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The Bog People: Iron-Age Man Preserved

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4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  407 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
One spring morning two men cutting peat in a Danish bog uncovered a well-preserved body of a man with a noose around his neck. Thinking they had stumbled upon a murder victim, they reported their discovery to the police, who were baffled until they consulted the famous archaeologist P.V. Glob. Glob identified the body as that of a two-thousand-year-old man, ritually ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published August 31st 2004 by NYRB Classics (first published 1965)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan-Maat
The best thing about this book is that it was dedicated to a group of fairly young English school girls who wrote to Glob in 1962 as follows:

Dear Doctor Glob,
We were very interested in the Tollund Man. We learned about him in history. We would like to know where he is now because we want to visit him when we are older. We have been told that you are very busy and so we hope you do not mind our bothering you but we would like to know more about him
(p.16)

The nature of the life of a Danish museum
...more
Lynne King
Apr 22, 2015 Lynne King rated it really liked it
This book is a must read for those with a scientific inclination towards a detective viewpoint of the Iron and Bronze age people found preserved within the peat bogs in Denmark.

I admit that the title is not the most exciting but still it did intrigue me and sent me on a wonderful fact finding mission on life, via the bog people, in the Iron and Bronze Ages.

The attention to detail is magnificent and the seventy-six black and white plates present a remarkable testimony of the life and final death
...more
Duntay
May 11, 2008 Duntay rated it it was amazing
Shelves: archaeology
I can't even remember the first time I picked up this book.. I hold Prof Glob responsible for my becoming an archaeologist. My husband holds him responsible for being dragged to museums throught Europe to see leathery dead people.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Apr 02, 2009 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it liked it
Recommended to Jeanette by: NYRB
I'm not generally into archaeology/anthropology, but this intrigued me. These bodies were found in bogs, mostly in Denmark. The acidic water in the bogs preserved the bodies so well that people who found them thought they were recent murder victims and often called the police! Turns out they were 2,000 years old, from the Iron Age. The photos are amazing. Except for the darkened skin from the tannins in the water, some of these people look like they're just sleeping. Even their brains and ...more
Scott
Sep 27, 2016 Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1960s, antiquity
Glob’s Bog People (1965) is well illustrated, finely detailed, and absolutely gruesome. I’ve never really given much thought to what happened to the bodies of all the millions and millions who died in antiquity. I figured they turned to dust and disappeared. But Professor Glob shows us that with the right conditions - acidic water in an anaerobic environment - human hair and skin can last millennia. While bones and cloth dissolve in peaty bogs, skin and organs react benignly with the tannic acid ...more
Suvi
Jul 31, 2012 Suvi rated it liked it
One of my (weird) dreams is to see mummies and bog bodies lying on their museum beds. There's just something utterly chilling and amazing that we have an opportunity to see a person who lived thousands of years ago. When I was a lot younger I watched a documentary about bog bodies which made me utterly fascinated with the subject. Then I saw a picture of a little girl, Rosalia Lombardo. It creeped me out from these things for a while, but now I'm older so I think I can handle it. Although she st ...more
Alissa
Jun 29, 2015 Alissa rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I feel like I must explain my rating for this book a little. I came across the title of this book referenced in another book that I finished recently. The topic piqued my interest so I thought I would give it a try. The subject was fascinating. I had never heard of these discoveries in the Bogs of Europe. Finding bodies that are 2000 years old amazingly preserved? I had to know how this could happen!

As I read, my question was answered, but the writing was a bit dry, and because of when this boo
...more
Jennifer
Nov 29, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I came to this through re-reading some of Seamus Heaney's poetry, who is fascinated by the bog people, and decided that I wanted to know more too. I have to admit I skipped over the numerous soil analysis passages, but apart from that I found this a very engaging book about something that both repels and amazes me (some of the 2,000 year old bodies were so well preserved that they still had fingerprints!). I also think that Mr Glob has the perfect name for a bog body expert, and that made me ...more
Neil
Oct 05, 2010 Neil rated it it was ok
Dear Professor Glob,

Unfortunately, I was disappointed in your book. I regret having to tell you because you obviously worked very hard on it. The subject was fascinating, but the text read like an autopsy report. Sadly, it only became exciting for a brief time in the last chapter. Better luck next time.

