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Examination of the Stomach Contents

Click for extra large picture
There was approximately 40 different kinds of seeds in The Tollund Man's stomach. Extra large picture.
More illustrations. © Niels Bach
The Tollund Man's alimentary canal
The Tollund Man's alimentary canal.
Big picture

The alimentary canal, which consists of the stomach and intestines, was removed by the forensic examiners in order to be studied more closely - in particular to see if any food had been preserved that could tell us more about his last meal.

Most of the meal had passed through the stomach and into the intestine. Based on that the doctors were able to conclude that he must have eaten somewhere in between 12 to 24 hours before he died.

The Tollund Man's stomach contained traces of grain and seeds such as these
The Tollund Man's stomach con-
tained traces of grain and seeds
such as these. Big picture

A specialist in plants was given the stomach contents for further examination. Under the microscope he was able to see that there were no traces of meat, fish or fresh fruit among the contents, only grain and seeds.

The specialist in plants found many traces of barley, flaxseed, false flax and knotgrass. The last two grow in the wild , whereas barley and flaxseed were cultivated in fields. Traces of other seeds were also found in the contents - some of them had probably been gathered, whereas others may have been mixed in by coincidence. The specialist was able to recognize approximately 40 different kinds of seeds.




 Related Stories
Excavation at the National Museum

Excavation at the National Museum
After the box containing the Tollund Man had been opened carefully...

Autopsy and X-rays
A forensic examiner examined him as if he was the victim of a murder...

Carbon-14 dating
A small sample the size of a thumbnail was taken from the Tollund Man's body...

Finger-prints
The finger-prints were well-preserved and are among the oldest in the world...

Latest Research: CT-scanning
The latest technology can reveal secrets and provide us with new information...

Preservation of the Tollund Man
When the Tollund Man was discovered in 1950, the Danish scientists had never before been faced with the task of preserving a bog body...

 
  More Info
The Tollund Man's last meal
The meal consisted of a kind of porridge or gruel...

What did people eat in the Iron Age?
Milk was an important food in the Iron Age...



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