Expert: Bog bodies buried at boundaries

January 8, 2006

An Irish archaeologist believes two bodies found in peat were buried 2,300 years ago at the boundaries of kingdoms to ensure successful reigns.

Clonycavan Man and Old Croghan Man were discovered about 25 miles apart in 2003 in peat bogs not far from Dublin. Hundreds of bodies preserved by peat have been found across Northern Europe.

Ned Kelly, keeper of Irish antiquities for the National Museum of Ireland, was interviewed for a BBC documentary to be aired later this month.

"Bodies are placed in the borders immediately surrounding royal land or on tribal boundaries to ensure a good yield of corn and milk throughout the reign of the king," Kelly said.

Both Clonycavan Man and Old Croghan Man died violently and had been tortured before death. Both bodies had interesting features, including what appears to have been an early form of hair gel used to keep Clonycavan's hair-do in place.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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