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2 February 2008
Lindow Man goes back to his roots

Lindow Man is to return to close to the spot where he met an appalling death almost 2,000 years ago, skull smashed in, strangled, stabbed, and finally dumped face down into the bog pool which preserved the evidence of his last terrible hours. He has been one of the star exhibits at the British Museum since his discovery in 1984 by peat cutters at Lindow Moss in Cheshire. The museum is now sending him on a year-long loan to Manchester Museum. He has been on display in the Manchester Museum twice before, in 1987 and 1991. "I am delighted people in the north-west will once again have the opportunity to meet this everyman of prehistoric Britain," said the London museum's director, Neil MacGregor.
     Lindow Man, dated to the mid-first century CE, is the best-preserved ancient body found in Britain, and one of a haunting group of scores of bodies found in bogs across northern Europe which have provoked debate among archaeologists. Like many of the others found across Europe he was a healthy man in the prime of life, although he had the beginnings of osteoporosis in his spine, and intestinal parasites. The remains of his one surviving hand have neatly trimmed nails and fingertips with no sign of the wear of hard manual labour. Scientists discovered his last meal was a piece of unleavened bread.
     "The jury really is still out on these bodies," curator Jody Joy said, "whether they were aristocrats, priests, criminals, outsiders, whether they went willingly to their deaths or whether they were executed - but Lindow was a very remote place in those days, an unlikely place for an ambush or a murder. We may never know exactly how and why he died," Joy said, "but I believe science will have a great deal to tell us about how he lived."
     Although the bodies are tanned to leather, they are fragile and in danger of decay and mould. Lindow Man will be on display in Manchester from April.

Sources: BBC News, The Guardian (28 January 2008)

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