Week 4

The bog bodies and the Iceman both had peculiar deaths—and important ones to decipher. There are many theories that attempt to explain their origin stories, some involving murder and others that are more complicated.

The bogs were ideal conditions to preserve and therefore the bog bodies weren’t heavily decayed.  There was evidence showing some bodies were murder victims that suffered violent deaths-stabbed, drowned and hung-perhaps as criminals that were sentenced to die. These bodies were reviewed beside the others in the bog, who curiously did not have any such gruesome markings on their bodies and were buried peacefully. This could attribute to the theory that some of these deaths were sacrifices instead of murders, describing the religious climate of the time (Week 4, Lecture 2). An alternative is the idea proposed in 2002 by historian Allen Lund was that the bog bodies belonged to witches. Ancient people knew about the preserving nature of bogs and sought to suspend their supernatural foes in a state between life and death to stall being haunted by them. (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/science/columnist/vergano/2011-01-16-bog-bodies_N.htm).

The Ice Man’s connection to religion could be the tattoos on his body that could symbolize spiritual beings, although that is projection on our part. The Ice Man also died a mysterious death and was well-preserved. But this time…the body was found on ice. He was discovered with someone else’s blood on him as well as other blood types on his arrows and knife (Week 4, Lecture 2). He had a wound, perhaps from an arrow, in his shoulder that could be attributed to a fight with others. What’s curious to me, though, is the theory that he died of hypothermia. An Austrian archaeologist thought the Ice Man was a shepherd who was returning to his home village with his animals, engaged in a conflict with other people but escaped in the mountains, and lay down because he was exhausted from his injuries. He later died of hypothermia and was buried in ice (http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2001/iceman.shtml). This blew me away! Since then, the theory has been challenged but I still think it’s an intriguing one.