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Ancient Tribes and Sacrifices and Lindow man

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Thirty years ago, a peat cutter working in the Cheshire countryside spotted what he thought was a piece of wood trundling along a conveyor belt.
Tasked with the job of keeping the belt free of debris, he threw it away, but as it hit the ground, the dirt fell from it and the remains of a human leg lay in the summer sun.
That gruesome discovery on 1 August 1984 led to Rick Turner, the newly-appointed county archaeologist, being called to the site on Lindow Moss.
He says what followed were "the most exciting days of my archaeological career".
"I was taken out on to the moss and shown where the previous day's peat had been taken from," he says.


"Walking the uncut sections, I found a flap of dark, tanned skin projecting from below.
"Reporting my discovery to the police, we agreed I would be given a day to excavate the remains."
On 6 August, the site was recorded and sampled, the limits of the remains were established and "Lindow Man was lifted - within his block of surrounding peat - on his way to international celebrity", Mr Turner says.

'First bog body'
A spokeswoman for the British Museum, where the body is kept, says it was "one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 1980s [which] caused a media sensation".
"Conserved for nearly 2,000 years by the acidic, anaerobic conditions, it was possible to make out his facial features, a distinctive furrowed brow with close-cropped hair and beard," she said.
"For the first time, it was possible to see the face of a person from Britain's prehistoric past."
As Mr Turner puts it, "bog bodies always have produced a remarkable response in those lucky enough to find them and those who see them preserved in museums".
"He was hailed as Britain's first bog body, to match the famous examples from Denmark, such as Tollund and Grauballe Man."


During 1980s CE a series of finds were made at Lindow Moss by workers at a peat shredding mill (peat was then being harvested as fuel). These discoveries were small parts of the human anatomy, for example, a head known as the Lindow Woman and several limbs of other individuals. The most famous, largest, and important of these discoveries is the top half of a male body (the bottom half possibly lost when a digger cut up the bog) found in the summer of 1984 CE and called the Lindow Man. What is noticeable about this example and significant for study is that the hair, skin, and several of his integral organs were preserved. The body and surrounding section of peat were removed whole and taken away for study by a team led by British Museum scientists. Once safe in a laboratory it was the focus of analysis and has caused a great deal of excitement, producing an unprecedented investigation.

The beard, sideburns, and moustache made it instantly clear that the body was male. By calculating the length of his upper arm bone, it was estimated that he would have been between 1.68 m and 1.73 m tall. He was also well built, weighing around 64 kg. He was radiocarbon dated to between 2 BCE and 119 CE and was about 25 years old at the time of death. He was unclothed, apart from a fox fur armband. Using scanning electron microscopy researchers found that his hair and beard had been trimmed with a pair of scissors or shears. It is thought that he did not do any rough work or hard labour, based on his nails which were all manicured. Although the acid in the bog had removed all of the enamel from his teeth, there were no visible cavities, and what was left looked normal. Overall he appears to have been fairly healthy, but had slight osteoarthritis and an infestation of parasitic worms. It has even been possible to discover his blood group, O. Food residue discovered in his upper alimentary tract shows that his last meal was a griddle cake made from wheat and barley.


LindFlap of skin showing in cut section of trench.ow Man was not alone. In May 1983, the skull of a woman aged between 30 and 50 had been recovered from Lindow Moss. Her left eyeball was still in place, along with some hair. The discovery prompted a local murder suspect to confess to having killed his wife — his house backed onto Lindow Moss — but a radiocarbon date later revealed that the skull was 1,800 years old! In February 1987, more body parts turned up on the conveyor belt, and further investigation eventually recovered some 70 separate pieces, forming the back of an adult male, a hand, and a leg.

Finally, in June and September 1988, parts of the buttocks, left leg, and right thigh of an adult male were recovered. These pieces were found only 15m from where Lindow Man had lain, so they are probably missing pieces of his body. Future DNA analysis may prove this one way or the other.

The radiocarbon dates clustered around the 1st century AD. Lindow I (1983) came out at AD 90-440, Lindow Man (1984) at 2 BC-AD 129, and Lindow III (1987) at AD 30-225. It seems that in the period of transition from Late Iron Age Britain to Roman Britannia, something strange was happening at Lindow Moss.


Reconstructin of Lindow Man
Bog bodies have been found in many parts of north-western Europe over the last 150 years. It has been estimated that as many as 2,000 altogether may have been uncovered in Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Holland, north-west Germany, and elsewhere. Some have been as old as 6,000 years, some only a few hundred, but most cluster in the period c.500 BC to AD 100. Many share some of the distinctive and peculiar characteristics of Lindow Man. Many, in consequence, are thought to represent ritual killings in the context of some form of Celtic cult.


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Cool story!

I'm guessing this guy couldn't pass a breathalyzer test and fell into the bog, drunk. In this case, dead drunk. :biggrin:

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