The macabre discovery rewrites what we knew about the rituals and beliefs of Iron Age man.
|In 2012 ancient remains were discovered in a bog in Denmark. Archaeologists are now trying to piece together what happened to the dozens of dead warriors found at Alken Enge. Archaeologists were startled by what appeared to be a desecration of the skeletal remains.|
Protohistoric cultures had many traditions of ensuring the respect of their ancestors, and protection from their dead enemies.
|At least six months after the warriors died, their bones were collected, scraped of remaining flesh, sorted and dumped in a lake. Some were handled in a bizarre manner; four pelvises were found strung on a stick. Researchers guess that the desecration of the body parts was an ancient ritual.|
Were these grisly desecrations a barbaric ritual of triumph over defeated enemies, as historical Roman records suggest? Might they also have been Iron Age rites of warding, ensuring the ghosts of a fallen enemy wouldn’t return from the grave to wreak revenge?
|Norse folktales and ancient beliefs included the mythology of the draugr, an undead creature, literally meaning “again-walker”. Not unlike modern zombies, the draugr was a corpse risen from the grave, a decomposed body. It would seek out and attack those who had wronged it in life. So horrifying was the prospect of creating a draugr that special care was taken to ensure a proper burial of the dead.|