Last meal of 2400-year-old ‘bog body’ suggests man was ritually sacrificed

Scientists have examined the gut contents of Tolund Man, a well-preserved “swamp body” from the early Iron Age in Denmark, and found that his last meal indicates that he was ritually sacrificed 2,400 years ago. I went.

The swampy bodies are human remains mummified by acidic peat bogs that left behind preserved skin, hair, nails and sometimes even internal organs such as intestines, according to scientists, including those from the Danish National Museum.

The latest discovery was made using new techniques to analyze plant macrofossils, proteins and pollen.

While some of these are bodies that were accidentally dumped in peat bogs, scientists said other such remains found in the past indicate that people were deliberately buried in the marshes as punishment or through ritual human sacrifice. was kept as.

These well-preserved bodies may provide new evidence and unique insights into aspects of daily life in prehistory, shedding light on the appearance of individuals, their food and clothing choices, and diseases prevalent at the time.

Toland Man, one such “swamp body” found in 1950 at Bjeldskovdal, Denmark, had been reported in earlier studies as a 30- to 40-year-old man who lived between about 405 and 380 BC, Danish beginning of the Early Iron Age.

Previous research had established that he was hung and later placed in a peat-biting pit in a sleeping position.

In the present study, published in the journal ancient timeUsing new techniques, scientists re-examined the contents of his intestine and found that he had eaten oatmeal and “probably some fish” cooked in a clay pot for about 12-24 hours before he died.

Researchers including Nina H Nielsen from the Silkeborg Museum in Denmark specifically assessed the contents of the gut to see whether the Tolund Man had consumed any substance indicating pain relief at his last meal, such as hallucinations or narcotics that might suggest he was part of one. function.

Researchers from earlier studies of other marsh bodies suggested that the plant component of the common Iron Age diet consisted mainly of cereals, and if such human remains contained abundant seeds from wild plants, it may have indicated that these It was eaten on special occasions.

The latest research found that the seeds of wild plants in the porridge eaten by the Toland Man contained the pleasure of sleeping and mild persicaria.

Based on the analysis, scientists said that the porridge was dominated by barley, pale persicaria and flax.

“The higher proportion of wild cereal grains in many marsh bodies compared to burned grain reserves may indicate that wild seeds were a component used for special occasions, including human sacrifice,” the scientists wrote in the study.

“Although the food may reflect typical Iron Age fare, the inclusion of threshing waste could possibly be related to ritual practices,” he said.

Scientists believe that further study of marshy bodies with more modern techniques may provide new insights about old questions and better understand life and death during the early Iron Age. .


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