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Possible explanation of the Bog Body Decay Mystery

Poster: "Terry L. Neill" <Neilltl@ptsc.slg.eds.com>

This was posted to the IMBAS List for Celtic Pagans and forwarded to me by a
member of the Viking Living History group I belong to.

Thought it might interest many of you.

        - Anarra

>        Bog bodies, dating from ancient times to the present, have been
>found throughout Northern Europe. They include murders, burials, and
>sacrifices. The particular chemistry of the bogs - including low-oxygen and
>antiseptic properties - has allowed these ancient bodies to survive in
>amazing states of preservation. They have been a treasure trove to
>archaeologists, but no one really knew why some of the bodies were in a
>near-perfect state of preservation, while others were badly decayed.
>        National Public Radio recently had a short blurb on some Irish
>girls who solved the mystery. These two 16 year-olds became interested in
>forensics when they saw Lindow Man, a likely Druidic sacrificial victim.
>They wondered about the question of decay and decided to perform
>        They selected around a half-dozen bog sites that had a chemistry
>that matched the requirements for preservation and then buried stillborn
>pigs that were donated by farmers. They dug up the pigs six months later
>and began examining them. Again, some were well preserved and some quite
>decayed. Given the similar chemistries of the bogs, they did some more
>experiments to find out why.
>        It turns out that the state of bog preservation is directly
>proportional to the length of time between death and deposition; i.e. if
>the body was dumped right after death, it was preserved, the greater the
>decay time allowed, even though the body looked fine, the greater the
>resulting decay.
>        The FBI and archaeological organizations have shown a great deal of
>interest in their work. It certainly has the potential to help pin down
>alleged sacrifices. The girls published a paper (sorry, I don't know where)
>and have received a scientific award from Aer Lingus for their outstanding
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