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The Huldremose Woman: One of the best preserved and best dressed bog bodies

David Goran

More than 500 bodies and skeletons were buried in the peat bogs in Denmark between 800 B.C. and A.D. 200.

In 1879, Niels Hanson, a school teacher in Ramten, was digging peat turfs from a peat bog near Ramten, Jutland, Denmark. While doing this, he recovered a bog body of an elderly Iron Age woman. The body became known as “Huldremose Woman” or “Huldre Fen Woman”.

Upper body of the Huldremose Woman. Photo Credit

The upper body of the Huldremose Woman. Photo Credit

 

 

The woman was more than 40 years old when she ended up in the bog. Photo Credit

The woman was more than 40 years old when she ended up in the bog. Photo Credit

Supposedly, the woman had passed away sometime between 160 B.C. and 340 A.D. It is believed that she lived at least 40 years, which to the standards of the time was a very long life. Like most of the bog bodies found in Denmark, the woman from Huldremose was fully clothed.

More than 130 years after its discovery, it remains one of the best preserved and best-dressed bog bodies. This discovery offered a rare opportunity to understand the clothing of the Iron Age in Northern Europe and Scandinavia.

The clothing of Huldremose Woman. Peaty bogs are perfect for the conservation of clothes and textiles. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

The clothing of Huldremose Woman. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

She was dressed in a costume consisting of a woollen skirt (tied at the waist with a thin leather strap inserted into a woven waistband), a woollen scarf (139-144 cm in length and 49 cm in width, wrapped around the woman’s neck and fastened under her left arm with a pin made from a bird bone) and two skin capes.

The clothes are very well preserved, despite being almost 2000 years old. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

The clothes are well preserved, despite being almost 2000 years old. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

The fur coats she was wrapped in were made from the skin of 14 sheep. The sewn-in objects have probably functioned as amulets. Not only was her costume of high quality; it was also colored in a multitude of colors. olor analysis has shown that originally the skirt was blue and the scarf was in red color.

The finding of the woman has encouraged many different debates and interpretations over the years. Medical analysis revealed that she had received a cut to her upper arm, removing her arm from the rest of her body before she was deposited in the peat.

A violent cut with a sharp tool had almost severed her right upper arm before she died. Photo Credit

A violent cut with a sharp tool had almost severed her right upper arm before she died. Photo Credit

It was previously believed that the cut to the arm was the cause of death and the woman died as a result of a subsequent loss of blood. However, later forensic analysis found evidence of strangulation, her hair was tied with a long woolen rope, which was also wrapped around her neck several times.

Here is another story from us:Grauballe Man: Exceptionally preserved bog body that might be an evidence of a 2,300-year-old murder

The mummified remains are exhibited at the National Museum of Denmark and the elaborate clothing worn by the Huldremose Woman has been reconstructed and displayed at several museums.