Essay on Different Theories Proposed to Account for the Iron Age Bog Bodies

Essay on Different Theories Proposed to Account for the Iron Age Bog Bodies

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There are numerous unanswered questions surrounding the Northern European Bog Bodies phenomenon including "How, or why, or even when, the bodies became immersed in quagmires." (Turner, R.C, Scaife, R.G (ed.),1995,p.169). Despite vast amounts of evidence there are still no easy answers that account for the Iron age bodies. However there are four main competing theories providing possible causes including: the Sacrifice theory, Punishment theory, Boundary theory and the Accidental death theory. All these competing theories will be further examined and critically analysed throughout this text allowing us to depict the most convincing and plausible solution for the mystery of the Iron Age Bog Bodies.

Kelly (2006, p30) supports the restricted Boundary theory based on archaeological evidence of Iron age bog bodies found in Ireland stating that the bodies were "votive offerings along boundaries" which could be "interpreted as having a protective function" within the tribes additionally ensuring the fertility of their land and the health of the people . Multiple evidence of Iron age bog bodies in Ireland have been found in close proximity to barony boundaries including that of Old Croghan man who was found whilst digging a drain through what is now known as town land and a parish boundary as stated by Kelly (2006,p26) is this " purely coincidental"?
Also Clonycavan man who laid directly along the county border of Meath and Westmeath, dividing the ancient territories of Brega and Mide. Recent research of Iron age bog Bodies in Ireland clearly isolates forty different locations in which bog Bodies were found in close propinquity to important primarily barony boundaries (Kelly, 2006). Nevertheless the Boundary theory is restricted and bias...


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...bodies.', in Turner, R.C, Scaife,R.G (ed.) Bog bodies: new discoveries and new perspectives. London: British museum Press, pp. 168-182.

Brothwell,D.R (1986) 'Clues to Murder', in Brothwell,D.R (ed.) The bog man and the archaeology of people . London: British Museum, pp. 22-44.

Chamberlain,A., Pearson,M. (2001) 'Bog Bodies', in Chamberlain,A., Pearson,M. (ed.) Earthly Remains: the history and science of preserved human bodies. London: British Museum, pp. 44-82.

Connolly,R.C (1985) 'Lindow man: British Prehistoric Bog Bodies', Anthropology Today, 1(5), pp. 15-17.

Green,M.A (2001) 'Dying for the Gods: human sacrifice in Iron Age & Roman Europe ', in Green,M.A (ed.) Suffocation: drowning, strangling and burial alive. Stroud: Tempus, pp. 111-135.
Kelly,E.P (2006) 'Secrets of the Bog Bodies: The Enigma of the Iron Age explained', Archaeology Ireland, 20(1), pp. 26-30.

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