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Drents Museum highlights
Emmer- Erfscheidenveen Man
Weerdinge Men
Yde Girl
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Drents Museum in Assen, the Netherlands: The Weerdinge Men

 

Double bog body finds are quite rare, so the Weerdinge Men are special--in even more ways than that.

Found in the Bourtangermoor in 1904 by peatcutter Hilbrand Gringhuis, the bodies were long thought to be those of a man and woman. They were called the Weerdinge couple, and they were even given names: Darby (for the man) and Joan.

The body on the left was long thought to be that of a woman, because "she" appeared to be comforted by the man on the rightBut another look at the poorly-preserved bodies (important identifying features are missing from both--including heads and genitalia) almost 100 years later revealed that they were both men.

What scientists have found particularly interesting about the man on the right (arm crossed over the abdomen) is the material on his chest: his intestines have emerged from a stab wound to his chest. The intestines a prisoner of war and that he was sacrificed so that his entrails could be read to divine the future. It's hard to understand what type of future could be read from this technique, but it was part of the culture of some early peoples of Europe, according to Roman historians.

Scientists have wondered about their relationship. Were they soldiers? Were they brothers or father and son? You might think that DNA analysis would reveal all. But the chemicals found in the bog destroy all traces of DNA in bog bodies and make it impossible to determine any genetic relationship between the two men.

The head and hair of one body 

 

 

 

 

 

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1988-2012 James M. Deem 
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