Week 4

Both the bog bodies and the Ice Man are facinating opportunities for archaeologists to learn about how humans died thousands of years ago. It is amazing to see how well these bodies have been preserved. The theory that the bog bodies were killed by human sacrifice may seem bizare today, but was something common during the time of the Roman Empire. After visiting the Colusseum in Rome, I realized that life was cruel and not protected in the same way as it is today. Death was a spectators’ event like going to a football game on campus. However, human sacrifice to appease gods may not be the only explanation. Research has discovered the Windeby Girl may have been a man and may have died of natural causes due to growth interuptions in his bones. One of the reasons the body was blindfolded before being placed in the bog was to “protect the living from the gaze of the dead” (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0709/feature3/text2.html).


Most archaeologists believe the Ice Man was murdered, but how exactly may never be fully explained. I believe that Theory 6 from the lecture is the best explanation for how he died, even though the order of events will never be known with certainty. He may have been a high-status member in his community since researchers have determined bread and goat meat were his last meal (http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/10/the-leader-of-the-plaque-iceman-otzi-had-bad-teeth/). Even though it fulfills one of the facts supporting theory 4, it doesn’t increase its credibility because other cases of human sacrifices during this time period have not been found. One interesting fact about the Ice Man is his teeth. A new 3D scan of the Ice Man’s moth shows he suffered from cavities, plaque build-up, and gum disease (http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/10/the-leader-of-the-plaque-iceman-otzi-had-bad-teeth/). Although this may not have been attributed to his death, it does show the inadaquate health care people suffered from back then and living to 45 was quite a remarkable feat 5,000 years ago, even though he could have lived longer.





Briggis Amy  (2012). ‘The Leader of the Plaque: Iceman Otzi had bad teeth’, National


            Geographic, 24 July 2013







Lange, Karen E. (2007). ‘Tales from the Bog: Using CT scans and radiocarbon dating,


investigators hope to make sense of the bodies preserved in Europe’s wetlands’


National Geographic, 24 July 2013