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Drenthe bog bodies

The Yde girl is back in her familiar place in the Drents Museum. Due to the expansion of our cafe, we couldn't show her for a while. By popular request, she is temporarily back. In addition to the Yde girl, a few other bog bodies from the museum's collection can also be admired. As can the reconstruction of the head of 'our girl’.

The Drents Museum is currently working hard on the new collection presentation. This will be on display in mid-2023 and will include archaeology, art and history.

Special finds
The prehistoric bog bodies are masterpieces from the museum's archaeology collection. These people were left behind in the bogs of Drenthe during the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman times. Often these corpses show traces of violence, which indicates that most of these people did not get lost or perish, but were killed and then deliberately placed in the bog, probably as an offering to the gods.

The Emmer-Erfscheidenveen man
Middle Bronze Age, c. 1380-1100 BC.

In 1938, a boy got the shock of his life when he found a bog body, presumably an adult man, in the bog. The boy and his father took the body home in a cardboard box, where many people visited 'the bloke in a bearskin'. Incidentally, the man is not wearing a bearskin, but is wrapped in a cloak of calfskin. He is also wearing a woollen tunic, a sheepskin cap and a deerskin shoe. The man from Emmer-Erfscheidenveen lived in the Bronze Age and is the oldest bog body found in the Netherlands. His clothing is also among the oldest in the Netherlands.

In this temporary exhibition, you come face to face with people from a distant past and gain insight into their beliefs, health, clothing, diet and appearance.

The Aschbroeken man
Middle Bronze Age, c. 1316-928 B.C.

Many people think of a bog body as a well-preserved human body with skin and hair. But the Aschbroeken man is a skeleton that was found in 1931 in a peat pit near Weerdinge. The skull was lost soon after it was found, but we know that this is the body of an adult man aged between 35 and 45. Examination of his bones shows that the man had broken his right upper arm once. The fracture healed, but not quite properly, so the arm pointed slightly outwards. It also turned out that the Aschbroeken man had had growth spurts from the age of nine. He was probably ill or did not get enough to eat during these periods. How and why the man ended up in the bog is not clear.

The Erica arm
Middle Iron Age, c. 520-200 B.C

This detached left arm of unknown origin was hidden for a long time in a drawer in the antiquities room of Emmen. We now suspect that it is part of a bog body that was found in the peat by a peat cutter in May 1921. Old letters and newspaper reports show that this presumably male bog corpse was divided into several pieces after its discovery. The feet and one arm ended up with municipal constable Grooters. He probably transferred the arm to the antiquities room in Emmen, from where the arm was transferred to Assen in 1986. Unfortunately, we will never know what happened to the rest of the bog body.

The Exloërmond man
Middle Iron Age, c. 510-180 B.C.

In May 1914, two men found a naked and fairly complete 'human body' lying face down in the bog. The body was soon sold to a trader who wanted to exhibit it on the market in Groningen, but fortunately the museum was able to buy the bog body just in time. When it was discovered, the body was still in reasonably good condition, but unfortunately it has since dried out and been damaged, making it difficult to determine the sex of this person. Given the stubble on the chin of this bog body, it is probably an adult male. Examination of his intestines shows that just before his death he ate a meal containing barley, millet and pulses (perhaps peas).

The Yde Girl*
Roman period, c. 190 B.C.-220 A.D. By far the best known bog body in the Drent Museum is the Yde Girl. She is an adolescent girl of about sixteen who was strangled with a woollen band around the turn of the century. She was placed in the bog near Yde and lay there for almost two thousand years, until two workers found her in 1897 while cutting peat. After overcoming their initial shock, the men dredged a large part of the body and fragments of a cloak from the bog. Unfortunately, curious local residents pulled out her teeth and hair. Examination of the body revealed that the girl had a crooked spine due to scoliosis and that half her hair was shaved off just before she was killed. In 1992, Richard Neave reconstructed the girl's face based on a CT scan of her skull.

* New collection presentation
At the moment, the Drents Museum is working hard on the new collection presentation. This will be on display at the end of 2022 and will include archaeology, art and history. Until then, the rest of our archaeology collection, including the boat, is not on display.