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Bogbodies in Germany and Poland

Also in Germany bogbodies have been found by peatdiggers. Many of their oldest finds have been lost but a numbre of bogbodies have survived, most of these have a description on this page.

At the bottom of this page you can find the description of some bogbodies from Poland.

 

Windeby I

 

windeby I, sprangband

She had been blindfolded with a thin woolen band, 3 centimetres wide, braided with 38 threads in a brown colour, made in the sprangtechnique. we aren't completly sure it is a blindfold, maybe it's a hairband that has fallen down, now covering her eyes.
She wore some kind of collar around her neck but was otherwise nacked. She lived and died in the first century A.D. and was about 14 years old when she died. Her body was then placed in the bog with a heavy stone and several braches olding her down.

There are no clear signs on the body that could tell us something about the way she died but most scientists asume the girl was drowned. Before averybody thought that she most have been a sacrifice to the gods but now more and more scientists think it also possible that she was punished for a crime and some think she died of natural causes.

windeby I, reconstruction windeby I, reconstruction

reconstruction of the face.

Near Windeby in Schleswig was a small bog where in may 1952 the first of 2 bogbodies was found. Windeby I or the Windeby girl as the body became known as, was badly damaged by the machine used for peatdigging. A leg and a hand had been cut of the body. According to Glob she was found lying on her back with her head tilted and her left arm streched, the right arm on her chest. Not al parts of the body have been preserved as well. Mostly the hands and head, brain included have been preserved beautifully. Her hair was blond and very fine. Half of her skull had been shaved, just like the Yde girl and some other bogbodies.

windeby I

windeby I

Windeby I as on display in the Landesmuseum of Schleswig.

In 1970 the body was reeximened but not enough of the body had been preserved to even say for sure it is a female body. The National Geographic of september 2007 included an article with conclusions from a DNA test preformed by a professor at the North Dakota State University that claimed the body was male. He also suggested that maybe the hair was not shaven of but ame of during the excavation...

Later on the same location a second body was found: Windeby II.

 

Windeby II

 

Windeby II

 

Only 20 days after Windeby I was found, a second body was discovered separated from the first by less then 5 metres. This is absolutely a male body. We don't know if the bodies of Windeby I and II were placed in the bog together but it is a possibility.

The man had clearly been strangled befored being placed in the bog. A hazel branch as thick as a finger was still wrapped around his neck. His nacked body layed in the bog on his back with his arms crossed. He had been covered by some thick and fork-shaped sharp branches.

His bones had completely decalcified in the bogs acidig water, oly his skin and hair war saved. Some hairs seemed to by a lighter colour, was he turning grey? TYhat could mean he was a little older.

I know very little about this body so if there is any think you can tell us about it, lett us know and send us a e-mail.

Rendswuhren man

 

In 1871 a male bogbody was found in Nederfrideriksmose near Kiel. An early find, the oldest pictures of a bogbody still in the bog are from this Rendswuhren man.

oude krantenfoto

Oldest known photograph of a bogbody on the original location, may 1th 1892, Nederfrideriksmose.

Unfortunatly in those days there was little known about how to preserve a body like this. Before being send to Kiel he was taken to a barn where the locals could view the body. Just like with the Dutch Yde girl, Some parts of the body and the clothing have dissappeared in these forst days after finding the body. Because another way of preservation was not know, the body was smoked.

mannen van man van Rendswuhren

Rendswuhren man was found lying face down and nacked except his left leg, That was covered by a piece of leather, with the hairs inward and tied with strips of leather. More pieces of clothing were placed on his head, a long woolen garment and a cape made out of pieces of oxleather.

He was about 40 to 50 years old wheb he died and in this case it is quit clear how the man was killed. A triangular hole in his skull was caused by ha hard blow. He probably lived approximately 50 A.D.

The body is on display at the Landesmuseum of Schleswig.

Osterby skull

 

man van Osterby

The skull can be seen at the Landesmuseum of Schleswig.

From the man of Osterby only the skull was preserved. The head was found on may 28th 1948 by two peatdiggers Kohlmoor near Osterby. In this region around Eckernförde several bogbodies have been found. Especially the hair of this skull was beautifully conserved in the bog and showes a typical, eight shaped knot known as a 'Swabian knot' was tied without using a pin was a typical hairstyle for men in the Iron Age which fits the dating of around the first century. De Roman historian Tacitus, who was said to have lived near Osterby, discribed this hairstyle as typical for the Suebi tribe.

man van Osterby

The hair ontop of the skull was 28 centimetres long, while the hair in the neck was cut very short. The skull was wrapped in a piece of deerleather. People searched for a body but none was found. The head most have belonged to a man of approximately 50 to 60 years old. It was cut from the body with a very sharp instrument. Recent research showed that the jaw did not belong to the rest of the skull!. ( February 16th, 2007 Spiegel.de)

 

Damendorf man

man van Damendorf

 

broek van Damendorf

Thede trousers belonging to the Damendorf man was kept beautifully, as were his shoes and a leather girdle. They are claerly seen on a picture in Globs book. It also sais that they was a lesther bowl found with the man.

