Conserving the Lindow Man

Lindow Man

Lindow Man was preserved in a peat bog in Cheshire for nearly two thousand years.

The acidic, oxygen-free conditions in the bog slowed down the rate at which the body decayed. Under such conditions organic material, like skin and hair, can be well preserved. This is the most common cause of preservation of human bodies in northern Europe.

Decay is likely to become established following excavation unless a body is kept at a low temperature. The body of Lindow Man, together with the surrounding peat, was stored in cool conditions and gradually excavated and examined.

To prevent the body from drying out in an uncontrolled way it was sprayed at intervals with cold, distilled water. Parts of the body not being worked on were covered to prevent evaporation.

After the front of the body had been excavated, a support mount was made to fit the contours of the body. This enabled it to be turned over and a thorough scientific examination carried out. International discussions helped to determine the best way to preserve the body. After extensive testing, freeze-drying was selected. The freeze-drying process was considered a success, and after some final cleaning and repair, Lindow Man was placed on display in a specially constructed and environmentally controlled showcase.

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