The Bog

After he had been placed in his watery grave, people must have known that Grauballe Man was there. They left him in peace and over time he was forgotten. Yet more than 2000 years later he reappeared in an almost pristine state. How is this possible?

A handshake from the past 

For more than 2000 years Grauballe Man lay in his watery grave, until, one day in 1952, peat cutter Tage disturbed his rest by sticking his spade in Grauballe Man’s shoulder. Thus, Tage came face to face with an Iron Age man. Despite having been dead for more than two centuries, this man still had hair, skin, flesh and recognisable features. His hands, with the patterns on his palms and fingertips were, in Professor Glob’s words, a ‘handshake from the past’.

Yet how is it possible that this man, who lived around 390 BC, was so exceptionally well-preserved?  What is the secret of the bogs in which he and other bog bodies, as well as numerous other organic finds dating to the prehistoric period, were found? Click the headings below to find out more about bogs and their almost magical ability to preserve  not only bog bodies and finds, but also the plant remains which allow us to reconstruct the natural landscape as far back as the last Ice Age.