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Lindow Man, England
BY SINEAD DALY and ALICE KIM
Pathology tests showed that Lindowman was a man about 25 to 30 years of age, was 168 cm tall, and weighed 60- 65 kilograms.
On the 1st of August, 1984, at the Lindow Moss, one of the workmen working at the site jokingly threw a clump of peat at his workmate.
Unfortunately, it was not a piece of peat, but a human foot that was revealed when it missed the workmate and fell to the ground.
The Police were called, and it was soon established that the foot was part of an ancient bog body, and archaeologists were summoned.
The rest of the body was soon discovered and subjected to a variety of scientific tests.
Radiocarbon Dating shows that he died between 2 B.C. and AD 119.
Lindow Man was found in Lindow Moss; a peat bog in Cheshire, England.
There are several theories as to how Lindow Man had died, all of which seem to be particularly horrific:
There was a possible stab wound to the upper chest
Two or Three blows, possibly from a blunt instruments such as an axe, had fractured the skull
His Throat was found to be cut, perhaps not as a killing blow but to drain the body of blood.
No evidence that he was unwell when he died, but he was suffering from parasitic worms.
He had a vicious blow on his back- perhaps from someone's knee- which could have broken one of his ribs.
Strangulation or garroting with a thong made of animal sew
Some say he was a victim of a human sacrifice, possibly carried out by Druids.
Preservation of Lindow Man
In Britain, in areas of marshy, boggy soil, several very well preserved bodies have been found and Lindow Man is one of them.
Lindow Man's body was prevented from decaying in the special conditions of the peat bog. The airless bog environment slows the decaying
process and the acidic nature of bog-water discourages micro-organisms that help break down organic matter such as bodies.
Lindow Man's body was discovered by peatcutters. Peat is a very simple form of coal and has been used for centuries for fuel.
Lindow Man's body was damaged as his waist was cut by the peat-cutting machinery, and only the top part of his body remained.
Archaeology and Science about Lindow Man
According to C. Renfew and P Bahn's book "Arcaheology: Theories, Method and Practises", Lindow Man wore no clothing apart from an
armband of fox fur.His Brown/ginger hair and whiskers were cut, and analysis by scanning electron microscopy indicated that their ends
had a stepped surface, implying that they had probably been cut by scissors or shears. His manicured fingernails indicate that he did not do
any heavy or rough work- he was clearly not a laborer.
Bright Green fluorescence in his hair was thought to be caused by the use of copper-based pigments for body decoration, but in fact is due
Bright Green fluorescence in his hair was thought to be caused by the use of copper-based pigments for body decoration, but in fact is due to a natural reaction of hair keratin with acid in the peat.
The bog acid had removed the enamel from his teeth, but what survived seemed noraml and quite healthy- there were no visible cavities.
Pathology tests showed he was a man of 15 to 30 years of age, muscular, and at the peak of physical condition. He was 1.68 metres tall, with brown to ginger
hair and a beard that was slightly darker. An interesting feature of Lindow Man was his hands, which were manicured and well cared for.
It was obvious that Lindow Man did no physical work with his hands.
The wonders of forensic science have been able to give us a very clear picutre of Lindow Man.
However, in 1985, Richard Neave, of the University of Manchester, the well-known expert in the reconstruction of ancient faces, made a reconstruction of what Lindow Man might have looked like shortly before his death.
Neave used all the available evidence. X-rays from different angles allowed him to work out the original size and shape of his skull. He then made a life-size model of the skull. Following the shape of the skull and using a good knowledge of human anatomy the muscles and skin were reconstructed using the well-preserved details of his face and hair.
Lindow Man's head was quite large with prominent brow ridges, though his jaw is smaller than average. His nose was straight with rather flared nostrils. His ears were smallish, and had no ear lobes, There is no evidence that his face was scarred or blemished in any way. However, his forehead was highly creased in life.
The surviving hair on the head is short and the bead and moustache were well trimmed. We know his hair was originally dark brown in colour. The only educated mguesses that had to be made were the colour of his eyes and skin. Richard Neave gave him blue-grey eyes as experts felt this was likely colour. His skin is the colour of a typical north European who spent a long time outdoors.
Forensic anthropologists and other scientists can use the length of a person's leg bones (the femur and tibia) to provide an estimate of his height. Reme,ber, though, that Lindow Man's legs had not been recovered with the body. The scientists had to use another techniques which relied on the humerus (or upper arm bone). In this way, they determined that Lindow Man was about five feet seven inches tall, probably a little taller than most men in his realm.
The team of scientists noted that, judging from the outside anyways, Lindow Man was well built and clearly in his prime.
AGE AND SEX
Despite the missing lower half, it was obvious from the beard, sideburns and moustache that this was the body of a male. The age of Lindow Man(as he is now called) has been estimated at around the mid-20s.
STATE OF HEALTH
Lindow Man appears to have had very slight osteoarthritis; and computed axial tomography revealed changes in some vertebrae caused by stresses and strains.
Parasite eggs show that he had a relatively high infestation of whipworm and maw worm, but these would have caused him little inconvenience.
Overall, therefore, he wa fairly healthy. His blood group was found to be O like the majority of modern Britons.
