Melanie Giles
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This research would have been impossible without the support of the following experts from Manchester Museum and the Worsley Man Research Project: John Prag, Bryan Sitch, Irit Narkiss, Sam Sportun, Tristan Lowe, Martin Smith, Neil Garland, John Denton, Pat Bradley, Mike Buckley, Andrew Wilson and the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit. Bringing this research to publication has taken time, and along the way fond collaborators have been lost, particularly Jim Bourke and Judith Adams; this book is dedicated in part to them. The completion of this book would not have been possible without the generosity and honesty of its anonymous peer reviewers and the diligent editorial assistance of Meredith Carroll from Manchester University Press, Kelly Derrick and Lizzie Evans of Newgen Publishing, and Cath Neal’s production of the index. The Institutional and Supplementary Research Leave provided by the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at The University of Manchester (facilitated by Roy Gibson), and a small research grant from The University of Manchester to fund the radiocarbon date and computed tomography (CT) scan of Worsley Man were invaluable. Colleagues within classics, ancient history, archaeology and Egyptology, as well as history and environment and spatial planning at The University of Manchester have provided me with rich interdisciplinary expertise on what Romans do with heads (Ruth Morello and Andy Fear), how to preserve a corpse (Joyce Tyldesley and Nicky Nielsen) and why bogs really do matter (John Morgan and Joanne Tippett).

Local archival research was assisted by Duncan McCormick (Salford local history librarian) and Jill Morris (Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre) as well as Tony Morris (archives officer, Manchester Central Library), Mike Nevell, Andy Myers and Norman Redhead (from the Centre for Applied Archaeology, University of Salford). The author thanks the Duckworth Laboratory, University of Cambridge, for permission to study the material within its collections, namely Ashton Man, facilitated by collections manager, Trish Biers. Meanwhile the support and research of Bill Shannon (of the Warrington Literary and Philosophical Society) has been inspiring, and Ceri Houlbrook’s research on the folklore of the boggart has been invaluable. Sian Jones, Sally Foster and Rod McCullagh provided invaluable insights into bog landscapes and issues of authenticity on a most memorable trip to Stirlingshire.

Colleagues working on bog bodies across northern Europe have been unfailingly helpful, especially the members of the International Bog Body Network. I would particularly like to thank Ian Stead, Conor McDermott, Aidan O’Sullivan, Rob Sands, Nora Bermingham, Ben Gearey, Terry Brown, Trevor Cowie, Paul Buckland, Henry Chapman, Jody Joy, Julia Farley, Daniel Antoinne, Miranda Aldhouse-Green, Isabella Mulhall, Eamonn Kelly, Rolly Reed, Christina Fredengren, Pauline Asingh, Ole Nielsen, Niels Lynnerup, Stefan Burmeister and Catherine Frie. The work of Winjjard van der Sanden and Karin Sanders continue to inspire, while the wisdom of the late John Coles, Don Brothwell and Barry Raftery are much missed. Experts in later prehistoric and Roman archaeology have given much needed advice, especially Barry Cunliffe, Chris Gosden, Niall Sharples, J. D. Hill, Chris Evans, Duncan Garrow, Anwen Cooper, Fraser Hunter, Adam Gwilt, Andrew Fitzpatrick, Tim Champion, Bob Johnston, Richard Bradley, David Fontijn, Rebecca Redfern, Mike Parker Pearson, Gabe Moshenska, Gerry McDonnell, David Mattingley, Simon James, Katharina Becker and Martin Carruthers. For all things related to the dead, many thanks to conversations enriched by Karina Croucher and Howard Williams. My extraordinary group of PhD students – past and present – have challenged and developed this work: Pedro Peixoto, Kate Crouch, Rob Matthews, Emma Tollefsen, Matt Hitchcock, Catherine Jones, Nye Merrill-Glover and Jane Barker.

Archaeological, artistic and poetic inspiration continues to spur me on: deepest thanks to Mark Edmonds, Gabriel Cooney, Alan and Griselda Garner, Rose Ferraby, Christine Finn and John Wedgewood-Clarke. I have had the great privilege of hearing Seamus Heaney read from his bog body poems at University College Dublin, the impact of which I hope resonates throughout this book. It is a hymn to the wetland expertise of all of the above individuals – curators, field archaeologists, archivists, forensic scientists, cultural critics, artists, historians of the moss and poets who have also crossed into the bog with me. If we can re-enchant our readers with these places, through their pasts, and encourage their curation and growth, we will have worked towards a very small part of restoring our wider environment.

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Bog bodies

Face to face with the past


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