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Landesmuseum highlights
Bog exhibits
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Landesmuseum at the Schloß Gottorf in Schleswig, Germany

 

The bog exhibits at the Schloß Gottorf are well worth a visit. Not only will you find a number of bog bodies, but the dramatic head of Osterby Man as well.

Here's a closer look at three of the exhibits:


Damendorf Man died about 300 B.C. and was discovered thousands of years later in the Eckernförde district of Germany. Unlike some other bog bodies, he was flattened by the weight of the peat. Only his skin, nails, and hair (as well as his leather belt and shoes) were preserved. As Glob wrote, "The rest of him has completely disappeared as if by magic. A split nearly an inch long in the region of the heart may indicate how he was killed."


Discovered in 1871 in a fen near Kiel (Germany), Rendswühren Man died when he was 40-50 years old. Here is how P.V. Glob in The Bog People described the find: 

"[the] exceptionally well-preserved man lay an an angle in the bog, face downwards. He was naked, except for the left leg, on which lay a piece of leather, with the pelt facing inwards, bound with leather thongs in a sort of cross-gartering. Clothing, however, consisting of a large rectangular woolen cloth and a cape made of pieces of skin sewn together, covered the man's head, which had a triangular hole in the forehead as though from a powerful blow.

"This well preserved human body naturally aroused much interest and before being dispatched to Kiel it was exhibited on a farm cart in a nearby barn. During this period visitors helped themselves lavishly to souvenirs both from the body itself and from the clothing. The dead man became the first bog man to be photographed--being stood up on the tips of his toes for the purpose. Preservation of the body was carried out by smoking, for other methods of conservation were not then envisaged."


However, the star of Landesmuseum's collection of bog bodies is Windeby I

Discovered in a small German bog in 1952, the Windeby find consisted of two bodies. The better preserved proved to be a teenager (originally thought to be female, but DNA tests have revealed that it is male) who was killed some 2,000 years earlier and buried in the bog. P. V. Glob (who believed that Windeby I was female) in his classic work The Bog People described her this way:

"She lay on her back, her head twisted to one side, the left arm outstretched. Between it and her hip was a large block of stone. The right arm was bent in against the chest, as if defensively, while the legs were lightly drawn up, the left over the right. The head with its delicate face and the hands were the best preserved; the chest had completely disintegrated, and the ribs were visible. The lower abdomen had also gone. The hair. reddish from the effects of the bog acids but originally light blond, was of an exceptional fineness but had been shaved off with a  razor on the left side of her head. Here it was less than a tenth of an inch long. On the right side of the head, in contrast, it was cut to a length of an inch and three quarters to two inches. The skin, where present, was well preserved. The bones, though much calcified, still retained their shape."

No one knows if Windeby I was killed (some scientists believe that she may have died of natural causes), but it is clear that someone wanted to keep her at the bottom of the bog: the body was kept at the bottom of the bog with birch branches and rocks.  Clearly, the people who buried Windeby I never wanted to see him again.

The head was reconstructed to determine what the person might have looked like when alive. A photo of the reconstruction is on exhibit as well.

 

 

 

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