The ‘bog bodies’ of north-western Europe have captured the imagination of poets as much as archaeologists, confronting us with human remains where time has stopped – allowing us to come ‘face to face’ with individuals from the past. Their exceptional preservation allows us to examine unprecedented details of both their lives and deaths, making us reflect poignantly upon our own mortality. Yet this book argues that they must be resituated within a turbulent world of endemic violence and change, reinterpreting the latest Continental research and new discoveries in this light. The book features a ground-breaking ‘cold case’ forensic study of Worsley Man: Manchester Museum’s ‘bog head’ and brings the bogs to life through both natural history and folklore, as places that were rich, fertile, yet dangerous. Finally, it argues that these remains do not just pose practical conservation problems but philosophical dilemmas, compounded by the critical debate on if – and how – they should be displayed, with museum exemplars drawn from across the globe
whether later prehistoric communities knew of the preservative properties of the bog itself and knowingly exploited it, to different ends.
Another factor repeatedly cited by these authors to explain the phenomenon of preservation was the medicinal, ‘antiseptic’ power of bog water, referred to by Pitiscus of Oldenberg (1791, cited in van der Sanden 1996 : 19) as ‘the real quintessence’. In a prescient passage that anticipates modern modes of passive conservation, he suggests that bog bodies could be stored in peat water so that future generations might see what they
at least, we have passed through a generation of critique about where bog bodies should ‘live’ after discovery (as we have seen in the last chapter) and whether they should even be on open display (Giles 2009 ; Jenkins 2011 ). Most bog body books end where the last chapter finished, with a mix of pragmatic and philosophical musings on who they were and why they died. Yet this book sets out to chart their ‘afterlife’ from the moment of discovery, the peeling back of the peat, through conservation, analysis and archaeological interpretation, to the creative legacy
the reader through the archaeological process: the work of making sense of these remains, from discovery through conservation to analysis, interpretation and display. While other studies have touched on these themes, no other volume has adopted this unique stance and structure, which allows us to continually scrutinise how the reception of those remains shape our interpretations.
I have taken this approach because bog bodies matter , quite literally, in their stubborn resurfacing into our world, making the past present to us in ways that both touch and appal our
else would have known where to look and no official paper archive accompanied the head on its next stage of investigation.
The afterlife of Worsley Man: historiography of conservation and analysis
The remains were given back into the possession of Dr Manning, who donated them to the Pathology Museum at the Manchester Medical School ‘where they were mounted and placed in a Perspex box’ (Garland 1995 : 104). At some point, the post-mortem damage to the skull (partly from peat compression and partly from the mode of recovery followed by forensic examination) took
Pollution levels in local lakes in Denmark
The Danish Society for the Conservation of Nature (DN) of Frederikssund is a
local committee of a national NGO working towards protecting nature and the
environment. DN Frederikssund addresses local issues regarding the protection of
nature and the environment to achieve local sustainable development. It initiates
local campaigns, participates in political hearings and comments on the municipality’s environmental strategies and plans.
In the mid-1990s, DN Frederikssund became aware of
The politics of exhumation in post-genocide Rwanda
mummified bodies located in Murambi. This investigation formed the
basis of the human remains conservation project which was presented at the conference on the preservation of evidence of genocide organized in Kigali in February 2010.35 Staff from the CNLG
were then invited to Cranfield University to inspect the equipment
that would be sent to Rwanda.36 This equipment has subsequently
been installed on-site in Murambi to be used as a mobile laboratory.
According to the INFORCE Foundation, this mobile laboratory will
allow bodies to be preserved by placing them in
The key role of the Italian antiquarian market in the inception of
American Classical art collections during the late-nineteenth century
Francesca de Tomasi
the purchases. If this attitude were true it should be
deplored. That is, those who should be in charge of the study and the
conservation of the national cultural heritage procure its export abroad
instead. Neither is it commendable to sell foreigners (even if Americans)
mediocre objects as if they were works of art or monuments with a true
value or archaeological interest (Chigi to Fiorelli, December, 1889).1
Although this excerpt is not from an official document but from a private
letter addressed to the head of the Directorate General of Antiquities
Craft professions, cultural policies, and identity
Elena Freire Paz
up until the 1960s.
Until the recent revitalisation, Galician pottery could be classified functionally:
pieces related to food, its production, its conservation and, especially, its preparation
and consumption; pieces connected with physiological needs; some pieces had a
playful character; and others formed part of a household’s furnishings (Figure 7.1).
This array of items covered the daily housekeeping needs of rural Galician families,
and they would be acquired by direct purchase from the potters themselves at markets and local fairs.
Today, in contrast, buyers
Sustainability after extinction: on last
animals and future bison
It has been well documented recently that there is a noticeable rise in
the rate of extinction across all plant and animal kingdoms. Several
conservation biologists have indicated that current extinction rates are
now between 100 and 1,000 times expected or background rates of extinction.1 The rise of extinction rates in the past few hundred years can be
situated in parallel to the rise of scientific knowledge concerning the
history of extinctions that stretch from recent times