Historical Investigation On The Tollund Man

1680 words - 7 pages

Historians and archaeologists investigated Tollund man extensively through the wonderful preservations of his body which gave them hard evidence to support their theories about Tollund Man’s death. The Tollund Man was found on the 6th of May 1950 by two brothers at Silkeborg, Denmark, in a peat bog. He was positioned on his side in a cradle position, naked with a leather belt around his waist, a pointed sheepskin cap with a leather strap that was positioned firmly under his chin and a noose around his neck. The substances in the peat bog prevented the body from decomposing. The bog contains Sphagnum moss which creates acids in the water and grows a glass covering over the water blocking out oxygen and keeping in heat, all in which cause slow decomposition. There was Sphagnum moss which was found under Tollund Man which stated that he lived around the 4th/5th century. The main preservations that help archaeologist the most include the noose, his intestines, and his body; mainly his face.
The most important, useful evidence that was preserved of Tollund Man was the noose that was in a coil knot around his neck. This immediately directs the noose as the cause of Tollund Man’s death in which he was hung or strangled. From the examinations and knowledge of hanging, it was found that Tollund Man was hung not strangled due to the marks imprinted by the rope. The mark was around the neck, under the chin but not at the back of the neck, where the knot was situated. This proves that he was not strangled because if he was, the mark would have been all around his neck whereas in this case it wasn’t. Moreover, the mark type was that of a person who was hung and further evidence of people who are hung today show the same mark Tollund Man was left with. X-rays, infrared and ultraviolet light was used in a new examination made in November 2002 to thoroughly analyse Tollund Man’s body. The images clearly illustrate that he wasn’t strangled as the tongue would have been damaged but it wasn’t and that the tongue was distended a characteristic often seen in a person who is hung.
In spite of this, Don Brothwell another archaeologist argues that although the noose was around his neck Tollund Man was not hung as his neck bones were not ruptured or dislocated and his spinal cord was not broken. Harold Hillman, an expert on executions states that the neck should break and the upper cervical spine should snap causing the person to go into unconsciousness and die of asphyxiation (deprived of air). However, it is impossible to completely identify if there was any damage when hung due to skeletal decomposition of Tollund Man’s bones. However, the autopsy and x-ray examination report came back saying “the rope, judging by the way it was placed around the body’s neck, was most likely not used for strangulation, and because of that it is of less importance that the cervical vertebras were undamaged since that sometimes happens when a person is hanged”. As a result of the...

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