Grauballe Man's death

Many of the investigations focused on Grauballe Man´s life and health, but forensic investigations also provided further insight into his death.

The evidence - Three injuries

Previous investigations in the 1950s had already shown that Grauballe Man had been killed by having his throat cut. His awkward position, on his belly rather than on his back, with bent arms and legs, suggest he was placed in the bog quickly afterwards, before rigor mortis set in. Three main injuries were noted at the time: his cut throat, a fractured skull and a broken leg. All these were thought to have occurred around his death.

A fractured skull

New investigation of the fractured skull, relying on the new CT scans, showed that the fracture had probably not occurred whilst Grauballe Man was alive or even around the time of his death. The flattened shape of the skull when he was found was probably the result of pressure form the thick layer of peat above his body. Besides, it seems that one of the many people who came to the bog on the night that he was found trod on his head which could also explain the injury.

A broken leg

Grauballe Man’s broken leg is not visible today as conservator Lange-Korbak patched it up very neatly. Yet the X-ray images and CT-scans allowed it to be re-examined. Unlike the skull fracture, it is possible that this injury was created around the time of Grauballe Man’s death. It seems that he was hit hard on the leg with a blunt object, which broke his shin bone.

A cut throat

Grauballe Man’s deep neck wound is the clearest injury on his body and still very visible today. Detailed investigation of the neck wound show that it was made by a sharp blade. It was one, large, deeply cut that extended from Grauballe Man’s left ear to the right. It hit the spine at the back of the neck. The injury’s location, direction and depth suggest that Grauballe Man’s head was probably bent backwards and that it was made by someone standing behind him, who cut his throat from left to right. It severed the major arteries, leading to immediate unconsciousness. A few minutes later Grauballe man died as a result of the loss of blood. Unlike the broken skull and leg, there is no mistaking this wound for an accident - Grauballe Man was clearly executed.