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Lindow man

The Lindow Man is an example of a Celtic human sacrifice discovered in a bog[?] near Manchester in 1984 by peat-cutters, a find known as a bog body. The body is now on display in The British Museum. The body's legs and pelvis were missing, leaving the chest, head and arms.

Forensic analysis has revealed many interesting details about his body and how he may have died. Lindow man is most notable for the manner in which he died. His threefold death began with 3 blows to the head, followed by an incision into his throat with a knife, to drain and empty the body of blood. Lastly, a garrote, a knotted cord fitted tightly to the neck and twisted with a stick, was found embedded in his neck, used to simultaneously asphyixiate and break his neck. He was cast face down into an already mature bog at Lindow Moss, symbolically drowning him. All of the foregoing is highly indicative of ritual slaying. Opinion is divided as to whether this was a human sacrifice or an execution.

Although human sacrifice was extremely rare amongst the Celts, many clues tend to lead thinking in this direction. The presence of mistletoe pollen in the victim's stomach is highly suggestive given the many druidical associations with mistletoe. Mistletoe is a poisonous plant known to cause convulsions, and is unlikely to have have been ingested accidentally. The manner of death, three-fold killing, is also well-documented in later Celtic commentaries.

The book, The Life and Death of a Druid Prince, by Anne Ross and Don Robins, Simon & Schuster, New York,1989, is an excellent document for the historical reasoning, and some archaeological reasoning, for the ideas of Lindow Man's social status, and suspected reasons for death. While not an exhaustive overview of the archaeological procedures used in the uncovering of the peat bog body, authors Anne Ross and Don Robins provide insights to the Celtic and Druidic worlds of Lindow Man's day.



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