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Grauballe Man
A body of the Bog.
How a body shocked the world

Discover the Secrets of the Bog

Issue 1
History Mysteries Magazine - 1

The Grauballe Man is a remarkably preserved bog body found near

Grauballe, Denmark in April 1952. The
body is of a man that had been living
in the late 3rd century BC during the
Iron Age. He was discovered shortly
after the discovery of Tollund Man,
another preserved bog body. He was
discovered by men cutting peat for
fuel about three feet below the surface of the ground. He is described to
be one of the most spectacular finding in Denmarks History because of
how well preserved he was inside the
bog for all those years.

Grauballe Man was a strapping 34

year old who had learnt his fate a
few days before his death. Stubble
around his jaw indicated that he had
stopped shaving prior to his death.
Grauballe Man had a wound on his
neck from one ear to the other ear.
Archaeologists were alarmed because
this sought of wound could not have
been inflicted by him.

A similar style of execution was also

shown with the Lindow Man, another preserved bog body. Lindow Man
had been hit on the crown of his head
with a blunt object. He had also been
struck on the base of his skull. After
that he had his throat slit then had
his neck wrapped with a rope. He was
then placed into the bog as the final
stage of the execution.

Why did Lindow Man suffer such a

fatal death? During the Iron Age, the
Celts worshipped many gods but executions were devoted to Taranis, Celtic God of Thunder, Esus, Celtic God of
the Underworld and Teutates, Celtic
God of the Tribes. Each of these Gods
had their own way of executions and
Lindow Man had suffered a way from
each God. Taranis way involved being
burnt alive in a giant wicker cage or
killed with a weapon, Lindow Man had
is head smashed. Esus way involved
being hanged from a sacred tree or
stabbed to death or both, Lindow
Man had his throat slit and had a rope
tied around his throat. Finally Teutates way involved being drowned
in sacred wells or pools among very
sacred Celtic Holy Sites, Lindow Man
was placed into the bog to drown.

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Top: Grauballe Man

Left: Esus, Teutates and
Right: Lindow Man

Lindow Man was found with an armband made from fox fur. Like Lindow
Man, Old Croghan Man was found
with an armband encircling one bicep
and it was made up of braided leather with a bronze amulet incised with
Celtic designs. This raises the idea that
armbands could have been a symbol
in the Celtic Religion at the time.

Botanists found evidence of pollen

from a mistletoe plant in the stomach
of Lindow Man which could mean
that his death was most likely to be in
March or April. Beltain, which is held
on May 1, a victim was selected for
sacrifice to make sure that the summers crops would be successful. The
person who chose the burnt piece of
bannock (oatmeal cake) became the
sacrificial victim. Lindow Mans stomach had been well preserved and
had traces of charcoal and different
seeds, but how does this relate to the
Grauballe Man.

Unlike Lindow Man and Old Croghan

Man, no items were found with
Grauballe Mans body. He was sacrificed to the Celtic Goddess of Fertility
to for good harvest for the summer,
like Beltain. His hands showed no
signs of manual labour. Scientists have
discovered that Grauballe Mans last
meal consisted of a porridge or gruel
made from corn, seeds from over 60
different herbs and grasses with traces of the poisonous fungi ergot. Fungi
Ergot is a fungus that grows on rye
and other related plants and it acts
as a hallucinogen and causes you to
lose your mind. It was either slipped
into his meal or one of the herbs had
traces of it and caused him to hallucinate before his execution. Grauballe
Man had a broken leg which could
have been a result of the execution to
make him bow. I believe that because
of the ergot, he was hallucinating and
not keeping still for the execution. So
they could have broken his leg to stop
him from moving.

Modern day science played a major

role in the discovery of Grauballe Man.
The Archaeologists helped the world
discover what had happened to the
body, and discovered the deep cut in
the throat of Grauballe Man. They also
helped me with identifying the lack of
manual labour on his hands and gave

History Mysteries Magazine - 3

the conclusion that he wasnt a farmer

or a manual labourer.

The black fungus

piece of wheat
is the fungus

The Botanists helped me identify the

contents of the stomach and helped
me identify every seed in his body especially the ergot. He also gave me a
deeper understanding of ergot, where
it is grown and how it can affect your
body. He told me that his death was
most likely in winter because there
was a lack of fresh herbs and berries.

My Radologists examined his body

and discovered fractures to the skull
and right tibia. It was believed to
have been caused by a weapon, but
when the body was reexamined
and he found out the fractures were
because of the pressure in the bog.
An inspection of his spine displayed
calcium deficiency, and also an early
development of spondylosis defor-

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mans. X-rays of the head were taken

and were used to sculpt the head
from clay. CT scanning and Computer Generated imagery was also used
to help modify the facial reconstruction. Three-dimensional images of the
bodys bones and muscles and tendons have been reconstructed on my
computer and it gives me a good view
on his body before he died.

The Wound on
his neck that
could not have

Grauballe Man is a greatly preserved

bog body and everyday new information is found about Grauballe Man
that no one has discovered. This is
what I think happened in Grauballe
Mans life, but who knows what could
be found to change my story? When
will the final truth about Grauballe
Man finally be discovered?

Written By Sarkis Ghattas

History Mysteries Magazine - 5

For more information about Grauballe Man

or bog bodies,
Contact you local History teacher
Look online for more information

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