Tollund Man

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The Tollund Man is the naturally mummified corpse of a man who lived during the 4th century BC, during the time period characterised in Scandinavia as the Pre-Roman Iron Age.[1] He was found in 1950 buried in a peat bog on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark, which preserved his body. Such a find is known as a bog body.[2] The head and face were so well-preserved that he was mistaken at the time of discovery for a recent murder victim.[3]

Contents

Discovery

On May 8, 1950, Viggo and Emil Højgaard from the small village of Tollund were cutting peat for their stove in the Bjældskovdal peat bog, 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) west of Silkeborg, Denmark.[3] As they worked, one of their wives, who was there helping to load the peat on a carriage, noticed in the peat layer a face so fresh that they could only assume that they had discovered a recent murder victim, and after much deliberation among the workers, she notified the police at Silkeborg.[2] The police were baffled by the body, and in an attempt to identify the time of death, they brought in archaeology professor P. V. Glob.[3][4] Upon initial examination, Glob suggested that the body was over two thousand years old and most likely the victim of a sacrifice.[2][3]

The Tollund Man lay 50 meters (164 feet) away from firm ground, buried under approximately 2 meters (7 feet) of peat, his body arranged in a fetal position. He wore a pointed skin cap made of sheepskin and wool, fastened securely under his chin by a hide thong. There was a smooth hide belt around his waist. Additionally, the corpse had a garrote made of hide drawn tight around the neck, and trailing down his back.[2] Other than these, the body was naked. His hair was cropped so short as to be almost entirely hidden by his cap. There was short stubble (1mm length) on his chin and upper lip, suggesting that he had not shaved on the day of his death.[3]

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