Dating bogs

That infamous head, discovered in 1983, is among the remains of hundreds of “bog people” unearthed from northern Europe’s peat bogs during the past 200 years.

Seven of these bodies and a host of artifacts associated with them—from tools to jewelry—are showcased in , debuting at Carnegie Museum of Natural History on July 9.

Dr Marcus Vandergoes, a paleoecologist at GNS Science, explains how cores from Ōkārito Pākihi and other Westland peat bogs provide evidence for climate and environmental change over the last 135,000 years.

Understanding the environmental changes in the past gives us very good insights into the current climate discussions that people around the world are having.Thanks to those properties, the mummified remains found in the bogs of Europe have allowed archaeologists to extrapolate about the culture and belief system of the northern Europeans who lived at the dawn of Christianity.“ We can find out how they died, their age, sex, and even the season of death based on pollen and insect pupae found with the body,” says Sandra Olsen, curator of anthropology at Carnegie Museum of Natural History.This is where the bogeyman—the mythical creature that has scared children into good behavior for centuries—was born.The people who placed the bodies in the bogs called the evil spirits that they believed lived in the bogs the “boggymen.” “ Sacrifice was done to curry favor with the gods—for greater fertility for the crops, greater fertility for the animals, and greater fertility for the women,” says Olsen, the only Old World archaeologist at Carnegie Museums.

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