Lindow Man

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Lindow Man, also known as Lindow II and (in jest) as Pete Marsh, is the preserved bog body of a man discovered in a peat bog at Lindow Moss near Wilmslow in Cheshire, North West England. The body was found on 1 August 1984 by commercial peat-cutters. Lindow Man is not the only bog body to have been found in the moss; Lindow Woman was discovered the year before, and other body parts have been recovered. The find, described as "one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 1980s",[1] caused a media sensation. It helped invigorate study of British bog bodies, which had previously been neglected in comparison to those found in the rest of Europe.

Lindow Man was a healthy male in his mid-20s, and he may have been someone of high status, as his body shows little evidence of heavy or rough work. There has been debate over the reason for Lindow Man's death, for the nature of his demise was violent, perhaps ritualistic; after a last meal of charred bread, Lindow Man was strangled, hit on the head, and his throat cut. Dating the body has proven problematic, but it is thought that Lindow Man was deposited into Lindow Moss, face down, some time during the 1st century AD. The body has been preserved by freeze-drying and is on permanent display at the British Museum, although it occasionally travels to other venues such as Manchester Museum.

Contents

Background

Lindow Moss

Lindow Moss (53°19′21″N 2°16′12″W / 53.322474°N 2.269928°W / 53.322474; -2.269928) is a peat bog in Mobberley, Cheshire, which has been used as common land since the medieval period. It formed after the last ice age, one of many such peat bogs in north-east Cheshire and the Mersey basin that formed in hollows caused by melting ice.[2] Investigations have not yet discovered settlement or agricultural activity around the edge of Lindow Moss that would have been contemporary with Lindow Man; however, analysis of pollen in the peat suggests there was some cultivation in the vicinity.[3] Once covering over 600 hectares (1,500 acres), the bog has now shrunk to a tenth of its original size. It is a dangerous place; an 18th-century writer recorded people drowning there. For centuries the peat from the bog was used as fuel, and it continued to be extracted until the 1980s, by which time the process had been mechanised.[4] Lindow Moss is a lowland raised mire; this type of peat bog often produces the best preserved bog bodies, allowing more detailed analysis. Lowland raised mires occur mainly in northern England and extend south to the Midlands. Lindow Man is one of 27 bodies to be recovered from such areas.[5]

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