Archive for antiquities

More Bodies from the Bog: Grauballe Man

Posted in BODIES IN PRESERVATION with tags , , , , on February 19, 2010 by echostains

Grauballe Man

Another Bog body that I find fascinating is ‘Grauballe’ man.   When I first read ‘The Bog People’ by Professor PV Glob, this was the body that frightened me the most.  Over time though I don’t seem to see the horror any more – just the near perfect preservation of a man who was murdered all that time ago in history (not a nice subject I know) and I feel such pity for that poor man and what he must have suffered  – his throat cut and his skull fractured.

the hand of Grauballe Man

Grauballe man has the best preserved  Iron age body.   Carbon dating places him as living about 55 B.C !   He lay in the peat which preserved him until he was found in 1952 in the village Grauballe in Denmark.  His hair is remarkably spectacular, though the chemicals in the peat have turned it red.   His nails are perfect and his wonderfully preserved fingerprints have been taken!  Was he sacrificed?  No one knows for sure.  His age was about 30 and studies have discovered that he was in the early stages of gout and suffered from arthritus.  Grauballe man was naked apart from a strange cord around his neck.

The Bog Bodies by P V Glob

Tests have also revealed his last supper, still in his intestines, a kind of porridge made of many different grain.

gauballe man

This poem was written about him.  The poet is Seamus Heiney, a well known Irish poet who had a strange fascination for things found in bogs – just like me.

The Grauballe Man

As if he had been poured
in tar, he lies
on a pillow of turf
and seems to weep

the black river of himself.
The grain of his wrists
is like bog oak,
the ball of his heel

like a basalt egg.
His instep has shrunk
cold as a swan’s foot
or a wet swamp root.

His hips are the ridge
and purse of a mussel,
his spine an eel arrested
under a glisten of mud.

The head lifts,
the chin is a visor
raised above the vent
of his slashed throat

that has tanned and toughened.
The cured wound
opens inwards to a dark
elderberry place.

Who will say ‘corpse’
to his vivid cast?
Who will say ‘body’
to his opaque repose?

And his rusted hair,
a mat unlikely
as a foetus’s.
I first saw his twisted face

in a photograph,
a head and shoulder
out of the peat,
bruised like a forceps baby,

but now he lies
perfected in my memory,
down to the red horn
of his nails,

hung in the scales
with beauty and atrocity:
with the Dying Gaul
too strictly compassed

on his shield,
with the actual weight
of each hooded victim,
slashed and dumped.

There are lots more of Heaney’s poems on this excellent site HERE

More facts about Grauballe from his resting place in Moesgard Museum

Another of my posts about bog bodies HERE

Want to see a reconstruction of how he may have looked? HERE

Buy one; get another, then another until eventually you get the Sir John Soane’s Museum

Posted in LONDON (JAUNTS), Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2008 by echostains
Facade of Sir John Soane's museum London

Facade of Sir John Soane’s museum London

What a remarkable place!   What a remarkable man, son of a Bricklayer (b. 1753) Sir John Soane, Architect turned out to be!

 

A Rakes Progress The Rake taking possession of his estate 1734

A Rakes Progress The Rake taking possession of his estate 1734

There are also drawings, prints, furniture, clocks and of course books … the list is endless!  What a great time Soane must have had collecting them all.  He was continually building on and altering  his house in order to accommodate this collection.  The place must have been in a perpetual flux, forever changing.

 

 

 

Sir John Soane's Museum and Library

Sir John Soane’s Museum and Library

Soane wanted to preserve his collection to inform and educate students and amateurs.  He negotiated an Act of Parliament in 1833 to preserve his house and collection to benefit others.  This Act came into being when Soane died in 1837.  The public were encouraged to ‘consult, inspect and benefit’ from these collections and they do.

  Minimal changes have been made to the collections layout.  Each Curator has tried to maintain Soane’s wishes regarding Soane’s arrangements.

Amongst the truly impressive is the giant sarcophagus of Seti 1  c. 1370BC

 

John Soane Sarcophagus room in 1864

John Soane Sarcophagus room in 1864

 

 

and one my Favourite Goddess incarnations: Diana of Ephesus Turkey.

 

Diana of Ephesus

Diana of Ephesus

 I went to Ephesus in Turkey last year: an amazing place: like stepping back into biblical times.

 

Ephesus Turkey

Ephesus Turkey

 

 An exhibition of the Adam Brothers drawings of the Grand Tour (Rome).  These drawings are exquisite, showing meticulous draughtsmanship.  The exhibition runs until 14 February 2009.

 

Adam  brothers Grand  Tour

Adam brothers Grand Tour

The paintings, including the ‘Soane’s Hogarth’s’ read like a National Gallery Guidebook.  Turner, Canaletto, Reynolds, Fuseli, amongst many. 

 

John Soane's Dining Room with portrait

John Soane’s Dining Room with portrait

The actual atmosphere in the house is very tangent In some rooms, almost as if a past inhabitant has just left the room.  Perhaps life goes on as before and Sir John flits about stroking and arranging his collection when the house has been cleared of visitors and shut up for the night.  All those antique influences vibrating as one invisible breath, calling through time ‘Please Visit us!’