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Dröbnitz Girl
Human Mummy
Dröbnitz Girl
Biographical Information
Name(s) Dröbnitz Girl
Age 12-14
Sex Female
Status Lost/Destroyed
Height Unknown
Source
Culture Iron Age Poland
Date(s) 650BCE
Site Dröbnitzer Moor, Dröbnitz (Drwęck) Poland
Current Location
Location Lost/Destroyed
Catalog # None

The Dröbnitz Girl was a peat bog body found by Erich Redmann in 1939 at Dröbnitz, East Prussia. She was determined to be between 12 and 14 at the time of her death and lived in the iron age, more specifically the Hallstatt period- about 650 BCE. The girl was found wrapped in furs with her arms crossed over her chest. Both of her legs were removed at the hips in an attempt to recover the mummy and were left in the bog. Despite this, the rest of the mummy was well preserved, with all internal organs recognizable in x-ray analysis, and extremities well preserved.

Background

Dröbnitz Girl was discovered wrapped in a large sheepskin cloak, similarly to many other bog bodies discovered of a similar history. Few grave goods were found associated with the mummy: a wooden comb and a crest. These artifacts taken together with the fur cloak suggest a funeral ritual.

Mummification

The Dröbnitz girl was a peat bog body, meaning that the ultimate cause of her mummification was the tannic acid present in the bog. Whether or not her mumification was intentional by those who buried her or unintentional is unknown. Samples of the bog in which the body was found suggest that when the body was deposited, the bog was actually a shallow pond, which over the millennia silted up, and became the peat bog which it is today.

Studies

The Dröbnitz girl was not thoroughly studied as she was discovered in 1939, and was lost or destroyed during World War II. An autopsy was conducted on the mummy by Konigsberg's physicans,  x-ray analysis of the mummy was conducted, vegetative analysis of the site was conducted by biologist, Dr. H. Gross who also analyzed the mummy's intestinal pollen. Later, Lothar Szidat also conducted an analysis of the girl's intestines.  

Pathology

The contents of her stomach were analyzed, discovering the presence of leaves, flowers, residues of peas, wheat, meat fibers and animal fats. High amounts of pollen were also discovered leading to a theory that the girl died in the springtime. Analysis of the body discovered multiple harris lines, suggesting chronic malnutrition. T. trichirura (whipworm) and A. lumbricoides (roundworm), as well as their eggs, were discovered in Dröbnitz Girl’s gut in a 1944 study by Szidat (Le Bailly et. al). This type of infestation was not uncommon.

External Links

References

Le Bailly, M., Landolt, M., Bouchet, F. (2012). First World War German Soldier Intestinal Worms: An Original Study of a Trench Latrine in France. Journal of Parasitology, 98(6), 1273-1275. 

List of bog bodies. (n.d.). Retrieved from Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias Wiki <http://en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/11607678> 

Morrow, J., Larsen, A., Piombino-Mascali, D., Jankauskas, R., Kozakaitė, J., Araujo, A., Reinhard, K. (2015). Taphonomic considerations of a whipworm infection in a mummy from the Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit, Vilnius, Lithuania. International Journal of Paleopathology, 7(2014), 83-87.

Sanders, K. (2009). Bodies in the Bog and the Archaeological Imagination (pp. 63). University of Chicago Press.

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