Bog Bodies from Scotland: old finds, new records - NMS Research Repository
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Journal article

Bog Bodies from Scotland: old finds, new records

2011

Abstract

This paper draws attention to records of a number of historical discoveries of human remains from Scottish bogs that have been omitted from previous published lists of such finds. They mostly comprise a range of 'paper' bog bodies and, like many lost archaeological finds, they can tantalise as much as inform. However, taken together, the 'new' finds account for an additional 27 sites and at least 35 individuals. This represents a significant increment to the Scottish inventory of bog bodies, augmenting the existing record in some regions but also widening the national distribution. In several cases, references to the presence of clothing clearly suggest that the discoveries add to the prevailing inventory of post-medieval finds from Scotland. However, in some instances, the circumstantial evidence points to at least the possibility of burials of much earlier date – for example, where the body appears to have been unclothed or subject to unusual treatment. Consideration is also given to the impact of Scottish bog bodies on popular history and literature.

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