Grauballe Man Today

“He is ugly as sin, but we love him, as only a mother can love him, because he is one of us”. The words of philosopher Arno Victor Nielsen capture many Danes' feeling about Grauballe Man. Today, he is Moesgaard Museum’s crown jewel and undisputed major public attraction.


Grauballe Man's legacy

Thousands of people come to see Grauballe Man each year and he is well-known across Denmark. He attracts the attention of the media and he enjoys great public interest, both in scientific circles and among the wider public. He appears in numerous publications and even in popular culture. Everyone is fascinated by this Iron Age man who provides such a tantalising insight into life more than 2000 years ago.

A local hero...

This popularity originates in the 1950s, when Professor Glob immediately shared this remarkable discovery with the public. People still remember seeing him in the museum just after he had been found and the inhabitants of Aarhus were and still are very proud of him. In the 1950s they refused to loan him to Hother Hellenberg, who offered a large sum of money to take Grauballe Man on a world tour. In 2002 many people came to say goodbye to Grauballe Man before he was taken away for research and questions about his well-being came pouring in whilst he was gone.

... and international celebrity

Yet Grauballe Man’s fame reaches beyond Aarhus and even Denmark. He is known as one of the best-preserved bog bodies in the world. He is special as he is the first bog body to be fully scientifically investigated, wholly conserved and displayed to the public. It is no wonder that film crews from all over the world regularly visit him to make documentaries, watched by thousands of people. Of course, scientists are equally fascinated by this well-preserved Iron Age man, which is why we know so much amount about his life, his death and the time in which he lived. Yet how should we treat this man, who was, and still is, a person like you and I, but now also a museum object? Is it right to display him, and, if so, how should we go about this?