Thursday, September 21, 2023

Researchers Discover an Ancient Skeleton as Part of a Ritual

  • Denmark discovered a partial skeleton that was thought to be 5,000 year old. 
  • The skeleton could be one of many “bog bodies” that are found throughout Northern Europe. 
  • Evidence also suggests that the “bog bodies” could have been part of a ritual.

An ancient and well-preserved skeleton  — potentially a remnant of a ritual sacrifice practiced over 5,000 years ago — was discovered by archeologists in Denmark. 

ROMU researchers, an organization representing 10 museums in Denmark, had been excavating at the site of a planned housing project in the Egedal Municipality near Copenhagen. 

Christian Dedenroth -Schou, one the team members, noticed a femur sticking up from the mud while conducting their survey. Dedenroth–Schou and his team were able to locate almost all of the bones from both legs, the pelvis, and the jaw after digging deeper into the dirt. 

Researchers identified it as a “bog body”, which refers to the many male bodies found in European bogs. The bodies often remain well-intact, despite being thousands of years old,It is because of the oxygen-deficient, acidic environment of bogs that makes it difficult for bacteria survive. This is how sphagnum-moss is transformed into peat.

The Tollund Man is also one of the most famous bogs. found in Denmark.

A jaw bone and femur bone in the bog



ROMU states that the skeleton of the bog man is incomplete. There are also no “direct traces” of sacrifice. Archeologists believe however, that the bog person wasn’t just the victim to a thoughtless murder but was actually part of a planned ritual ceremony. 

According to the, it is believed that bogs played an important role in the history of Northern Europe. They were believed to have been “the gateway between mankind and the worlds of the gods.” National Museum of Denmark. 

The bog 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


Near the Egedal skeleton, researchers found a Stone Age-era flint saw ax, fragments of animal bones and ceramics. This led researchers to conclude that the items may have been left as part a ritual. 

Emil Winther Struve is the ROMU lead archaeologist. LiveScienceThe ax was never used, supporting the theory that it was an offering and not a murder weapon.

“The find fits in with a tradition of ritually burying objects, people, or animals in the bog. Struve stated in a press release that this has been a common practice since ancient times. “Previous findings show that this area has been the scene of ritual activity.” 

Much about the skeleton — including the sex, where the person lived, and when the person died — remains unknown. Emil Struve was the excavation leader. LiveScienceThe body could have been from the Neolithic as there were “traditions involving human sacrifices dating back that far.”

The site was now drained. The archaeologists hope to use DNA technology to dig deeper to find the bones once the ground thaws in spring. 

“You should think about whether this person would be happy to find you, or if they would rather rest in peace,” Dedenroth–Schou said in a Danish press release. We don’t know much about their religion. Maybe we are disrupting their idea of the afterlife. However, it is our responsibility to ensure that the remains of a person do not end up in a pile of dirt with an excavator.

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