.C. - However, the uncertainty connected with the method makes it impossible for us to say if Elling Woman and the Tollund Man were placed in the bog at approximately the same time or if the sacrifices took place with an interval of 100 years.
Among the things that the National Museum had collected in 1938 was a rope made of skin that had been sown together - it is most likely the rope that was used for hanging her.
The cloak she was wearing was partially ruined but it was possible to examine it. It had been made by using a very fine thread just like the one used for the Tollund Man's cap. In a few places it had been repaired with a think leatherstring - probably a repair that had
been done in the village. The delicate stitches shown on the photo can only be done by someone who had received special training.
The neck band of the cloak was very well-preserved, and it was possible to tell that it had had some kind of clasp or fastening. Based on many other finds we know that this kind of cloak was the most common item of clothing during the early Iron age. It was used by both men and women. They would often wear two on top of each other - the one next to the skin would have the fur side turned inwards whereas the other one would have the fur side turned outwards. Thus, the two cloaks would keep the person both warm and dry when it rained.
The way her hair had been was examined closely. It was possible to tell that it was a pigtail and that the braiding had started at the top of the head and had gone down to the neck where it had been tied in a knot. The hair is red which is probably because it has been dyed by the bog water. However, it is darker than the Tollund Man's, and that is an indication that her hair must have been darker than his. Judging by the hairstyle her hair must have been approximately 1 metre long.
If you want to recreate the hairstyle you have to start by making a regular pigtail with the hair from the top of the head. At the hairline on the back of the neck you braid the rest of the hair into the braid which is then divided into seven parts. You braid these together two, two and three. At the end the pigtail is divided into two twisted pigtails.
On the day the woman was hanged, the pigtail had been
Elling Woman's cloak, showing its fine stitching.
tied into a knot at the back of her neck - just like in the photo. If the pigtail was not tied into a knot, it could hang loose down her back and it would have been approximately 90 centimetres long.
Once she was dead she was buried in an excavation in the peat bog. A piece of a cloak of a blanket made of cowhide was wrapped around her feet. The woman was placed on her left side with her head facing north and her feet pointing south.
Appearance of Elling Woman's hairstyle and cloak.
Back of the Elling Woman's head, showing her braid.
excavation in the peat bog just like the other bog bodies. His face was well-preserved but very distorted. This is primarily due to the fact that he was killed by having his throat cut from ear to ear. His left crus was broken but that probably happened after he died. The weight of the peat that covered him might have caused his leg to break.
Grauballe Man's hands and feet were unusually well-preserved. Grauballe Man can be dated back to approximately the same time period as the Tollund Man, the early Iron age. He is now on display at Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus.
Grauballe Man had been placed in an old excavation in
Two years after the Tollund Man was discovered - in 1952 - another body of a man was discovered in Nebel Mose close to Silkeborg. The people who discovered him came from the village and that is why the man was given the name Grauballe Man.
He had been buried in an
the peat bog pointing north-south with his face and chest turned downwards, with his left leg stretched and his right leg and arm bent. You can tell by studying the excavation in the peat bog that it was full of water when he was placed in it and that he sank to the bottom of it within a short period of time. This indicates that he
Graubelle Man when he was first discovered.
was placed in the bog during a cold season.
Grauballe Man was approximately 30 years old when he died. He was completely naked when he was discovered, which was also the case with the Tollund Man who was only wearing a cap and a leather belt when he was discovered. In both cases the clothes might have been placed close by, which has often been the case with other bog bodies. The clothes might later have dissolved and disappeared due to peat-digging. They might also have worn clothes made of flax and/or nettle which will not be preserved in the bog.
Just like the Tollund Man Grauballe Man had his
Graubelle Man's well preserved hands.
aliementary canal examined to find traces of his last meal. It turned out to have consisted of gathered weed seeds, just as it was the case with the Tollund Man. However, small pieces of bones indicate that meat was also a part of his last meal.