The body is on display at the Landesmuseum of Schleswig.

This body of an adult man was found in 1900 in a bog at Seemor, another body found near the district Eckernförde. The bones have almost completely dissolved. The body is now almost completely flat because of the weight of the bog resting on top of him for so long. Only the skin, nails and hair heve been preserved. The body lay face downwards, the head resting on the outstretched left arm. Damendorf man was dated 140-380 AD. How the man died is not sure but a couple of centimetres long cut near the hart may be an indication of the mans cause of death.

schoenen van Damendorf

The shoes of Damendorf

 

Neu Versen man (Roter Franz)

 

Roter Franz reconstructie

The man must have been about 25 to 32 years old and must have been on horseback a lot. Concrescences to the bones are typical for horseriders. His right shoulder joint was ones wounded (by an aroowhead?) but had healed again. He also had a healed fracture in his right collar-bone, maybe he had fallen of his horse?

Many people think he was a Germanic warrior on horseback, maybe fighting in the Roman Auxilia war. He died between 135 and 385 A D. The cause of death is clear because of his cut throat. If this means he was a sacrifice or a murdervictim, we'll never know.

From the year 2000 till 2002 his body was on display in the exhibition 'the mysterious bogpeople' which included this facial reconstruction.

 

Neu Versen Man is also known by his nickname Roter Franz (Red Frans) because of that special red hair that al bogbodies share. He was found on june 8th 1900 by peatdigger Bernard Herbers. The damage done by his peat shovel is clearly visible.
Neu Versen man was found lying on his back in the bog near the German Bourtangermoor north of Neu Versen, near Meppen in Emsland.

man van Neu Versen

The body was initially reburried at a local cemetery but when the Provinzialmuseum in Hannover heeard about his, they wanted to buy the body. It took 5 months of negotiations befor the body was excavated. These 5 months in the grave didn't do the body any good..

The body of Roter Frans is now on display at the Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum in Hannover.

Kayhausen boy

 

Bogbodies of children are not commen but not unheard of either. One of the few children among the bogbodies is the Kayhausen boy. Around 300 to 400 B C this approximately 7 year old boy was killed by muliple stabwounds in the neck. His hands and feet had been bound by a rope and. After his death the boy had been placed in the bog face down.

jongen van Kayhausen

jongen van Kayhausen

There are some signs of an inflammation in the boy's hipe joint so he could only walk with some help.
Because there are many bogbodies with a fysical oddity that some people think that these people were considered special and particularly suited to be a sacrifice.
This leaves the question if they were favorites of the gods or the opposite?

I don't know where the body is today, can anyone tell me?

Lost Rost girl

 

meisje van Rost

 

Another child was the Rost girl but very little is known about the Rost girl, we only know that she was about 3 when she died and that she was 80 centimetres tall. The little body was one of the bogbodies that was lost during the second world war. Fortunately a picture still exists so we know what her body looked like.

Neu England man

 

Neu England Man was found in the Lengener Moor near Ammerland in 1941. He must have been between 40 and 50 years old when he died in sometime during the 2th ore 3th century A D. How he died we don't know because the body was to poorly preserved but the painful expresion on the mans face doesn't suggest a peaceful end.

The body is on display at the Landesmuseum Natur und Mensch in Oldenburg.

Neu England Man

 

Husbäke man

man van Husbäke

 

man van Husbäke

In 1931 in the Vehnemoor near Edewecht in Nedersaksen a bogbody had been found but on october 15th 1936 a second body in found. Husbäke man was found in this bog near Ammerland by peatdigger Brünthen. The body had been very well preserved. When he was found he was lying face down in the bog with one arm under his chest and his head itowards the north. Was he victim of an acident, drowning or killed in some other way, we don't know. There are now claer signs of violence on his body.

He lived between 75 and 215 AD and was about 20 years old when he died. His hair was short and his moustache and beard were also largly preserved and the little wear on them fits with his young age. He was reasonably tal, 1,75 metres. The contents of his stomach was also saved and showed to include fichbones and grain.

A 3D reconstruction of his face can be seen along with the body itself at the Landesmuseum Natur und Mensch in Oldenburg

Dätgen man

 

In 1959 the decapitated body of a man was found in the bog near Dätgen, not far from Kiel. The mans head was found only 3 metres further down in the bog. The remains were dated to be from the 2th to 4th century AD.

man van Dätgen

Besides the decapitation, the man had other clear wounds such as stabwounds. It seems that some of these wounds were inflicted after the man died. That is why some people think this man may have been executed as a witch? Maybe the people who killed him were afraid he might return from the dead en tried to prevent him from doing so, by mutilating the body.
The body is on display at the Landesmuseum van Schleswig.

 

man van Dätgen hoofd

Dätgen mans skull includes the mans hair that shows the eight shaped 'Swabian knot', typical for the period in which he lived, the Roman Iron Age.

