Discover more from Ancient Origins UNLEASHED
700-Year-Old Cold Case: Who Murdered Bocksten Man and Why?
Approximately seven centuries ago, a young individual, now referred to as the 'Bocksten Man', suffered three blows to his cranium, was subsequently thrown into a peat bog, and anchored down with three wooden stakes to ensure he remained submerged. What is the backdrop to this eerie conclusion of the man's existence, and what drove his assailants to guarantee his remains stayed hidden?
Ancient Origins UNLEASHED is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
The Unearthing of the Bocksten Man
In the initial part of the 20th century, the remains of the Bocksten Man were unearthed in a peat bog situated in Bocksten, Sweden. From the attire he donned, which remained fairly intact due to the marshy state of the bog, it was inferred that he existed in the 14th century. His garments further hinted at his elevated societal status.
Details of the Discovery
In 1936, the Bocksten Man was unearthed. Upon discovery, the body lay face down, pinned to the ground with a roofing substance. Local law enforcement was alerted, confirming the body was of ancient origin. It was subsequently moved to the Varberg Museum for further analysis. Continuous research over the years has uncovered intriguing details about this individual.
Bocksten Man's Garments
Interestingly, the clothing of the Bocksten Man is among the most immaculately preserved medieval attire in Europe. His ensemble included a tunic, a cloak, a hood, woolen stockings, and leather footwear. He also had two leather belts and a pair of knives. Initial replicas of his outfit were later determined to be somewhat incorrect. After a second assessment between 1979 and 1981, adjustments were made to the replicas. His attire hinted at his high societal status and led to theories about potential motives behind his demise.
The Final Hours
An analysis of Bocksten Man's remains suggests he was in his early thirties when he met his end. His preserved lengthy hair strengthens the notion of his notable status within his community. Moreover, three impact marks, possibly from a blunt object like a staff or mallet, were identified on his skull. It's believed these traumas, particularly the last one, might have led to his death. There is also an alternative theory that suggests he may have passed away naturally and the injuries occurred posthumously.
If the Bocksten Man's death was indeed a homicide, there are two prevailing theories. One posits he was recruiting troops and was assassinated for this. Another theory suggests he was a revenue collector, making him a target. Notably, a piece of straw roofing was embedded in his chest, possibly to deter any posthumous retaliation.
Roughly a decade back, using cutting-edge techniques, Bocksten Man's visage was recreated. Initially, a duplicate of his skull was crafted, and then a digital scan was employed. The damaged portions of the skull were restored, and the facial structure was slightly broadened due to potential compression from centuries in the bog. This representation of Bocksten Man is currently on exhibit at the Halland Museum of Cultural History (which used to be known as the Varberg County Museum).
From the pristine condition of Bocksten Man’s medieval attire to the chilling circumstances surrounding his demise, the questions raised continue to captivate historians and enthusiasts alike. While cutting-edge technology has allowed us a glimpse of his countenance, the motivations and identities of his potential assailants remain obscured by the mists of time.
By Wu Mingren
Carlson, M., 1996. The Bocksten Bog Man. [Online]
Available at: http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/cloth/bockback.html
Marknad Varberg, 2012. The Bocksten´s man. [Online]
Available at: http://visitor.marknadvarberg.se/bockstensmannen
Nilsson, O. D., 2013. The man in the bog. [Online]
Available at: http://www.odnilsson.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=57
The Local, 2006. Bocksten Man shows his face after 700 years. [Online]
Available at: http://www.thelocal.se/20060602/3975
The Local, 2006. Swedish bog man murdered - 700 years ago. [Online]
Available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20061231160519/http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=2920
World Archaeology, 2006. Swedish Bocksten Man Brought to Life. [Online]
Available at: https://www.world-archaeology.com/more/swedish-bocksten-man-brought-to-life.htm
www.forest.gen.nz, 2017. The Bocksten Tunic. [Online]
Available at: http://www.forest.gen.nz/Medieval/articles/garments/bocksten/bocksten.html
Facebook: Approximately seven centuries ago, a young individual, now referred to as the 'Bocksten Man', suffered three blows to his cranium, was subsequently thrown into a peat bog, and anchored down with three wooden stakes to ensure he remained submerged. Who killed this unfortunate man, and why?
Tags: cold case, crime, murder, unsolved, bog bodies, Sweden, medieval