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Surveying this swampy body reveals previously unknown details

Surveying this swampy body reveals previously unknown details

(This issue It was first published in Norwegian on

After a day of CT scans and analyses, researchers can now learn more about Tolundmanen's health condition. Aarhus University writes in A press release.

It turns out that the interior of the ancient corpse found in the swamp is surprisingly well preserved.

In 1950, the body of a man was found in a swamp near Silkeborg, on Jutland in Denmark. Tollundmannen is on display at the Silkeborg Museum.

He is about 2,400 years old, and died between 405 and 380 BC, according to previous estimates. Carbon 14 dating. He therefore lived at about the same time as the philosopher Socrates.

The body was found with a leather rope around its neck. He was probably 30-40 years old, 164-167 cm tall, and was wearing a size 41 shoe. When he was placed in the swamp, he had short hair and was completely shaved.

He may have been healthy when he died, but he suffered from foot warts and intestinal worms.

(Source: Silkeborg Museum)

Eyes checked

Tolundmann's one eye is completely intact in terms of shape and optic nerves. The other is perforated.

His eyes and mouth are also intact with an almost Mona Lisa-like smile.

Researchers have now obtained detailed images of his teeth, and are currently examining them.

Although it is uncertain whether members of the Tolundmannen family had dental disease, the new images could contribute to knowledge about this matter.

– He can tell if he has access to resources or if there are crises along the way. Does he suffer from cavities in his teeth, does he suffer from tooth abscesses, and are all his teeth still present? “We would like to know as much about him as possible,” says Ole Nielsen, director of the Silkeborg Museum, where Tolundmannen is on display every day.

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The researchers used a micro-CT scanner to obtain images that will help them learn more about how the Tolundmannen family members died. Photo: AU and Silkeborg Museum

how did he die?

The prevailing theory has long been that Tolundman was hanged, as he was found 74 years ago with a leather rope around his neck.

But previous scans and X-rays were less than accurate. Therefore, it was not possible to confirm whether he had been suffocated.

This is something that the new images may help shed light on. Translated by Trine Andreasen for is reading Original status on here.