Sunday, October 7, 2012

Britain's Bogs

A battle over bogs brews in Britain. A bog, or peat bog, accumulates because plants decompose slowly in waterlogged soil.  Bogs can spread widely.  Bogs burgeoned in the cool and humid lowlands of northern England and central and north east Scotland. Britain's bogs are thought to have developed 5,000 to 6,000 years ago.  Peat was cut and dried for centuries and used for fuel.  In modern times, peat has been praised as an ideal medium for growing and mulching gardens.   Advocates are passionate about the benefits to the soil.   Bogs build slowly, adding about 1/2 inch in 100 years. Today  there is widespread support for a ban on cutting in order to preserve the unique bog habitat. The British will manage this touchy issue.  After all, they managed to ban fox hunting.  I am willing to bet that the remaining bogs will be preserved.  That will be an ecological win, but with an unfortunate unintended consequence.  Out of the British bogs have come archaeological treasures.  The most astonishing was the discovery of the upper torso of a man buried in the deep Lindow Moss outside Manchester.  He turned up during a commercial peat harvest.  His body bore the clear signs of ritual sacrifice, and has been a goldmine of clues to the mysteries of Druid society.  There have been other similar finds, all well preserved in the oxygen-free acidic moisture of the peat.  If no more bogs are cut, no more mysteries will be revealed.  So. Indulge your curiosity.  Read about Lindow Man in this short, action packed book, "The Life and Death of a Druid Prince".  You will learn what he ate for his last supper, why he might have died and much more.  A first century thriller.

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