Windeby I

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Upper body of Windeby I

Windeby I is the name given to the bog body found preserved in a peat bog near Windeby, Northern Germany, in 1952. Until recently, the body was also called the Windeby Girl, since an archeologist believed it to be the body of a 14-year-old girl, because of its slight build. Prof. Heather Gill-Robinson, a Canadian anthropologist and pathologist, used DNA testing to show the body was actually that of a sixteen-year-old boy.[1] The body has been radiocarbon-dated to between 41 BC and 118 AD.[2]


The body was discovered by commercial peat cutters in 1952, and is now on display at The Landesmuseum at the Schloß Gottorf in Schleswig, Germany. Unfortunately, by the time the body was noticed by the peat cutters, and before the peat-cutting machinery could be shut down, a hand, a foot, and a leg had been severed from the body. The body had been very well preserved by the peat, and despite this damage it is still an important archaeological discovery. Shortly after the discovery of Windeby I, another bog body (an adult male) was found nearby and dubbed Windeby II.


The body appears to have a half-shaven head and a woollen blindfold tied across the eyes. Recent examinations have however established that the hair over the half of the scalp was not shaven, but had rather decomposed due to being exposed to oxygen a little longer than the rest of the body. The "blindfold" is in fact a woollen band, made using the sprang technique, that was probably used to tie back the boy's shoulder-length hair and which had slipped down over his face after death.

Cause of Death[edit]

It was thought[by whom?] the body had met with a violent death, but research by Dr. Heather Gill-Robinson has led to this theory being disputed.[3] Jarrett A. Lobell and Samir S. Patel wrote that the body 'shows no signs of trauma, and evidence from the skeleton suggests [he] may have died from repeated bouts of illness or malnutrition.'[4]

Bones of Windeby I temporarily on display at Archäologisches Landesmuseum
Reconstruction process of the face, by Richard Helmer.

See also[edit]

Some notable bog bodies[edit]

(BCE/CE dates given are radiocarbon dates.)

External links[edit]


  • Gebühr, Michael (2002). Verein zur Förderung des Archäologischen Landesmuseums e.V. (ed.). Moorleichen in Schleswig-Holstein (in German). Neumünster: Wachholtz. ISBN 978-3-529-01870-1.
  • van der Sanden, Wijnand (1996). Through Nature to Eternity - The Bog Bodies of Northwest Europe. Amsterdam: Batavian Lion International. ISBN 978-90-6707-418-6.


Coordinates: 54°27′05″N 9°49′33″E / 54.45139°N 9.82583°E / 54.45139; 9.82583[5]

  1. ^ Gill-Robinson, Heather Catherine (2006). The iron age bog bodies of the Archaeologisches Landesmuseum, Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig, Germany. Manitoba: University of Manitoba. ISBN 978-0-494-12259-4. (Doctors thesis)
  2. ^ Gebühr (2002) p. 47; cited in the corresponding article on German Wikipedia
  3. ^ "'Windeby Girl' Mummy's Secret - She Was A Boy | Science 2.0". 27 August 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  4. ^ Lonell & Patel (May 2010). "Windeby Girl and Weerdinge Couple - Archaeology Magazine Archive". Archaeology. 63 (3). Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  5. ^ Diezel, Hage, Jankuhn, Klenk, Schaefer, Schlabow, Schürtrumpf, Spatz (1958). "Zwei Moorleichenfunde aus dem Domlandsmoor". Praehistorische Zeitschrift (in German). Berlin. 36: 186 Fig 1. doi:10.1515/prhz.1958.36.1.118. ISSN 0079-4848. S2CID 162256752.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)