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Perfect Corpse, The

Perfect Corpse, The

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Item Number:
56 min.
Closed Caption:
WGBH Boston Video
Grade Level:
7 - 12
It was a gruesome discovery: a headless human torso with huge arms, dug up accidentally in an Irish peat bog. The almost perfectly preserved corpse showed brutal marks of torture. But it wasn't a recent murder: it fitted a pattern of hundreds of other bog bodies dug up across northern Europe dating to the ancient Iron Age, 2,000 years ago. All of them have one thing in common: horrifically violent deaths.

Were these bog bodies sacrifices to the gods? Or executions of wrongdoers? To find out, NOVA followed an 18-month forensic investigation of two prehistoric Irish corpses, teasing apart tiny clues to the social class, diet, and even hairstyles of the victims. The surprising evidence takes viewers back to the intriguing rituals and beliefs of the ancient Celts and their priests, the Druids, who dominated Europe long before the coming of the Romans. Through these violent deaths, NOVA opens a unique window on the vanished Celtic past.

This program includes material that may not be appropriate for younger viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

Special DVD features include: materials and activities for educators; a link to the NOVA Web site; scene selections; closed captions; and described video for the visually impaired.

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