Inside the body

Grauballe Man’s insides were investigated through a range of techniques, including traditional radiography and computer tomography (CT-scanning). These clearly showed various well-preserved parts inside Grauballe Man’s body, but also the extent of restoration by Lange-Korbak.

Strong bones

The new investigations on Grauballe Man began with a trip to the University Hospital, where he was X-rayed again. The new images were compared with the old ones made in 1952. As his bones had been decalcified in the acid bog environment, it was hard to distinguish between bones and the surrounding tissues. However, the skeleton was well-preserved and the bones were still in a relatively good condition. There were no visible signs of any bone diseases, but the images did show the many fillers and synthetic sponges that had been used by conservator Lange-Korbak in the 1950s. These unfortunately obscured any fractures or dislocations.

The missing vertebrae mystery

he X-ray images also showed that four vertebrae in Grauballe Man’s lower back were missing, as well as two toes, which had been expertly remodeled in wax by Lange-Korbak. The missing vertebrae were a bit of a mystery, as there was no trace of them anywhere, nor any notes describing where they might have gone. Eventually, however, they were found. They had been taken in the 1950s by an American professor who had wanted to determine Grauballe Man’s blood group. Although he never did, one of his former students remembered the jam jar with Grauballe Man’s vertebrae on his Professor’s shelf and the vertebrae were duly returned to their owner.

CT-scanning and soft tissues

Besides traditional radiographic images, a computer tomography, or CT-scan, was made of Grauballe Man’s body. This provides clear images of all tissues in a body, including skin, muscles, sinews and bones, which can be isolated, virtually reconstructed and examined from all sides. It revealed how well-preserved the various parts of Grauballe Man’s anatomy were. His brain was clearly visible, as were the fractures to his skull and leg. It now seemed that the skull fracture had happened after death. The leg wound may have been inflicted around Grauballe Man’s death. Although his intestines had been removed, remains of Grauballe Man’s windpipe and bronchi were still visible and the muscles, tendons and skin of his well-preserved hands and feet clearly resemble those of us, demonstrating the bog’s preservative qualities. Unfortunately, the filler materials used during conservation in the 50ies hindered observations everywhere.