The final meal of the famous Toland man revealed تول
A new study has revealed that the famous Tollund Man ate a modest but nutritious meal before he was hanged around 400 BC.
Scientists have re-examined the last meal of the famous Tollund man, a naturally mummified corpse found in a swamp on Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula in 1950.
The new analysis reveals that he likely ate a meal of fish and seed-packed porridge from the Iron Age, and consumed sometime between 12 and 24 hours before his death.
Although it seems rather ordinary, threshing waste containing wild seeds was used as an ingredient in porridge, suggesting ritual practices.
They also found that the Tollund Man had several parasitic infections – likely because he had eaten undercooked meat and contaminated water at some point before death.
Tollund Man is a bog body – which means it has been incredibly well preserved for over 2,000 years in the unique conditions of a natural peat bog.
Previous research identified his cause of death as a murder by hanging of unknown causes before his body was placed in the swamp.
The Touldman may have been a criminal or it may have been sacrificed as part of a ritual practice to “please the gods”.
The amazingly well-preserved head of Toland Man – a man who lived during the 4th century BC
Toulond man’s last meal
Shown by protein analysis
335 grams of barley grains
29 grams of faded bascaria seeds
16 grams flax seeds
Small amounts of other seeds
Traces of twenty other plant species were also found in the guts.
But they made up less than 1 percent and may not have been an intended part of the meal.
Sand, coal and other residues were also found.
The contents of the Tollund Man’s gut were forensically analyzed when it was discovered in 1950, revealing traces of grains and wild plants.
When Tollund Man’s body was autopsied in 1950, his intestines were still preserved, and the gut was removed from the stomach to the anus as a single piece with its contents still in place.
Now, experts from the Silkeborg Museum in Denmark say they have been able to reconstruct the Tollund man’s last meal in more detail than ever before — right down to how it was prepared.
The researchers used a few milliliters of large intestine material to analyze it to give the “most detailed study” to date of the gut contents of the swamp body.
“Since knowledge of large plant fossils and methods for analyzing gut contents has improved dramatically since 1950, we decided to re-examine the gut contents of the Tollund man,” said study author Dr. Nina H. Nielsen of the Silkeborg Museum.
In this way, we come very close to a particular situation in the past – you can almost imagine how they were sitting by the fireplace preparing barley porridge and fish.
We can now largely reconstruct the Tollund Man’s last meal recipe.
Porridge was probably a typical Iron Age dish in northern Europe, and fish was also eaten in this period, although it did not form a large part of the diet.
a) Where to find the Tollund Man and b) Tollund Man’s large intestine. When Tollund Man was autopsied in 1950, his intestines were still preserved
His last meal was cooked in a clay pot, likely using lake or swamp water, according to experts.
His “perfectly nutritious” porridge consists of barley, flaxseeds, faded fragrant seeds and other seeds in “negligible quantities”, including the gold seeds of pleasure.
The dull mare seeds – which grew as weeds – were probably removed as the grain was cleaned during threshing and combined with the grain.
The use of threshing waste containing dull mare in porridge could be associated with ritual human sacrifice, or it may have been part of normal Iron Age cooking.
“Currently, we don’t know if using threshing waste in an Iron Age kitchen is a normal practice or whether this ingredient is only used for special occasions such as human sacrifices,” said Dr. Nielsen.
Micrograph of the gut content of a Tollund Man. Tollund Man was hanged for unknown reasonsلأسباب
Reconstruction of components in a Tollund Man’s last meal, as shown in amounts associated with intestinal contents: a) barley; b) pale varsicaria; c) barley slices; D) linen. e) black cannabis f) The fat chicken. g) sand h) hemp plant. i) The fun is gone. j) Spore corn. k) pansy field
Threshing waste was previously found at Grauballe Man, in a peat bog near the village of Grauballe in Jutland, Denmark.
The plant-based ingredients together provided nearly half of the daily calories for a person with limited physical activity.
Traces of 20 other plant species were found in the viscera, but they made up less than 1 percent and may not have been an intended part of the meal.
In addition to the seeds, threshing waste, including sand, charcoal, and other droppings, appears to have been used as an ingredient in porridge.
Micrographs of the gut contents of a Tollund Man: a) barley pollen array; b) The epidermal cells of flax. c) Epidermal cells of barley. D) an egg of a whipworm. e) Goat worm eggs. f) an egg of a tapeworm
Eggs of whipworms, cattleworms, and tapeworms were common in the gut contents of the Tollund man and appear to be infected with intestinal parasites.
Whipworm and flatworm have previously been found in many bog bogs, but this is the first time that a tapeworm has been reported.
The most likely cause of a tapeworm infection was that a Toland man at one time had eaten raw or undercooked meat infected with tapeworm cysts.
Infection with whipworms and ringworms reflect poor hygiene, as they are transmitted by eggs found in human faeces, leading to soil contamination in areas where sanitation is poor.
The researchers claim that their study “shows that it may be useful to re-analyze the contents of the body’s gut” to reveal the secrets of the past.
Because of their exceptionally good preservation, swamp bodies can provide detailed insights into people’s appearance, clothing, and death, as well as their last meal, health, and where they lived.
The new research has been published in the journal Antiquity.
animal body chemistry
Bog carcasses are human remains preserved in natural peat bogs, mostly in northern and western Europe but also elsewhere.
These swamps are anaerobic (oxygen devoid) environments – a condition that prevents decay.
It’s also heavy with tannins, a group of natural chemicals used in leather tanning.
Tannins preserve organic matter like human bodies, including the soft tissues and contents of the digestive system.
This means that the soft parts of the body – such as the skin, hair, and stomach contents – are well preserved in bodies recovered from bogs.
The most well-preserved corpses – such as the woman from Holdermus, the Graupale Mann and the Tollonde Man – are found in the high swamps.
However, many other conditions must also be met in order to prevent microorganisms from breaking down the human body. The corpse should be drowned in water or dug into the ground and quickly covered.
In addition, body deposition must occur when the water of the swamp is cold in winter or early spring, otherwise the process of decay can begin.
Archaeological excavations have also shown that some bog carcasses from the end of the Bronze Age and early Iron Age were placed in ancient peat pits and that the bodies were grabbed with sticks or weeds.
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica / National Museum of Denmark