Blanket Bog


Tollund Man

Bog Bodies from Scotland and Beyond

This illustrated talk will set ‘Arnish Man’ – the remains of an early 18th century murder victim found on Arnish Moor, Isle of Lewis, in 1964 – against the wider background of discoveries of human remains from bogs in north-western Europe in general and Scotland in particular.

Over the course of several centuries, human remains have been unearthed in the course of peat-cutting, especially in Denmark, the Netherlands, northern Germany, Ireland and Britain.  They range from skeletons or body parts to more or less complete bodies.  And, as well-known discoveries like ‘Tollund Man’ or ‘Lindow Man’ have shown, well-preserved prehistoric ‘bog bodies’ can grip the imagination of the public.  The human remains range widely in date too, with examples known from prehistoric times until recent centuries.  Interpretations of the circumstances which lay behind their burial in peat bogs also vary greatly, with explanations ranging from ritual killing for some prehistoric burials to foul play as in the case of the discovery at Arnish.

Not for the squeamish.

Arnish Moor Costume

Arnish Moor Costume

Trevor Cowie is from the Scottish History and Archaeology Department, National Museums Scotland

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