NOVA: Ghosts of Murdered Kings

NOVA: Ghosts of Murdered Kings

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 9:00pm

Tollund Man, an Iron Age bog body, found in 1950 in a peat bog on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark. The man's physical features were so well-preserved that he was mistaken at the time of discovery for a recent murder victim.

Credit: Courtesy of © 360 Production Ltd

Hunt for clues to the identity and death circumstances of victims unearthed in Ireland’s bogs.

In the hills of Ireland’s County Tipperary, a laborer harvesting peat from a dried-up bog spots the remnants of a corpse — a headless torso almost perfectly preserved and stained dark brown by the bog. Archaeologists recognize it as one of Europe’s rare bog bodies: prehistoric corpses flung into the marshes. The corpse eventually will be dated to the Bronze Age, more than 4,000 years ago. Forensic evidence reveals a shockingly violent death. NOVA follows archaeologists and forensic experts in their hunt for clues to the identity and the circumstances of this and other violent deaths of bog body victims. A new theory emerges that they are ritually murdered kings, slain to assure the fertility of land and people. NOVA’s ancient detective story opens a tantalizing window on the beliefs of Europe’s long-vanished prehistoric peoples. NOVA: Ghosts of Murdered Kings airs Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 9 p.m. on WXXI.

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