Full Title: Bog Bodies Uncovered: Solving Europe’s Ancient Mystery
Author: Miranda Aldhouse-Green
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Pages: 223 including appendices, index, notes, bibliography, and coloured plates as well as black and white ones.
Synopsis: Some 2,000 years ago, certain unfortunate individuals were violently killed and buried not in graves but in bogs. What was a tragedy for the victims has proved an archaeologist’s dream, for the peculiar and acidic properties of the bog have preserved the bodies so that their skin, hair, soft tissue, and internal organs―even their brains―survive. Most of these ancient swamp victims have been discovered in regions with large areas of raised bog: Ireland, northwest England, Denmark, the Netherlands, and northern Germany. They were almost certainly murder victims and, as such, their bodies and their burial places can be treated as crime scenes. The cases are cold, but this book explores the extraordinary information they reveal about our prehistoric past.
Bog Bodies Uncovered updates Professor P. V. Glob’s seminal publication The Bog People, published in 1969, in the light of vastly improved scientific techniques and newly found bodies. Approached in a radically different style akin to a criminal investigation, here the bog victims appear, uncannily well-preserved, in full-page images that let the reader get up close and personal with the ancient past. 78 illustrations, 15 in color.
There was a program I used to watch on the History Channel where a team of archaeologists, doctors and scientists would look at mummies and try to find out who they were, how they have lived when they were alive and how they may have died. This is exactly what Miranda Ald-house did in this book.
The author looks at how the bog bodies were found and where, the circumstances of their preservation (i.e. the bog where they were found), who they may have been and their lives before they died as well as how they died. In the final chapter of the book the author tries to tie in these bodies with the human sacrifice aspect.
I think this is a great book to read because it has some interesting explanations on why the bogs preserved the bodies, and how some of these bodies lived and how they died. It looks at the question of human sacrifice in a logical way and comes to great conclusions. Plus it is not very technical, or boring. The book is set up like a detective story where the cases are cold.