Ecological Studies Volume 111, 1995, pp 15-29

Utilization of Peatlands

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Abstract

The mires of Central Europe were left undisturbed for a long time because of their high water content, poor accessibility, and man’s inability to farm them using primitive means. Man generally found mires unpleasant. Criminals took refuge in peatland areas and the condemned were executed there (Lüttig 1989). Extremely well preserved bodies have been found in peat deposits (Glob 1969; Hayen 1990) — the most famous of them being the 2000-year-old “Tollund man” in Denmark. These people appear to have been sacrificed in some ritual, perhaps to ensure luck and fertility for the peasant community in the coming year (Glob 1969).