• Etymons


    Mistletoe, while celebrated at Christmas for reasons that are, historically speaking, distant enough to be unattributable to a specific cause, is unfairly held in disdain the rest of the year. The green small-leaved white-berried plant, dismissed as a parasite most of the year, is, at Christmas, gathered in small bunches, woven with ribbons, and suspended above the heads of unsuspecting, and sometimes, unconsenting adults. The idea being that adults caught beneath the Mistletoe are compelled to kiss; traditionally, a berry was then removed from the Mistletoe. When the berries were gone, so were the kisses. The Mistletoe plant itself is really not appreciated; it is not a true parasite in…

  • Celtic Art & Archaeology,  Celtic Myth,  History

    The Perfect Corpse: Nova on Bog Bodies

    Yes, it’s tonight, and no, I hadn’t heard about it before. But PBS’s science show Nova is airing a documentary on bog bodies, featuring Tollund man, described on the program’s web site as “the most famous bog body of all” (he isn’t). The Nova shows usually repeat so I expect there will be other opportunities.

  • image of a coin from the Iceni, showing a head with spiky hair

    Two New Irish Bog Bodies

    Both the BBC and the Mirror have articles about two “new” bog bodies. This has been a year for bog body announcements, apparently. The two bodies were found in 2003, the first was discovered in February of 2003 when a male torso fell off a peat harvesting machine in Clonycavan, near Dublin. The forearms, hands and lower abdomen are missing, probably damaged by the peat cutter. The second body, also male, was discovered in a bog 25 miles away in Croghan, Ireland. The details are being released now, prior to being featured in BBC Television’s BBC2 program Timewatch: The Bog Bodies is on BBC2 on Friday, January 20. Radiocarbon dating…

  • History

    A New Bog Body: “The Girl of the Uchter Moor”

    There are a number of well-known bog bodies; the most recent, and the one we have the best data on, is Lindow Man. But recently a body was found in a peat bog in in the town of Uchte, in Lower Saxony (that’s in the northern part of Germany). Peat bogs are now mined with heavy machinery which remove blocks of peat for fuel. That means that bog finds, usually the remnants of Iron Age sacrifices, of humans as well as objects, are damaged. In this case, the bog has given up the preserved body of a young girl between 16 and 20, committed to the bog about 650 BC,…