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Lindow Woman is the name given to the partial remains of a female bog body, discovered in a peat bog at Lindow Moss, near Wilmslow in Cheshire, England, on 13 May 1983 by commercial peat-cutters. The remains were largely a skull fragment, with soft tissue and hair attached, and were dated to the Roman period. It was more technically known Lindow I after another body was discovered in the same bog, which is identified as Lindow Man or Lindow II, the most extensive bog body yet found in England.
The bog body of Lindow I was discovered on 13 May 1983 by commercial peat cutters Andy Mould and Stephen Dooley. They first noticed an unusual item on the conveyor belt, which was similar in shape and size to a football. They took the object from the conveyor to examine it more closely. After they removed the adhesive remains of peat, they realized the incomplete preserved human head with attached remnants of soft tissue, brain, eye, optic nerve, and hair.
The police summoned by the Scouts[clarification needed] suspected a crime, confiscated the remains and launched an investigation for murder. For over two decades, a local 57-year-old man Peter Reyn-Bardt, had been under suspicion of murdering his estranged wife, Malika de Fernandez, and of disposing of her body.
When questioned, Reyn-Bardt assumed that the skull fragment came from his wife's body, saying, "It has been so long I thought I would never be found out." Afterward, he made a full confession about how he had killed De Fernandez in June 1961, after she returned home, found that he was sharing the premises with another man, and attempted to extort Reyn-Bardt in return for not revealing his homosexuality (still criminalized under British law at the time). Reyn-Bardt subsequently dismembered De Fernandez's body and buried the pieces in a trench leading to the bog.
Reyn-Bardt was set for trial before Chester Crown Court in December 1983. By then, Carbon-14 dating of the skull fragment had returned a date of 1740 ± 80BP (c. 250 AD). Reyn-Bardt tried to revoke his confession, but he was still convicted of his wife's murder even though no trace of her own body was found.
Today, only the bony remains of the skull from the discovery exist because of improper handling of evidence by the police. The remains of the skull were anthropologically known as probably belonging to a 30–50-year-old woman. Recent studies have however raised doubts about the sex of the individual. Another body was recovered in the area in 1987 and this was referred to as Lindow III. It was headless and some scientists believe that this was the body of the Lindow Woman. A theory described the killings of both Lindow I and II as ritual sacrifice attributed to the Celtic and Germanic enclaves.
- Aufderheide, Arthur (2003). The Scientific Study of Mummies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 180. ISBN 0521818265.
- Don Reginald Brothwell, British Museum / Trustees (Hrsg.): . 4. Auflage. British Museum Publications, London 1991, ISBN 0-7141-1384-0, S. 15, Abb. 5.
- "Ancient Skull Leads Man to Confess to Wife's Murder". The Courier. 14 December 1983. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
- "Unearthing the living dead". Mail & Guardian. 9 April 1998. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
- Brothwell 1986, p. 12.
- Wilcox, Charlotte (2006). Bog Mummies: Preserved in Peat. Mankato, Minnesota: Capstone Press. p. 7. ISBN 0736813063.
- Risden, E.L. (2006). Sir Gawain and the Classical Tradition: Essays on the Ancient Antecedents. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 71. ISBN 0786420731.
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