If the cover doesn't grab kids then the pictures on the inside will. This fascinating book tells about the various bodies that have been recovered from the bogs of Northern Europe. The book explains the differences between fen peat and bog peat and the reasons why the latter can preserve human remains. What scientists have learned from these preserved bodies makes for interesting reading. For example, they can tell what the last meal was, whether the person died of natural causes or was a sacrificial victim, and with the use of computers, the faces and bodies of these bog mummies have been reconstructed. It is eerie, especially the pictures, but it also tells much about life in the past. As scientific skills increase, we may learn even more. Pair this with related books about other mummies such as Tanaka's The Buried City of Pompeii and Discovering the Iceman; Reinhard's Discovering the Inca Ice Maiden; Getz's Frozen Girl and Bunting's I am the Mummy Heb-Nefert. There is a bibliography and index.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Those fascinated by mummies will be taken with
Bodies from the Bog. Enriched with color photographs of gruesome human remains from bogs in Ireland, England, Germany, Denmark, and Holland, Deem's text includes both the history of these human remains and relics as well as a scientific explanation of why after thousands of years the bodies are still in such remarkable shape. For example, bodies lost in fens deteriorate, but peat bogs full of sphagnan, a substance in sphagnum moss, prevent the growth of microbes. Mysteries still surround these ancient remains. Who were they? Why were many of them put into the bogs in the first place, some with their throats slit and others with ropes around their necks? Were they criminals, or deformed children, or witches, or human sacrifices? This brief but tantalizing book with its bibliography and index will prove irresistible to young readers who will find the science accessible and clearly explained. KLIATT Codes: JS-Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1998, Houghton Mifflin, 42p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 12 to 18. Janet Julian
Gr 5-8Much of life in northern Europe during the Iron Age is terra incognita to scholars and scientists due to a lack of written records and physical artifacts. However, like some sort of gruesome signposts, "bog bodies" have appeared as peat bogs were cut for fuel, and these sometimes well-preserved corpses (when investigated with cutting-edge forensic methods) have provided murky windows to that ancient past. Deem's carefully researched photo-essay examines the newest information on these remarkable finds and pieces it with other known facts to present as clear a picture of these people as possible under the circumstances. Some are obviously sacrificial victims; others may be guilty of some crime or act punishable by death. The bodies themselves, in various stages of preservation and decay, whisper down the ages in half-heard, almost indecipherable voices, hinting at religious beliefs and justice codes unknown to us. A chapter on the bogs themselves gives readers a clear understanding of this unusual preservation process, and the whole is lavished with crisp full-color photos (and sepia-toned historical ones). Obviously, the high "ick factor" here will attract cursory attention, but united with Donna Jackson's eloquent The Bone Detectives (Little, Brown, 1996) and Janet Buell's Bog Bodies (21st Century Bks., 1997), which focuses on Lindow Man I, these books should motivate some intense and extremely interesting research.Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
A fascinating, if gruesome, look at the history and science of preserved human remains uncovered in peat bogs in Ireland, England, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany. Discoveries of bog mummies, skeletons, and body fragments are described, as are the scientific methods of investigating them. One chapter also details other items found in the bogs (jewelry, a wagon, a cauldron), while another describes the ecology of the bogs. Although the dating and causes of death are difficult to ascertain precisely, various clues enable scientists to assign specific periods between 4500 b.c. and 1500 a.d. during which the bodies were deposited in the bogs, and to make likely guesses about the nature of the deaths. Some of the victims seem to have been sacrificed, while others show signs of stabbing or hanging. The text is both engaging and accessible, and the starkly dramatic photographs are given dignity by the spacious and understated page design.
"The high "ick factor" here will attract cursory attention." School Library Journal, Starred
"The text is both engaging and accessible, and the starkly dramatic photographs are given dignity by the spacious and understated page design." Horn Book