Week 4

When examining the circumstances of death of the bog bodies and that of the Iceman, it is often assumed that both cases were murder. For me, the difference between the two cases is situation. Based on the evidence gathered about the bog bodies, I would consider murder for the sake of ritual human sacrifice. The amount of bodies found and their similar cause of death provides reliable evidence for this theory. If we follow the assumption of human sacrifice, then these people had some form of religion which they lived by. Perhaps times were hard which necessitated human sacrifice to appease the gods. Another possible circumstance that I immediately jumped to was the bog bodies being prisoners of war. As a reference, I used the Mayans’ practice of sacrificing prisoners of war to appease their gods. The tribe of the bog bodies may have been overtaken by a rival tribe. The only questionable evidence to this theory is the peacefulness of the bodies after they died. It is difficult to believe that a rival tribe would treat the dead of their enemy with such care.

The continued research of the bog bodies  have dug up further evidence that these people were not carelessly murdered. Research furthers supports the theory of human sacrifice due to the evidence of “controlled violence” (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0709/feature3/text4.html). Scientists believe that many fracture and broken bones were caused centuries after the death of the bodies (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0709/feature3/text4.html). The damage can be linked to amateur archaeologists, pressure from walking above the body, and even nature itself. From the article, it is believed that many of the sacrifices were to the goddess of fertility and often times the kings or leaders were held responsible for failures (http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0709/feature3/text4.html). This is consistent with the bog bodies showing evidence of being well fed through out their lives.

In reference to Otzi, it would seem that murder is the most plausible explanation for his death. It is difficult for me to accept the theory  of sacrifice due to Otzi being the only find in the area. The reason for his murder is the gray area in his story. It would seem certain that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In addition to his arrow wound, scientists have now discovered serious brain injuries based on analysis of proteins (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/214-tzi-iceman-suffered-brain-injury-died-scientists-article-1.1369243). The injury may have been a result of being struck or falling after being hit by the arrow (http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/214-tzi-iceman-suffered-brain-injury-died-scientists-article-1.1369243). All evidence at this point illustrates a possible ambush, which resulted in Otzi’s ultimate death.