Very Truly Yours,

Neil
Tony
Jul 20, 2010 Tony rated it liked it
Shelves: science
Glob, P. V. THE BOG PEOPLE: IRON-AGE MAN PRESERVED. (1965; this ed. 2004). ***. The Iron Age. It makes me envision primitive peoples forging arrowheads and spear points a long time ago. As it turns out, the Iron Age described in this book by its author, a noted archeologist, spans 400+/- years around the birth of Christ. My mental measurements were all wrong. Written as sort of a scientific detective story, the author provides an engrossing and reliable account of the religion, culture and daily ...more
Jenn (Read Jenn Read)
Feb 11, 2016 Jenn (Read Jenn Read) rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthro, non-fiction
This book was written in 1965 and has an introduction by Elizabeth Wayland Barber and Paul T. Barber. This was a fascinating account of preserved bodies and artifacts found in Danish bogs. It describes initial finds and how people assumed they were modern murder victims. In fact they were Iron Age peoples.
One of the great aspects of this book is the large amount of photos showing not only the bodies, but artifacts and bogs as well. While some of the pictures were gruesome, so were these peoples
...more
John A
Nov 20, 2016 John A rated it it was amazing
It sounds like a horror novel, but the bog people were bodies found in peat bogs throughout northern Europe over the last two centuries whose discoverers called the police, thinking they were recent victims of foul play. It turned out that they were, in fact, 2,000 years old. They were remarkably well preserved - to the point of discernible fingerprints - because of tannic acid in the bogs, which prevented decay and left the bodies tanned like leather. Professor Glob tells the stories of these ...more
Sara
Mar 05, 2013 Sara rated it really liked it
The edition of this book I actually ended up reading was published in 1969 and translated by Rupert Bruce-Mitford. Bruce-Mitford offers a very readable version, so I think the only thing I really must have missed by not reading the recent edition were the introductions by Paul and Elizabeth Wayland Barber. Especially given that so much of the matter that has been pulled from bogs in northern Europe includes cloth, it would be fascinating to read Elizabeth Barber's take on this book. Even after ...more
Sarah
Sep 13, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
P.V. Glob died in 1985. He was the Director of Copenhagen Museum.
Over the last 200 years , records show that peat-cutters thru' out Europe have disinterred human remains which are remarkably well-preserved due to the acid water of the bogs where they were either murdered or executed 2000 yrs ago. We know so little as to the fate of these individuals and yet their bodies survive intact. Their skin like tanned leather, you can see their facial expressions and finger prints. Their clothing, the fab
...more
Carol Smith
Bog people are cool.

