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Timewatch: The bog bodies

Updated Wednesday, 18th January 2006

Two ancient murder mysteries. What caused two ancient Celts to wind up as bog bodies?

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Team members with bog body In late 2004, in remote patches of farmland near Dublin, two gruesome discoveries were made, discoveries that would stun the world’s archaeological community. Two ancient bodies were dug from Ireland’s prehistoric peat bogs. Both perfectly preserved but bearing the signs of violent deaths. One body had been decapitated and had lost both his legs, the other had been brutally attacked – his skull and face smashed by a sharp weapon, his lower body was also missing.

These two visitors from another age were now under scrutiny of 21st Century science and technology. Nothing had been seen like this before. With only one bog-body found in the last fifty years, human remains experts had given up hope of finding any more – until now. To find one body would have been remarkable, to find two was astonishing and without precedent or parallel.

A crack team of experts come together to examine the evidence, including Professor Don Brothwell a world expert on bog bodies; Danish scientist Dr Neils Lynnerup who specialises in computer graphic reconstructions of mummies; Ireland’s State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy and Isabella Mullhall, an archaeologist from the National Museum of Ireland, as they attempt to find clues to this ancient murder mystery. Isabella suspects the bodies are Celtic and approximately 2000 years old. But who were they? Why did they die? And how? Timewatch follows the investigation.





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