Lindow Manchester

New Book on Lindow man
Lindow Man book cover

Lindow Man book cover

Wendy in the Museum shop rang me late this afternoon saying that I probably wouldn’t be interested and it was probably too late but that she had received a newly published book on Lindow Man. I took myself down to the shop and am now the proud owner of Jody Joy’s Lindow Man (The British Museum Press, 2009). The author  needs no introduction to those of us who worked on the Lindow Man exhibition at the Manchester Museum.  Jody is responsible for European Iron Age collections at the British Museum and gave us every assistance when we were preparing our exhibition Lindow Man a Bog Body Mystery.

Like other books in the series (which includes one on an Easter Island statue and the Gayer Anderson cat) this is a highly readable and beautifully illustrated account of the “artefact” in question. Indeed it is almost too well-illustrated with detailed views of Lindow Man’s body. It sets Lindow Man in the context of other discoveries at Lindow Moss, the contemporary murder investigation and the wider pattern of European bog bodies. Although radiocarbon dating showed the body to be ancient, Lindow Man’s death some time between 2 BC and AD 119 raises the question whether Lindow Man died in the Iron Age or some time after the Roman Conquest of  northern Britain.  Separate chapters discuss how Lindow Man was preserved, how he was  investigated forensically and what he looked like. The account notes the more recently discovered Irish bog bodies and refers tantalizingly to the future analysis of Lindow Man’s hair, the kind of research, writes the author that is only possible if human remains are stored securely by museums…

Perhaps the most interesting part of this fascinating little book is the final chapter about reconstructing Lindow Man’s death. After giving the orthodox account of  Lindow Man’s death, other interpretations, notably  Robert Connolly’s critique, are given, but without reaching a definitive conclusion.  And there is a brief discussion of Ronald Hutton’s challenge to previous accounts of Lindow Man’s death. Last but not least there are photographs of BM staff preparing Lindow Man for his temporary exhibition at the Manchester Museum. This book would have benefited   from touching on the current debate about human remains in museums and the 1980s repatriation campaign to bring Lindow Man back to the North West but this being a British Museum publication, this omission is hardly surprising.  All-in-all this is an attractive and highly readable little book that neatly summarizes the current state of knowldege about Britain’s best-preserved bog body. For £5 it represents excellent value.

Lindow Man book cover


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[…] A great deal has been made of the presence of just a few grains of mistletoe pollen but, as Jody Joy, Curator of the Iron Age at the British Museum, has pointed out, this was well within EU toxicity […]

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