I had good luck randomly reading New York Review Classic selections last year, so I thought I'd give this one a try. Glob was a Danish archaeologist who specialized in "bog bodies". His work attracted widespread interest in his country, including many schoolchildren. He specifically wrote The Bog People in response to a letter written by a group of Danish schoolgirls, and he even dedicated the book to them. For this reason, the writing is a bit on the simple side, but still
...more
Freyja Vanadis
Mar 07, 2012 Freyja Vanadis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm fascinated by ancient Europeans, especially from the countries of my ancestors (Denmark, Germany and Sweden). This book gives a lot of information about the bodies found in Danish bogs, as well as some insights into what life was like and the gods and goddesses that were worshipped at the time. The pictures were great; unfortuately they were in black and white, which made it hard to distinguish some of the features of the bog people.
The only thing I didn't like about it was that it was trans
...more
Brendan
Apr 02, 2012 Brendan rated it liked it
Across northern Europe, ancient bodies have turned up perfectly preserved in peat bogs for centuries. The Bog People is a fascinating investigation into who these iron age people were and why they were interred in the ritualistic way they were. Glob, a Danish archaeologist, found some of the best preserved examples of bog people in the 1950s and 60s, and his anecdotes on the discovery and uncovering of these bodies are a highlight. So are the amazing photographs of the exhumed bodies and the ...more
Maria
May 12, 2016 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Excepcional recopilación de información sobre los cuerpos de la Edad de Hierro encontrados en las ciénagas mientras se extraía combustible. Incluye al final una sección sobre la vida cotidiana reconstruida arqueológicamente. Esta edición presenta un amplio número de fotografías de gran calidad, así como notas del traductor muy interesantes. La traducción especialmente dificil en libros técnicos y alejados culturalmente es excelente.
Sin duda 5 estrellas: divulgación, fotografía, edición y traducc
...more
g
Jun 11, 2011 g rated it liked it
Danish peat cutters find 2,000-year-old bodies so well preserved that they call the local police department before the museum! Very cool. And the book is beautifully written, with awe and wonder. It is an amazing and mysterious glimpse into antiquity--up until that final chapter, which, though it finally explores the "why?", feels hurried, with conclusions somewhat suspect. Lots of wonderful photos of the bodies and other artifacts are included.
Kevin Keating
This is a short book with some good information on a subject I found quite interesting - the bog people of northern Europe. Many of these were the Germani that the Romans were fighting against. Human sacrifice was evidenced in many cases. Many were executed. The bog preserved their bodies amazingly well and there were several pictures of these figures, who are now housed in museums across Denmark and Germany. Can be a bit dry on occasion.
Heidi
May 23, 2009 Heidi rated it it was amazing
Fascinating at age twelve, still completely engrossing. My sisters and I quarrelled over which of us got to steal it from the parents' bookshelves when we left home. I got it and read it until it fell apart. Now in pieces, it still fascinates. Too bad he wrote only one other book (also FASCINATING) as far as I know.
Gurldoggie
Oct 10, 2012 Gurldoggie rated it it was amazing
A compulsively readable introductory archaeology course, taught by an eccentric and enthusiastic professor, about the ancient bodies discovered in Denmark’s peat bogs. Though the book is replete with archeological details, it is also rich with Iron Age poetry, mythology and truly amazing photographs.
Ellen
Nov 02, 2015 Ellen rated it it was amazing
This is a book:
1) About bog people;
2) containing photographs of bog people;
3) which P.V. Glob dedicated to a class of English schoolgirls who wrote to him about their love of bog people.

Need I say more?
Curtis Runstedler
Dec 11, 2013 Curtis Runstedler rated it it was amazing
This book is a superb offering about the discovery of the bog people in northern Europe for archaeologists, historians, and enthusiasts alike. Glob provides substantial evidence and claims for his findings, and reaches some interesting conclusions about Nerþus and her following.
Kristin
May 06, 2008 Kristin rated it it was amazing
I first found this book on my parents bookshelves when I was 10 or 11 years old. The images of the bog people fascinated me. I eventually actually read the book and their history when I was in my 20's. If you are interested in the iron age this book might be of some interest to you.
Lia
Sep 08, 2012 Lia rated it liked it
Shelves: bogs
Detailed cultural view of the people who ended up being preserved bodies in the bogs. This book is artistic in its philosophy, looking to create a solid view of what world created these people.
William Harris
Mar 17, 2014 William Harris rated it it was amazing
Great tangible evidence to support what the Romans etc. wrote about Iron Age society and religion in modern day Denmark.
Bruce
May 25, 2012 Bruce rated it it was amazing
I used the images and information from this book for many years to help interpret the bog in the nature center where I was a naturalist. It is an excellent resource!
Jennifer Aitkens
Mar 04, 2013 Jennifer Aitkens rated it really liked it
Beautifully written for the lay audience, this classic records Iron Age bog bodies and provides intricate details of clothing, hair and implements.

A fascinating look at history.
Feliks
Jan 19, 2013 Feliks rated it it was ok
Shelves: good-nonfiction
I read this and half-a-dozen other books about peat bogs for a college paper once. This one was pretty good writing; told the story lucidly. Strange topic that stays with one.
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NYRB Classics: The Bog People: Iron Age Man Preserved, by P.V. Glob 1 5 Oct 19, 2013 12:52AM  
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Peter Vilhelm Glob, or P.V. Glob, was a Danish archaeologist who worked as the Director General of Museums and Antiquities of the state of Denmark and was also the Director of the National Museum in Copenhagen. Glob was most noted for his investigations of Denmark's bog bodies such as Tollund Man and Grauballe Man -- mummified remains of Iron and Bronze Age people found preserved within peat bogs. ...more
More about Peter Vilhelm Glob...

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