Compueted tomography scans showed that the brain was still present, but when an endoscope was inserted to explore the interior of his skull it became clear
that no brain structure remained, only a mass of putty-like tissue. The food residues in the part of his upper alimentary tract that survived revealed that his last meal had consisted of a griddle cake.
LINDOW MAN'S LIFESTYLE
Despite showing signs of slight osteoarthritis, Lindow Man was in good health for the period he lived in. His teeth, although stripped of enamel by the acid environment of the peat were healthy with no cavaties. He was suffering from a severe case of whip worm and maw worm but this would probably have passed unnoticed.
In fact, his overall standard of living appeared to have been good, is his personal grooming was anything to go by. Electron microscopy revealed that his hair follicles were stepped; leading archaeologists to conclude that his hair was trimmed not long before his death with scissors or shears. These were not common items at the time and this detail coupled with his well manicured nails and smooth hands led to speculation that Lindow Man had been a high ranking member or society. Nothing else could be found to indicate high rank as the body was naked except for a fux fur armband. However, the skin was found to have a high copper content, suggesting that Lindow Man's body had been painted prior to death.
LINDOW MAN- MURDER VICTIM, CRIMINAL OR SACRIFICE???
The top of Lindow Man's head
The complex method of killing Lindow Man makes a straightforward murder unlikely. Some have argued that his death may have been an execution, with simple last meal being appropriate to a criminal. However, the discovery of mistletoe, a sacred plant in the stomach contents, taken with the body's pampered appearance and the three fold nature of his death has led to the theory that Lindow Man was in fact a sacrificial victim.
Mistletoe is a narcotic with calming effects and so possibly could have been used to sedate him before the ritual began. The blow to the head, followed by garroting and finally bleeding suggest a ceremonial 'Triple Death'. Lindow Man's body is possibly contemporary with the Claudian Roman invasion of Britain. Was he an important member of the tribe who was chosen to die as a sacrifice to protect his people from the invaders? The burnt griddle cake found in his stomach is consistent with a tradition whereby sacrificial victims wee chosed by randomly selecting the burnt portion of a cake or bannock. On the other had, Lindow Man may have volunteered to die.
His death could also have been part of seasonal ceremonies to ensure a good harvest or a sfe winter. Lindow Man's smooth hands and manicured finger nails may not indicate high rank but a period of inactivity from his selection as sacrifice until his ritual death.
HOW LINDOW MAN'S DEATH RELATES TO THE SACRIFICE OF IRON AGE BRITAIN
Many Iron Age artefacts were sacrifices, that is gifts to the gods, ancestors or spirits. An offering was made by either burying the sacrifice in the ground or placing it in water. These conditions have preserved many objects for 2000 years.
It was important that the right type of gift was sacrificed in the right way and in the right place. Water appears to have been important to make offerings, particularly weapons and cauldrons. Many Iron Age objects in The British Museum were found in rivers, lakes or bogs, although some were probably lost accidentally and others may come from settlements on the banks of rivers of lakes. But many were deliberately placed in the water, a tradition started in the Bronze Age, if not before, and carried on in the Iron Age. Perhaps water was an important doorway to the supernatural.
The countryside, away from farms and villages, was the right place to sacrifice torcs and horse gear such as terrets and horse bits. Other offerings were made in an around the farms and villages in which people lives. These offerings were broken pots, tools used on the farm and in the house, and of food such as meat.
It is probable that humans were also sacrificed in Iron Age Britain. These human offerings may not have been very common, but there are some examples of human remains from around farms and villages that might come from sacrifice. The bog body, Lindow Man, was almost a victim of human sacrifice.
“The archaeological interpretation of Lindow Man has been that he suffered a ‘Triple Death’; that
he was hit on the head, strangled, and had his throat cut. Having his throat cut was in its own way
a way of honouring a particular Celtic God. It almost seems as though the greater violence they are
subjected to the greater the religious force of the sacrifice, the more power, the greater the
evocation of the gods.”
Bryan Sitch, Head of Humanities, The Manchester Museum
The Iron Age is the period of European history that dates around 800 BC to the Roman Conquest when iron was first used instead of bronze to make tools and weapons. In parts of Europe, the Romans never conquered, the term Iron Age is used to cover the time period up to the medival period.
Iron Age people are sometimes referred to as Celts, but other groups are also known from Europe at this time such as Germans and Iberians. The people of Iron Age Europe were farmers. Wheat, barley and beans were harvested in small fields and people reared animals such as cattle, sheep and pigs. Other important resources include wood for fuel and building houses, and salt for preserving meat. The majority of people lived on farms or in small villages. Occasionally, Iron Age people lived in larger settlements, such as hillforts and Oppida.
Some Iron Age people made highly decorated metal objects, which we call Early Celtic or La Tène art. The objects were often very skillfully made and the techniques used to make them were technologically advanced.
LINDOW MAN PUZZLE
'Lindow Man: The Body in the Bog' by John B. Bourke and Don Brothwell
'Lindow Man (People in Focus)' by Jody Joy
'Life and Death of a Druid Prince' by Anne Ross and Don Robins
"Unlocking the Past" by Jennifer Lawless, Kate Cameron and Carmel Young, 1996 (Thomas Nelson) Australia
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