Discovery and display

Many bog bodies were reburied or destroyed after their discovery, but Professor Glob, who was called to the scene shortly after Grauballe Man’s discovery, was very aware of the potential of the find.

A macabre sight?

Professor Glob immediately acted to ensure the body was carefully dug out so it might be examined and was adamant that this one should be preserved for posterity. He was also very keen to display the Iron Age man in the museum at Aarhus. At the time, this was considered unethical or even offensive. The director of the National Museum in Copenhagen for instance, had refused to conserve and display Tollund Man, another bog body discovered a few years earlier. A like-minded curator stated that “It is, you know, a pretty macabre sight.”


Macabre or not, the news about Grauballe Man’s discovery spread very fast and many people queued up to see him when he was temporarily displayed at the Prehistoric Museum in Aarhus. Just like today, people were “gripped with wonderment and veneration for this unusual glimpse from a distant past” as one newspaper reporter wrote. As there was an enormous interest in Grauballe Man, the exhibition, scheduled to last for three days only, was extended. Grauballe Man’s conservator, G. Lange-Korbak, was not happy about this, because the number of visitors raised the temperature and Grauballe Man was starting to decay. On day seven Lange-Korbak noticed mould on his skin and “creepy-crawlies” running around the body.

Luckily, the last day of the exhibition came and after c. 18.000 people had seen Grauballe Man, it was time for a team of scientists to come in and examine him in depth. Click here to find out more about the intensive programme of investigations which revealed the first details about Grauballe Man’s life and death.