In particular, the so-called Child of Windeby sheds light on the life of the people during the Iron Age in a particularly fascinating manner. DNA analyses and anthropological classification have shown that the child was 15 or 16 years old, suffered from hunger and probably died as a result of a severe tooth disease.
The circumstances of the deaths of the bog bodies are varied, they range from natural causes to violent death. Their depositing in the moors can also have different reasons. Were the people victims of a crime and their corpses disposed of in the moor? Were they maybe also sacrificed to the gods or brought to the moor as a punishment? Or were they buried there?
In addition to the bog bodies, anthropological examinations of so-called cremains – the remains from dead persons following cremation – help to discover something about the gender and age of the person buried as well as sometimes about diseases or injuries. The numerous funeral urns and the items found in them next to the cremains such as metallic clasps and parts of belts, weapons, arm and finger rings as well as glass beads are typical for traditional costume and provide information regarding the gender and social status.
Nydam and Thorsberg. Iron Age sacrificial sites
During the 3rd and 4th centuries AD, fierce battles were fought in the western Baltic Sea region. The loser’s weapons and equipment were sacrificed by the winners in holy lakes and moors as a thank-you to the helpful deity. Two of these sacrificial sites enjoy an international reputation today; the Nydam moors in southern Denmark and the Thorsberg moors in the north of Schleswig-Holstein. They were unearthed by the Danish archaeologist Conrad Engelhardt around the middle of the 19th century.
The findings from both of these sacrificial sites with the spoils of war include rank insignia items from the generals in addition to traditional costume elements, weapons, riding accessories and items of daily use. They include golden ring jewellery and splendid belt fittings. In particular, the gold-plated disks ornamented with figures and the face mask from a Teutonic golden and silver helmet belong to the nationwide known and famous findings. In addition to the precious materials, they excel with their unique artistic and artisan level and belong to the most impressive documents of Teutonic art.
The Nydam Boat sunk – discovered – researched