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These Pre-Roman Iron Age peoples lived in sedentary communities, who had built villages, and whose society was hierarchical.

Many of these Iron Age bodies bear a number of similarities, indicating a known cultural tradition of killing and depositing these people in a certain manner.

For these people, the bogs held some sort of liminal significance, and indeed, they placed into them votive offerings intended for the Other world, often of neck-rings, wristlets or ankle-rings made of bronze or more rarely gold. Many bog bodies show signs of being stabbed, bludgeoned, hanged or strangled, or a combination of these methods. In the case of the Osterby Man found at Kohlmoor, near Osterby, Germany in 1948, the head had been deposited in the bog without its body. Glob, "this probably indicates the wish to pin the dead man firmly into the bog." Some bodies show signs of torture, such as Old Croghan Man, who had deep cuts beneath his nipples.

In a number of cases, twigs, sticks or stones were placed on top of the body, sometimes in a cross formation, and at other times, forked sticks had been driven into the peat to hold the corpse down. Some bog bodies, such as Tollund Man from Denmark, have been found with the rope used to strangle them still around their necks.

When such specimens are exposed to the normal atmosphere, they may begin to decompose rapidly.

As a result, many specimens have been effectively destroyed.


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