Naturally mummified bodies have been found in bogs throughout the world, but the ones of most interest tend to be those found around parts of Europe, including Denmark, Ireland and Germany.
The mystery is not their amazing preservation, which is explained by the environment of the bogs they were thrown into. Their flesh, hair and organs, as well as any leather that was on their person, are naturally tanned by a combination of cold water temperature, lack of oxygen in the water, and the acidic makeup of the water.
|From Wikimedia Commons, user Gerard Janot, Tollund Man from nedersaksich|
No, the mystery is in the reason for them being there in the first place. You see, many of these bodies were nude when thrown in, some stabbed or hanged, some tortured. None of them appear to have gone in willingly, to have died peacefully, or to have simply fallen in while lost in the wilds.
|Another view of Tollund Man.|
By Sven Rosborn (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
For the most part, written records do not address the practice. However, Tacitus did speak of putting criminals to death then throwing them into bogs to dispose of their bodies, which is where the theory concerning the bog bodies belonging to criminals comes from. The theory on religious human sacrifice comes from the fact that there seem to be offerings thrown into the bogs, as well. Various trinkets and jewelry made from valuable metals have been found throughout the bogs, too.
Which reason do you think was more likely, human sacrifice or punishment of criminals?
May you find your Muse.
Letter B Monogram, courtesy of Ted Gehring, clker.com