Iron Age peat cutting and ritual depositions in bogs – new evidence from Fuglsøgaard Mose, Denmark

Morten Fischer Mortensen, Charlie Christensen, Karin Johannesen, Ernst Stidsing, Reno Fiedel, Jesper Olsen

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With the discovery of peat and gyttja deposits containing archaeological remains, sealed below colluvium, at Fuglsøgaard in eastern Jutland came a rare opportunity to investigate an Iron Age votive bog with abundant traces of peat cutting and subsequent ritual deposition. Pollen analyses show that before, during and after the votive phase, the bog lay in an open cultural landscape surrounded by arable fields and pastures. Around 180 BC, extensive peat extraction commenced in the bog, targeting the well-humified wood peat that could be found in the deeper layers. It is estimated that 250-500 m2 of peat was removed, leaving the bog with numerous small water-filled pits, i.e. peat cuts. These water-filled peat cuts then had a secondary role as elements in votive activities in which ritual depositions were made of pottery vessels, parts of domestic animals, wooden objects, bundles of flax, quantities of white/light-coloured stones etc. More than 130 pottery vessels from period II of the Pre-Roman Iron Age (250-1 BC) have been excavated at the site. All the depositions included white/light-coloured stones, and these appear to have been a general feature of many ritual depositions in votive bogs at this time.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDanish Journal of Archaeology
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2020

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