At the Time of the Tollund Man
What was the Tollund Man's Life like? - Early Iron Age
The Iron Age lasted from approximately 500 B.C. until 800 A.D. The name "Iron Age" is connected with the fact that after the end of the Bronze Age a method for extracting iron was discovered.
The Tollund Man was alive during the Iron Age. Big picture © Lejre Experimental Centre
The Tollund Man was alive during the first part of the Iron Age. The Iron Age has been subdivided and given names according to the tribes which had the biggest influence on the different time periods.
The time of the Tollund Man, the first part of the Iron Age, is called Celtic Iron Age or pre-Roman Iron Age.
The Celtic Iron Age lasted from approximately 500 B.C. till the birth of Christ. The time period was named after the Celts who lived in Central Europe - mainly in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Southern Germany, Switzerland, Northern Italy, France and England.
The time period from 1 A.D. till approximately 400 A.D. is called Roman Iron Age after the Romans who had conquered most of Europe, right from the countries surrounding the Mediterranean to the Rhine in Northern Germany.
During times of unrest it was necessary to be
on your guard. Big picture © Lejre Experimental Centre
The following time period is the Teutonic Iron Age from approximately 400 till 800 A.D.
Teutons lived in Germany and Northern Europe, and after the fall of the Roman Empire they were the dominating power in Northern Europe.
A significant number of excavations have shown that most of Jutland was populated during the early Iron Age.
A village similar to the ones from the
time of the Tollund Man. Big picture © Lejre Experimental Centre
The houses were rectangular, they were placed with one end facing east and the other facing west and were as long as 20 metres - they had mud-and-wattled walls and the roof was covered with straw or heather. In some cases the houses were placed far from other houses, in other cases they were placed close to each other, thus forming regular villages.
A house was typically divided into two halves - one half was a stable where the livestock were kept in stalls - the other half was where the family resided.
The fireplace was the centre of most of the indoor activities. The women would cook the food at the fireplace which also provided the room with heat and along the walls were sleeping places.
As the discovery of the Tollund Man shows, the people of the Iron Age didn't look that different from the people of today.
Clothes and fashion played an
important role in the Iron Age, too. Big picture © Lejre Experimental Centre
Clothes and fashion played an important role in people's lives during the Iron Age, too.
Everday life in the Iron Age was marked by activities. Clothes and fashion played an important role in the Iron Age. They probably started the day by feeding the livestock. Everybody had to help out and they must have been tired at sunset after which they would sit around the fireplace and listen to stories before falling asleep.
In the basements of the iron-age houses we have discovered supplies of harvested grain, and from studies on the Tollund Man's last meal we know that during the Iron Age people ate a special kind of gruel or porridge made of barley, rye and oat. However, people did eat other kinds of food, too.
When cultivating the fields the iron-age farmer used an ard - a special kind of plough which was pulled by oxen. He had cows, sheep, goats, pigs and horses, and the dog was his trusted companion.
At the time of the Tollund Man people used
a special plough called an ard to plough the
fields. Big picture © Lejre Experimental Centre
People worshipped gods, but we don't know for sure exactly what gods they worshipped. People would make sacrifices to the gods in the bogs in order to stay on good terms with them.
Usually the sacrifices were earthenware vessels containing food, but also livestock or parts of one of the livestock was sacrificed. Maybe they carried out special celebrations and rituals in honour of the gods. Sometimes they sacrificed humans which the discovery of the Tollund Man shows.
When somebody died in the Iron Age, the body was cremated in a funeral pyre, the ashes and the bones were placed in an urn and buried. However, this is not what happened to the Tollund Man or the other bog bodies which have been discovered. It is a strong indication that they were sacrifices to the gods.
Livestock was sacrificed, too. Big picture © Lejre Experimental Centre
During the early Iron Age a significant number of wars took place in Europe, and violence and war were also part of people's lives in Denmark. We have discovered numerous weapons and armaments, which have been sacrificed in the bogs after regular battles.
Research shows that the climate was more wet and the average temperature was noticeably lower than the one of today.
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| More Info
When did the Tollund Man die?
The carbon-14 dating method has been used several times...