The Recreation of Irish Peat Bog Environments to Recreate Biological Mummification

Jordyn Elaine Bush, Kristy Henson

Abstract


JORDYN BUSH, Department of Natural Science, Forensic Science Department, Fairmont State University, Fairmont, West Virginia, 26554, and KRISTY HENSON, Department of Natural Science, Forensic Science Department, Fairmont State University, Fairmont, West Virginia, 26554.The Recreation of Irish Peat Bog Environments to Recreate Biological Mummification. 

Bog people were individuals subjected to human sacrifice starting around 8,000 BCE. After death these individuals were placed into bogs around northern Europe and remained there until the 17th - 19th centuries when the bogs were being destroyed for farmland. The bog people were naturally mummified by the peat bog environment dumbfounding scholars of that time. The objective of this study was to create a peat bog environment and recreate biological mummification. Three large fish tanks were placed in a refrigerator that maintained the bog temperature of -4° C. One tank was filled with dechlorinated water to serve as the control. Two tanks were used to recreate the bog environment. The bog tanks were filled with dechlorinated water, peat moss, sphagnum moss, decomposing leaves, algae, and Alphaproteobacteria. Hairless, fetal kittens were placed into each tank and monitored weekly. The control specimen became bloated and several layers of tissue dissolved. The specimens in the bog environments show noticeable skin shrinkage and darkening consistent with mummification. 

This research was made possible by NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Training Grant #NNX15AI01H.


Keywords


Biological Mummification; Bog Environment

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