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Perfect Corpse, The

Program Overview

Note: This program contains details about the brutal deaths that occurred to the two bog bodies featured in the show. You should preview the program to determine its appropriateness for your classroom.

NOVA follows scientists who seek to learn about the lives and deaths of two ancient bodies discovered in European bogs.

The program:

  • reports on how Oldcroghan Man was discovered in a central Ireland bog in 2003.

  • notes why bogs are good at preserving soft tissue in human bodies.

  • recalls some of the other bog bodies that have been discovered in Ireland.

  • reports on another body found just three months prior to Oldcroghan Man and just 25 miles away, named Clonycavan Man.

  • presents the forensic analysis that scientists perform on the bodies, including pathology tests, fingerprint analysis, carbon-14 dating, CT and MRI scans, dental review, X-ray fluorescence, scanning electron microscope analysis, and more.

  • describes how scientists use historical documents to help determine information about the two bodies.

  • reveals the results of the carbon-14 tests, which date both bodies to the Early Iron Age.

  • relates how scientists tried to determine why the two men died.

  • notes the conclusions drawn about each man's physical appearance, diet, lifestyle, and manner of death.

  • offers a new theory on why the two men may have been buried: they were offerings by kings to the gods of fertility to ensure a successful reign.

  • reports how the bodies were freeze-dried prior to being put on display at the National Museum of Ireland.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after the program is taped off the air.

Teacher's Guide
Perfect Corpse, The