European folklore has featured many stories surrounding bogs. But the real life stories are even more surprising. And with their conditions being able to preserve artifacts for many thousands of years, modern science can finally reveal these stories. From mysterious wooden containers, to ancient lost treasure: here are 10 mysterious things found in bogs.
Old Croghan Man
One of the more common things found in bogs are bog bodies. It turns out the acids inside bogs can even preserve human tissue. Discovered in 2003, Old Croghan Man was named after the bog that preserved his body. Examination of the body found that he died between 362 and 175 BC. He was in his early 20s and over 6 foot tall, which is unbelievably tall for someone born 2000 years ago. The location of his burial, which eventually became a bog, was reserved for royalty. For this reason he is thought to have been a king. But his people betrayed and sacrificed him. He was beheaded and his body was literally cut in half. A stab wound was also found on his chest. Many speculate his people killed him as an offering to the gods in the hope of being blessed with a good harvest. This speculation is supported by the bodies mutilated nipples. This was a time when rejected kings would usually have their nipples cut to mark them as an unfit leader. He seems to have been a person of high status as his body shows no signs of hard labor. He was on a good diet for at least 4 months before death, so he could well have been a king. Old Croghan man is one of the best preserved things found in bogs in the last 100 years.
For many centuries, mysterious ancient wooden barrels have been discovered in bogs. The mystery here was identifying what was contained within these containers. It’s a thick, waxy substance that was originally thought to be several-hundred-year-old butter. For the longest time, no one knew what these things found in bogs were. But in 2003, it was found that only some examples of bog butter… was actual butter. Most of it was meat-based. Most bog butter is found in the British isles and is thought that the barrels were thrown into bogs to prevent the butter from going bad. It would be easy to forget where you dumped a barrel in the marshlands of Europe. Maybe that’s why we see so many of the things found in bogs. The oldest known bog butter was dated at about 5 thousand years.
On the 24th of January, 1894, an ancient wooden structure was discovered in a Russian bog. Now known as the Shigir Idol, it was crafted 11 thousand years ago. That makes it twice as old as the pyramids, and one of the most rare things found in bogs! 2.8 meters of the Idol was recovered from the bog but it’s original height was estimated to be over 5 metres. It’s the oldest wooden structure ever discovered but that’s not what makes it incredible. Carved into the idol is a coded message from the past. It is covered in mysterious encrypted patterns that are thought to demonstrate ancient mythology. Some researchers think it tells of how Earth was created, while others think it tells of parallel universes connected to our own. It’s believed that humans of this period would often carve idols as a way of spreading all kinds of information. So realistically the message could mean anything.
For three thousand years, 2 bronze age houses lay hidden in an English bog. But in 2006 it was rediscovered by shocked archaeologists. The site is known as Peterborough Pompeii, and was abandoned three thousand years ago when the houses caught fire. Because they abandoned the buildings so fast, the houses still contain spears, daggers, clothing, and food that had not finished cooking. Things found in bogs at Peterborough Pompeii also include half-buried animal bones and human remains. It’s the first time we can actually look into a home from the bronze age. Archaeologists are trying to find out whether the fire was accidental or deliberate, with some suggesting it was started to cover up a murder.
Faddan More Psalter
In July 2006, a strange object wrapped in leather was discovered in an Irish bog. It turned out to be an early medieval book of Christian psalms. Written around 800 AD, it’s considered Ireland’s greatest discovery since the Victorian era – especially among things found in bogs. Following it’s discovery, the media reported that the book was first opened on psalm 83, which tells of a plan to destroy Israel. As the book was discovered in the same month that Lebanon went to war with Israel, many believed it was some kind of prophecy. But apparently the book wasn’t even opened at psalm 83 so the media sources were just mistaken. The book is unique. Nothing quite like it has ever been found because of it’s mysterious cover. The cover isn’t attached to it’s pages – which is unusual for a medieval book. And the cover is lined with papyrus. Papyrus was produced in Egypt and as far as history is concerned, it shouldn’t be in a medieval Irish book.
Sometimes things found in bogs can be of scientific importance. Animal fossils are often found in bogs all around the world. Among the most interesting of these is the Irish Elk. The Irish Elk is an extinct species of giant deer. It’s name is misleading as it wasn’t an Elk – and it wasn’t exclusive to Ireland. It gained it’s name as most early examples were discovered in Irish bogs in the 17th century and scientists had no idea what it was.
In 1828, a fossilised skull was examined after being recovered from a peat bog. It was determined to be the skull of an ox. This find may seem insignificant but it sparked a trend of exploring bogs in the hope of discovering new species that died out long ago. Amateur archaeologists soon started finding mammoth bones and sometimes even dinosaur eggs.
This may sound off but many bogs contain the secrets of ancient murder mysteries. An example is Lindow man. Lindow man was discovered in a bog on the first of August, 1984. He died between 2BC and 120AD when he was strangled, beaten, and had his throat cut. But we have no idea why.
Another example is Bocksten man. He was discovered in a Swedish bog in 1936, and was originally thought to be a recently escaped convict – but was later found to be a medieval murder victim. He was killed by 3 strikes to the head and then thrown into a nearby lake. Over time the lake turned into a bog and his story lives on. Since his discovery, local Swedes have been desperate to identify Bocksten man because of a dark legend. According to legend, an official was once recruiting soldiers when he was murdered by peasants who didn’t want to fight in a war. His body was thrown into a bog and his ghost has haunted surrounding villages ever since.
An Ancient Forest
A few years ago, a strange wooden object was pulled from an Irish bog. The object was dated at 4700 years old and later identified as a canoe used for fishing. But the bog it was found in is a lot more interesting. Inside it was soon discovered the remains of an ancient forest. An ancient submerged forest may still seem quite dull, but they also discovered a bronze age track-way. It’s purpose is unclear. It could be strong evidence that people used to live in the forest. Or it could just have been built for transport through an uninhabited area. It’s at least 3 thousand years old but not much else is known. I think it was just for transport as not much else has been found. Although, they did find a red deer skull.
An Entire Coffin
In 1921, Danish archaeologists discovered a 3 thousand 4 hundred year old oak coffin in a bog. Inside the coffin they found the remains of a teenage girl from the bronze age. It would only be in the next century when science could tell us anything about the girls life. University of Copenhagen researchers say she was born in the black forest, which is in southern-Germany. She was born into a powerful family – but eventually sent away to marry into a Danish tribe. She died almost immediately after arriving in Denmark and her burial mound just so happened to be preserved as a bog. Inside her coffin she was buried next to a cremated child for some reason.
Now all the number up until now have been pretty mysterious, but in my opinion they’re basically worthless. Number one is something valuable. In 2009, a strange piece of metal was pulled from a bog. It was dated at 3 thousand years old and found to be 87 percent gold. It’s not very mysterious but it is shiny. Some things found in bogs are a lot more desirable than others.
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