Friday, November 3, 2017

Bog Bodies

Hand of Oldcroghan Man
I've been intrigued by bog bodies since I learned about them during my first visit to Ireland in 2014. So a trip to the National Museum of Ireland Archaeology was on my 'must visit' list since they have three Irish bog bodies on display there. These preserved, almost mummified bodies have been found in peat bogs across Europe giving scientists a unique opportunity to study prehistoric man. These bodies have been dated to around 400-200 BC; they are remarkably well preserved.
Torso of Clonycavan Man
Because of the low oxygen content and high acidity of bog water, organic material does not decompose, but rather mummifies. The museum has studied the remains with both CT and MRI scans and has been able to determine such things as cause of death, what the individual's diet consisted of, and underlying diseases.
Gallagh Man found in Co. Galway
It's commonly thought that bog bodies were the result of ritual human sacrifice to appease the gods of Iron and Bronze Age man. Young men were sacrificed as were kings who failed to adequately care for their subjects.
Using modern reconstructive science, this is a model of what Clonycavan Man may have looked like.


  1. Oddly appropriate for this week which includes Halloween and All Souls!

  2. This is fascinating. I'd heard of the bog bodies, but really had no idea what they looked like.
    It's a pleasure to visit your blog again. So much to look at and read since I was last here.