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Grauballe Man (Denmark)


Hand of the Grauballe Man Bog Body, Mosegaard-Museum, Denmark

Hand of the Grauballe Man Bog Body, Mosegaard-Museum, Denmark

Malene Bruger
Definition: The Grauballe Man is the name of an Iron Age bog body recovered in 1952 from a peat bog in central Jutland, Denmark. The body was in an excellent state of preservation, such that the red-haired man was first believed to be a local man who had disappeared on his way back from a local pub. The body was quickly identified as much older and named Grauballe from the nearest town.

Grauballe Man was determined to have been about 30 years old when he died. Physical inspection indicated that his throat had been cut from behind. Recent close inspection of his intestines indicated that they had been penetrated by plant roots after his death and burial in the peat.

Radiocarbon dating at the time of the discovery was completed and the date was established at between 100 BC and AD 50. Recent recent AMS dating of hair samples and the plant roots within his intestines suggest that he died about 400-200 cal years BC.


This glossary entry is a part of the About.com Guide to Bog Bodies, and part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

Stødkilde-Jørgensen, Hans, Niels O. Jacobsen, Esbern Warncke, and Jan Heinemeier 2008 The intestines of a more than 2000 years old peat-bog man: microscopy, magnetic resonance imaging and 14C-dating. Journal of Archaeological Science 35(3):530-534.

This glossary entry is part of the Dictionary of Archaeology.

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