Bockhornerfeld man

 

man van Bockhornerfeld

Bockhornerfeld man who was found in november 1934, is also known as Jührdenerfeld Man. The man was lying was on his right side covered by a leather cape and a fragment of a woolen fabric. His body was pinned down in the bog with long branches. Tests have shown that he lived during the first halve of the first century, a contemporary of the Dutch Yde girl.

The body is on display at the Landesmuseum Natur und Mensch in Oldenburg.

Uchtermoor girl

meisje van het Uchter veen

Facial reconstruction impression by Ursula Wittwer-Backofen of the University of Freiburg

 

Most bogbodies have been found years ago but the Uchtermoor girl is a more recent find, the first bogbody that had been found in Germany in 50 years.
One half of the body had been found in january 2000 by peatdigger in Uchte (Landkreis Nienburg) where peatdigging is still takes place although now large digging machines are used. This is why the body has been cut in half.
The police first thought it might be a murdercase but naturally could not sold the case. The human remains were then stored. 5 years later a hand was found in the same bog. People realized they were dealing with a very old boby and an archeaologist joint the investigation. In june of that year the near complete body had been recovered. Only one shoulderblade is missing. Some of the girls hair was also found.
The 1,50 metre tall body turned out to be that of a young girl, about 18 years old who must have lived approximately 2700 years ago, around 650 BC. The bones showed that the girl must have known hunger several times during her life.
The body showed no signs of violence so we don´t know the cause of her death. 4 kilometres north of the site the girl was found, a wooden road had been found in the bog that probably dates from the same period, the pre Roman Iron Age.

Uchter veen skelet

The body is on dispplay at the Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum in Hannover.

 

meisje van het Uchter veen

meisje van het Uchter veen

Lost Grossenmoor men

 

As said before, many bogbodies were lost including the Grossenmoor men who were found april 25th 1949 near Hunteburg. The men are also known as the Hunteburg men. After the tests were finished the bodies were send to a chemicalfirm where the bodies were to be dried. That is where the bodies were lost... Fortunately there are pictures of the bodies and a plaster cast was made. These give us a good impression of what these bogbodies looked like.

Grossenmoor foto

picture of the Grossenmoor men

Grossenmoor gipsafgietsel

Plaster cast

Hunteburg I, on the ´bottom´of the pictures was about 20 years old. His hair was 18 centimetres long and blond to reddishblond and his nails were manicured. He was between 180 and 190 centimetres long. His body was damaged by the diggingtools.
Hunteburg II was somewhat protected from the digging tools by the other body so he was less damaged. His hair was 10 centimetres long and dark blond. His nails were also manicured. He was nerarly 190 centimeters and about 30 years old.

 

Grossenmoor foto

The mantles as on display in Hannover

These men were found with 2 beautiful mantles in bright green and blue, trimmed with cardwoven bands. They show how well the people had mastered these techniques and what beautiful colours they could make with vegetable dyes. The mantles are about 380 by 180 centimetres in size and have been dated to the third or fourth century AD.

Several repairs show that the mantle had been used for many years.
They are considered to belong amongst the most beautiful and best preserved garment from the Roman Iron Age.

The mantles are on display at the Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum in Hannover.

Bernuthsfeld man

Grossenmoor gipsafgietsel

 

For more then a hundred years Bernuthsfeld man has been on display at the Landesmuseum Emden. He was found on may 24th 1907 by the brothers de Jonge while working as peatdiggers in Bernuthsfeld in Hochmoor (Landkreis Aurich). Because of the place he was found he was nicknamed Bernie.The man must have died around 796 AD and was probably 25 to 30 years old when he died. How he died is not clear. He could have been killed as a sacrifice, murdered or killed in an accident, who knows?

Very special about this bogbody is the fact that the man was fully dressed. He wore a longsleeved garment that was knee-long and a colourful Poncho, both made out of wool as was the blanket in wich the man had been covered. The 'dress' is a very special and rare find, made of many patches and fixed and repaired many times. The German archaeologist Jurgen Bär discribed it as a 'Patchwork piece in hippy style'.

The picture on the right was taken during the scanning od the skeleton. It will take some time before the reconstruction of this bogbodies face is finished. When it is, we hope to include a picture of the reconstruction on this page.

Grossenmoor gipsafgietsel

Poland

From Poland I know only 3 bogbodies:


In 1939 a girl was found near Drobnitz with among other things a wooden comb. She must have lived between the 8th and 5th century BC.
There is a picture of this bogbody in the book 'vereeuwigd in het veen' by Wijnand van der Sanden.
The body itself no longer exist, it was destoyed during the Second world war.

In 1936 near Dąbrówka a bogbody was found with a bronze mantlepin and 2 amber beads.

In 1943 a male bogbody was found near Karinden

There are no pictures of these last 2 bogbodies, for asfar as I know...

 

Sources and links

 

Musea:

Landesmuseum Natur und Mensch

Landesmuseum van Schleswig

Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum

 

Books

Mummies from the bog, P.V. Glob

Vereeuwigd in het veen, Wijnand van der Sanden

Mens en moeras, Publiced by Drents Museum

Schatten uit het veen, Publiced by Drents Museum

 

© DXII