Why did bog bodies always die violently?

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Why did bog bodies always die violently?

Interesting article on bog bodies in Germany

De Spiegal
A 2,600-year-old corpse has been discovered in the moors of northern Germany. It's not the only one. Such finds are frequent, but have posed an increasingly large riddle: Why were so many of the bodies victims of violence and dismemberment?

But why? It's known that the Germanic tribes offered human sacrifices to their supreme deity, Wotan. They also buried weapons and other spoils of war in the swamps. It is likely that they believed the gods were especially nearby in the lonely and barren moors.

But most of the dead in the peat bogs are apparently victims of the ancient Nordic justice system. The historian Tacitus reports that among the Germanic tribes ordinary criminals were publicly hanged on tree branches. But anyone who had committed "shameful acts," or violations of the moral decency laws, was secretly executed in the moor. This torture, Tacitus continues, was suffered by "cowards in battle" and, more importantly, the "lewd."

This is probably a reference to homosexual men, and perhaps those accused of perverse crimes and adulterers. The "Girl of Windeby" ended up in the moor with her head shaved, and her thumb is obscenely placed between her index and middle fingers.

But the disabled also apparently ended up in the clutches of the secret courts. "A noticeably large number of moor corpses had a physical disability," explains Dusseldorf forensics expert Peter Pieper. The 16-year-old "Girl of Yde" suffered from abnormal curvature of the spine.

The "Boy of Kayhausen," the moor corpse of a six-year-old boy discovered in 1922 and now on display in the northern German city of Oldenburg -- had last eaten millet and sorrel, and his abdominal wall is torn, the result, researchers believe, of a blow. The hip is crooked, the result of a condition known as ankylotic hip and the boy apparently had a heavy limp.
By netchicken: posted on 6-7-2005

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