In Denmark, peat bogs are not just for harvesting peat. Or, at least, that’s what it would seem. In 1950, Viggo and Emil Højgaard stumbled upon the remains of a mummified corpse, buried under a two-meter layer of peat on the Jutland Peninsula. Originally thought to be a recent victim of murder, it was determined by an archaeology professor that what the two had found was not, in fact, a recent corpse, but one which had been buried there for more than two thousand years.
Research on the body, today known as the Tollund Man, shows that the man was around 40 years old when he died. The cause of death? A victim of a hanging between 357 and 210 BC. Thanks to the acid in the peat, the body stayed well-preserved. He was found in the fetal position, his body still held signs of life, including short stubble on his face and short hair under a cap made of wool and sheepskin. Examiners were able to see his heart, lungs and liver and even able to determine what the man ate before he died – porridge. The noose made of animal hide, from which delivered the fatal yank, even remained wrapped around his neck.
Want to check out the historic mummy for yourself? Today his remains can be viewed at the Silkeborg Museum in Silkeborg. Unfortunately, only his head remains preserved at the museum. Because it was found in the fetal position, his body had to be recreated. An added bonus – there is also the body of the Elling Woman, who was found 12 years earlier in the same bog. She too, had been hanged.
Planning a trip to Denmark? Browse Viator’s Denmark Tours, Sightseeing & Things to do, from a City tour of Copenhagen to a Copenhagen City and Harbor Tour, or wander further in the Danish countryside to discover Denmark’s Castles. Or take a Sweden Day Trip from Copenhagen to enjoy Helsingborg, Lund and Malmo.