There was quite a good bog-body article in the Independent this week; in which Clodagh Finn filled in the background behind a free lecture in the National Museum, in Dublin;

One of the bodies described; ‘Old Croghan man’ (362 – 175 BCE), would have been 6 feet 6 inches in height (how ‘special’ would that have seemed, back then?) and had “beautifully manicured” hands – implying that his life was free from labour. He been stabbed, sewn through the arm with a hazel branch and beheaded.

The other, a near neighbour; the contemporaneous ‘Clonycavan man‘, was much shorter, perhaps about 5 feet 2 inches, but his hair had been gelled (expensively) so that it would rise a couple of inches into the air. His demise was also both gruesome and multi-layered; he had received three axe blows to the head and one to the chest, due, possibly, to a disembowelling action.

Modern digital tech can do wonders with facial reconstruction and the results on this man’s ’head’ were striking enough to prompt a remark from Eamonn Kelly, keeper of antiquities at the Museum; “When he saw the image, my brother rang and said, ‘Ned, he is the image of my wife’s cousin in the Midlands’. And it’s true, he could be around today — he looks like a junior Offaly hurler.” And why not? Some of those junior Offaly hurlers might even be descended from him.

Both bodies had their nipples slashed and both had been placed in boggy pools on a territorial boundary, and Clodagh Finn’s article has some interesting speculation about the possible links between Iron Age human sacrifice and kingship. It’s worth reading. For information about the lecture and about other events, see here;