Denmark’s Bog Dogs

Digs & Discoveries January/February 2016

(Courtesy the Moesgaard Museum)

A salvage excavation at the site of a new housing development near Aarhus, Denmark, has revealed the remains of sacrificial victims, including a headless woman and eight dogs, who were dropped into a bog more than 2,000 years ago. Per Mandrup of Denmark’s Moesgaard Museum led the excavation. While the bodies of humans preserved in bogs have received a lot of scholarly attention, less is known about dogs. “It’s always surprising to find so many dogs and also find a human,” says Mandrup. “It was the jackpot.” The dogs appear to have been a breed similar to border collies that was probably used for sheep herding. Leashes were found with some of the dogs, but how they were killed is not known. Other sacrifices have been found in another nearby bog, including burned human bones, iron weapons, and 13 more dog skeletons. According to Mandrup, “We can see there was a lot of sacrifice in that area, which is not normal.”

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