Windeby I

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Upper body of Windeby I

Windeby I is the name given to the bog body found preserved in a peat bog near Windeby, Northern Germany, in 1952. Until recently, the body was also called the Windeby Girl, since an archeologist believed it to be the body of a 14-year-old girl, because of its slight build. Prof. Heather Gill-Robinson, a Canadian anthropologist and pathologist, used DNA testing to show the body was actually that of a sixteen-year-old boy.[1] The body has been radiocarbon-dated to between 41 BCE and 118 CE. [2]


The body was discovered by commercial peat cutters in 1952, and is now on display at The Landesmuseum at the Schloß Gottorf in Schleswig, Germany. Unfortunately, by the time the body was noticed by the peat cutters, and before the peat-cutting machinery could be shut down, a hand, a foot, and a leg had been severed from the body. The body had been very well preserved by the peat, and despite this damage it is still an important archaeological discovery. Shortly after the discovery of Windeby I, another bog body (an adult male) was found nearby and dubbed Windeby II.


The body appears to have a half-shaven head and a woollen blindfold tied across the eyes. Recent examinations have however established that the hair over the half of the scalp was not shaven, but had rather decomposed due to being exposed to oxygen a little longer than the rest of the body. The "blindfold" is in fact a woollen band, made using the sprang technique, that was probably used to tie back the boy’s shoulder-length hair and which had slipped down over his face after death. Evidence from the body suggests that the boy had been killed, possibly as a sacrifice or a punishment. This idea is supported by the observation that the body was discovered beneath rocks and branches, which were presumably used to hold the body down.

Bones of Windeby I temporarily on display at Archäologisches Landesmuseum
Reconstruction process of the face, by Richard Helmer.

See also[edit]

Some notable bog bodies[edit]

(BCE/CE dates given are radiocarbon dates.)

External links[edit]


  • Gebühr, Michael (2002). Verein zur Förderung des Archäologischen Landesmuseums e.V., ed. Moorleichen in Schleswig-Holstein (in German). Neumünster: Wachholtz. ISBN 3-529-01870-8. 
  • van der Sanden, Wijnand (1996). Through Nature to Eternity - The Bog Bodies of Northwest Europe. Amsterdam: Batavian Lion International. ISBN 90-6707-418-7. 


Coordinates: 54°27′05″N 9°49′33″E / 54.45139°N 9.82583°E / 54.45139; 9.82583[3]

  1. ^ Gill-Robinson, Heather Catherine (2006). The iron age bog bodies of the Archaeologisches Landesmuseum, Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig, Germany. Manitoba: University of Manitoba. ISBN 978-0-494-12259-4.  (Doctors thesis)
  2. ^ Gebühr (2002) p. 47; cited in the corresponding article on German Wikipedia
  3. ^ Diezel, Hage, Jankuhn, Klenk, Schaefer, Schlabow, Schürtrumpf, Spatz (1958). Zwei Moorleichenfunde aus dem Domlandsmoor. Praehistorische Zeitschrift (in German). 36. Berlin: de Gruyter. pp. 186 Fig 1. ISSN 0079-4848.