A mysterious set of bones has been found in a bog in Europe, and it may indicate an ancient ritual | Popgen Tech


  • A partial skeleton believed to be 5,000 years old has been discovered in Denmark.

  • The skeleton may be part of a collection of “bog bodies” found all over northern Europe.

  • Evidence also suggests that the “swamp body” may have been there as part of a ritual.

An ancient and well-preserved skeleton – possibly a remnant of a ritual sacrifice practiced more than 5,000 years ago – has been discovered by archaeologists in Denmark.

Researchers at ROMU, an organization representing 10 museums in Denmark, excavated at the site of a planned housing development in Egedal municipality, near Copenhagen.

Christian Dedenroth-Schou, one of the team members, came across a femur sticking out of the mud during their survey. After digging further into the soil, Dedenroth-Schou and his colleagues were able to find almost all the bones of both legs, a pelvis and a jaw.

Researchers understood it to be a “bog body”, referring to the dozens of usually male bodies found in bogs in Europe. The bodies often remain well intact, despite being thousands of years old, due to the oxygen-deficient and acidic environments of swamps that make it difficult for bacteria to survive. This process is also how peat is formed from sphagnum moss.

One of the most famous bog bodies, the Tollund Man, was also found in Denmark.

A jaw bone and femur bone in the bog

Courtesy of ROMU

The skeleton is not complete, and there are “no direct traces of sacrifice,” according to ROMU, but archaeologists believe that the bog person was not simply the victim of a mindless murder, but rather a planned ritual ceremony.

It is understood that bogs played a significant role for the ancient people of Northern Europe for the resources they provided and were believed to be “the gateway between the world of mankind and the world of the gods”. , according to the National Museum of Denmark.

The swamp men unearthed could have been offerings to the gods between 4,300 BC and 600 BC – or between the Neolithic and Iron Ages.

A jaw bone and femur bone in the bog

Courtesy of ROMU

A Stone Age flint axe, remains of animal bones and ceramics were found near the site of the skeleton found in Egedal, leading researchers to conclude that the items may have been left as part of a ritual.

ROMU chief archaeologist Emil Winther Struve told LiveScience that the ax had never been used, lending credence to the theory that the ax was used as a sacrifice, rather than a murder weapon.

“The find fits into a proven tradition of ritually burying both objects, people and animals in the bog. This was done widely throughout ancient times, and it is most likely a victim of such a ritual,” Struve said in a press release said. “Previous findings show that this is an area where ritual activity took place.”

Much about the skeleton—including the gender, where the person lived and when the person died—remains unknown. Emil Struve, the excavation leader, told LiveScience that there is evidence that the body was from the Neolithic because “traditions of human sacrifice date back so far.”

The site has now been drained and the archaeologists hope to use DNA technology and conduct a more thorough excavation to find the rest of the bones when the ground thaws in the spring.

“You think about whether that person would be happy to be found, or whether they would rather have rested in peace,” Dedenroth-Schou said in a press release, translated from Danish. “After all, we don’t know much about their religion. Maybe we disrupt an idea of ​​the afterlife. But at the same time, we have an important task to ensure that the remains of a person are not just dug up with a shovel and end up in a great heap of earth.”

Read the original article on Business Insider


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