Bog bodies, which are also known as bog people, are the naturally preserved human corpses found in the sphagnum bogs in Northern Europe. Unlike most ancient human remains, bog bodies have retained their skin and internal organs due to the unusual conditions of the surrounding area. These conditions include highly acidic water, low temperature, and a lack of oxygen, combining to preserve but severely tan their skin. Despite the fact that their skin is preserved, their bones are generally not, as the acid in the peat dissolves the calcium phosphate of bone.
The German scientist Dr Alfred Dieck catalogued the known existence of over 1,850 northern European bog bodies in 1965, but according to the actual state of scientific research many of his finds can not be verified by documents or archaeologic finds. Most, although not all, of these bodies have been dated to the Iron Age, and many of them show signs of having been killed and deposited in a very similar manner, indicating some sort of ritual element, which many archaeologists believe show that these were the victims of human sacrifice in Iron Age Germanic paganism. Some of the most notable examples of bog bodies include Tollund Man and Grauballe Man from Denmark and Lindow Man from England.
There are a limited number of bogs which have the correct conditions for preservation of mammalian tissue. Most of these are located in the colder climes of northern Europe near bodies of salt water. For example, in the area of Denmark where the Haraldskær Woman was recovered, salt air from the North Sea blows across the Jutland wetlands and provides an ideal environment for the growth of peat. As new peat replaces the old peat, the older material underneath rots and releases humic acid, also known as bog acid. The bog acids, with pH levels similar to vinegar, conserve the human bodies in the same way as fruit is preserved by pickling.
You might also like
Tarim Mummies (Video Included)