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A Body Appears

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A Body Appears

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A body appears. Extra large picture. More illustrations. © Niels Bach
The Tollund Man has just been discovered
The Tollund Man has just been discovered.
Big picture
Monday morning on May 8th, 1950 the police in Silkeborg received an alarming message. On the previous Saturday a body had been discovered in a bog close to Bjældskovdal, an area located approximately 10 kilometres west of Silkeborg. Accordingly, the body was discovered on May 6th, 1950.

The body was discovered by two brothers and their family who were digging for peat to be used as fuel. They believed that it must have been the victim of a recent murder since it appeared so fresh.

At around the same time a school boy from Copenhagen had gone missing in the central part of Jutland the finders assumed that it was probably his body they had discovered...

When the police were told that the body had been discovered 2½ metres into the peat and there were no signs of recent digging they were almost certain that it was more a case for the people at Silkeborg Museum than the police.

If you look closely, you can see the Tollund Man lying in the bog
If you look closely, you can see the
Tollund Man lying in the bog.
Big picture
However, the police went to the scene with the people from the museum right away - and sure enough - lying in the bog, approximately 60 metres from solid ground, was a body cuddled up like it was sleeping.

Even though you could only see a small portion of the body, it was possible to tell that it had a rope around its neck.

It didn't take long for the people present at the site to realize that an important discovery had been made and therefore the famous archaeologist, Professor P.V. Glob from Aarhus, was sent for.

Account of an Eyewitness

John Kauslund witnessed the discovery of the Tollund Man
John Kauslund witnessed
the discovery of the Tollund Man.
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John Kauslund was 11 years old when the Tollund Man was discovered in 1950. He is the son of Grethe Højgaard who, along with her husband and his brother, discovered the Tollund Man.

Actually, John Kauslund explains, it was his mother who first became aware of something unusual lying in the peat.

The brothers were skeptical of the idea that it might be a bog body they had come across, but... Mother rolled up her sleeves and started digging in the mud. She dug into the cliff where people were standing cutting peat and said: "You can say whatever you want to but there's something strange here." She kept digging, and then she stuck her fingers in between the forehead and the cap on the Tollund Man's head... John Kauslund tells us.

Professor P.V. Glob
Professor P.V. Glob. Big picture

The Newspapers

The local newspapers were excited to bring the news of the discovery of the body in the bog. Some of the newspapers call him "the man from Moselund, Bogville", whereas others thought it was a woman. P. V. Glob was consulted and he was probably the one who came up with the name the Tollund Man. It was an obvious choice seeing that the two finders came from the small village of Tollund located close to the bog.

The very next day they started preparing for the excavation of the Tollund Man. At the time nobody knew about all the valuable information he held for the people of our time. No other bog body has told us as much as him about how people of the Iron Age looked and how they lived.

 Related Stories
Who discovered the Tollund Man?

Who discovered the Tollund Man?
The two brothers, Viggo and Emil Højgaard, came from Tollund...

Transporting the Tollund Man
In order to provide the best possible protection of the Tollund Man a big box was built around him...

The bog where the Tollund Man was discovered
Bjældskovdal is a bog area west of Silkeborg...

Why did he have to die?
Was the Tollund Man a criminal? Was he hanged in order to get rid of him...?

The last meal
The last meal consisted of a kind of porridge or gruel made primarily of grain and seeds...



Zoom in on the Tollund Man
Where was the Tollund Man discovered? Big picture


Who had been murdered?
Who had been murdered?
Big picture


The Tollund Man at the excavation site
The Tollund Man at the excavation site. Big picture


The newspaper was quick to cover the story
The newspaper was quick to cover the story
Big picture


Was it a woman?
Was it a woman? Big picture

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