Bernuthsfeld Man
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Bernuthsfeld Man aka Bernie
Sex m
Culture Tuetonic
Date(s) 660 - 780
Site Hogehahn bog in Lower Saxony, Germany
Current Location
Location East Frisian State Museum Emden, Germany
Catalog #

Bernuthsfeld Man was discovered on 24 May 1907 by peat workers. The body was wrapped in several garments, including a tunic with sleeves made from 43 pieces of textile, and two long leg wrappings. A sheath which may have held an approximately 6-inch-long knife was discovered on the body. His heavily worn tunic was constructed out of 20 different fabrics in 9 different weaving patterns


According to the discoverers, the body had been buried in a grave pit carefully padded with moss in a north-south orientation. A large branch was placed over the body. Bernuthsfeld Man died between A.D. 660 and 780.


Studies from 2011 and 2012 found a medium-sized man between 30 and 60 years old.

The man's extraordinarily well-preserved clothing provides information about the production and wearing of textiles in the early Middle Ages. He wore an often patched, knee-length, long-sleeved wool coat. The fabrics had different colours and patterns, (exact colour analyses are still pending). Over the coat, he wore a smock about 200 cm long and 170 cm wide, which was sewn together from two different fabrics. The basic material of the coat was made of herringbone patterns of thick, loosely spun yarn made of sheep's wool. According to the textile archaeologist, the coat was made according to practical but decorative aspects.


He had experienced some health or nutritional crises during his growth, which was evident in Harris lines on the long bones, suffered from chronic osteoarthritis in his hip joints. He had a well-healed rib fracture, his spine had a fused vertebra caused by an inflammatory disease, he suffered from a common sinus infection,  a skull fracture was ruled as postmortem, which probably only occurred due to the pressure of the bog. There was no evidence of violence, and he may have died from natural causes, scans indicate he may have been suffering from cancer.


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