Prehistoric murder victims from approximately the same time period kept turning up in northwestern Europe, especially in Denmark and northern Germany.For some reason, from 2,500 to 2,000 years ago, the Germanic tribes of Iron Age northwestern Europe had a habit of killing people and leaving their bodies in bogs.If the bog rises too high, the plants can’t reach the nutrients they need.
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Although the wealth of information these Iron Age John and Jane Does are yielding hasn’t yet offered a clear-cut answer to why they were killed, archeologists are getting a better sense of who these people were and how they died.
It was natural for peat carvers encountering moist, fleshy corpses, with clothing, hair, and skin still intact, to assume that the deaths had been recent.
Even 50 years ago, archeologists knew practically nothing of the Iron Age in northwestern Europe, having only pottery fragments and other bits of evidence to work with.
And they were unable to learn much from these bodies--modern techniques of dating, preservation, and analysis were still unknown.
Bacteria have a difficult time surviving in such conditions and thus can’t break down the dead moss and other vegetation, which instead simply pile up and become peat.