ok, there’s this thing. when i was really little, i loooved mummies. my parents had these national geographic magazines and i was really fascinated by the images.
then something happened, and i got scared of mummies for a few years. some academic types came to my school, and shared photos of their discovery of the long-lost franklin expedition .
what scared me, particularly, was the image of this frozen mummy they’d unearthed. i even had nightmares…
buuut, i grew out of it. the nightmares stopped and when i was 17 or 18 i read this cool book called the mummy congress, and got back into mummies!
at this point, it’s been ten years since, and i’m still so into them. by far, my favourites are bog mummies. they’re peaceful, even though they met brutal, violent deaths. they look like they’re sleeping. their skin has turned leathery brown and hair reddened by the tannins in the bogs where they’ve slept for centuries.
bog bodies are so fascinating, partially because of the heavy air of mystery that sits around them. the majority of bodies are from the iron age, although some that are discovered are from later times.
we don’t really know why they ended up in bogs. many of them met incredibly violent deaths (tollund man, was strangled; grauballe man’s throat was slit), and most evidence points to them being human sacrifies, but there is some evidence that suggests they were executed as punishment for crimes.
there’s even speculation that weerdinge men (below) were lovers, because of the intimacy of their embrace. random fact: after discovery, they were rolled up in a carpet to keep them safe while being transported from the bog. this was possible because after 2,000 years, all the calcium in bones is leached out by the acid nature of the blog.
in 2004, the glenbow museum held an exhibit of artifacts & mummies found in bogs, and i was very excited to go. the exhibit started out with the display of ancient (8,000 y old!) artifacts pulled from bogs–farming implements, weapons, etc. slowly, it wound around toward the mummies and i found myself very afraid. these were people! it was the first time i’d seen actual human remains (yde girl, weerdinge men, tollund man) laid out in such a clinical way. the exhibit was done very respectfully, but i was suddenly very nervous and filled with reverence when viewing these ancient bodies.
hopefully this piqued your interest a bit about the most-tanned of mummies & someday you have a chance to see them, too!
edited to add a topical, rad song suggested by jenanne<3!