Elling Woman
Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Name(s) Elling Woman
Age Appx. 25 years
Sex Female
Status Unknown
Height Unknown
Culture Iron Age (350-100BCE)
Date(s) Born c. 305BCE

Died c. 280BCE Discovered 1938

Site Bjeldskovdal Bog, Silkeborg, Denmark
Current Location
Location Silkeborg Museum
Catalog # none
The Elling Woman mummy is a pre-Roman Iron Age mummy that was discovered in 1938 in the Bjeldskovdal Bog near Silkeborg, Denmark. She is notable both for her proximity to another bog body, The Tollund Man, and her elaborate hairstyle.


Elling Woman lived in Denmark during the pre-Roman Iron Age (350-100BCE), and likely lived in a small, rural village. The exact reason behind her death is unknown, but possibilities include ritual sacrifice, murder, or execution, though most believe sacrifice is the most likely option. She was mistakenly thought a male at discovery until X-rays of her pelvis confirmed her to be female. She died after hanging, she is quite similar to other ritual sacrifices during the Iron Age, including Tollund Man. Her remains were discovered in Silkeborg, Denmark by a local farmer, Jens Zakariasson, in 1938.


After her hanging, the Elling Woman was placed into the peat bog as a means of burial. Elling Woman is believed to be naturally mummified in the Bjeldskovdal bog, West of Silkeborg in Denmark. Her preservation levels were uneven, while the back of her body were in good condition, the front was degraded enough that it was impossible to tell the sex of the mummy at first. Her upper body was wrapped in one sheepskin cape, while her legs and feet covered by another sheepskin cape. She also wore a woven belt around her waist. Elling Woman was hanged with a leather belt, which has left a V-shaped furrow that is clearly visible in her neck. The belt had a sliding knot, which makes it more suitable for execution purposes.


In 1976, Elling Woman was subjected to Carbon-14 and X-ray tests. This helped reveal her age at the time of death. Additionally, closer examination of the body allowed experts to notice a furrow on her chest. This suggested that she had been hung, and had not died of natural causes.

Recreation of Elling Woman's hairstyle


The Elling Woman's cause of death was by hanging. No other contributing factors to her death have been discovered.


It is interesting to note the Elling Woman's clothes and hairstyle when she died, as this gives insight to the time period she lived in. Her clothes, such as her cloak and leather belt [1], confirm that these articles of clothing were very commonplace to that era and region. In addition, her hairstyle was a braided pigtail which was knotted at the neck, which may hold cultural significance. It extended down almost a metre. [2]


[1] (1997). Violence in the Bogs. Retrieved from

[2] (2004). Elling Woman. Retrieved from

[3] (30 June 2013). Tollund Man, Elling Woman and the Iron Age. Retrieved from

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