EFFORTS TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT BOG BODIES. The title of Joshua Levine’s article is optimistic: “Europe’s Famed Bog Bodies Are Starting to Reveal Their Secrets.” However, the secrets and mysteries remain. The article describes ingenious efforts which have led to meager results. Levine acknowledges that: “Much of what we know about bog bodies amounts to little more than guesswork and informed conjecture”.
This seems to be what is known: Depending on how you count, there are probably hundreds of bog bodies that have been found in Europe. Nearly all appear to have been killed. Radiocarbon dating has established that most of them died between 500 BC and 100 AD.
The contents of the stomachs of the victims show that most of them were killed in early spring—“barley, linseed and knotweed, among others, but no strawberries, blackberries, apples or hips from summer and autumn”. It seems that not much more is known.
Efforts have been made to find Tollund Man’s DNA (the acid in bogs causes DNA to disintegrate.) He was sent for a microCT scan in Paris, to look into his arteries. Lindow Man was recently sent for a dual energy CT scan. Efforts were made to extract DNA from the teeth of another bog person, Haraldskjaer Woman. Levine says: “To get a workable sample would be a godsend for bog body research, since it could clarify whether she was an outsider or a local.”
However, the sample was too small. Levine quotes a researcher: “The DNA of the Haraldskjaer Woman will be beyond our reach forever….”