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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 22:24 GMT
Iron Age 'David Beckham' unmasked
Remains of Clonycavan man
The remains enabled scientists to accurately recreate his face
Scientists at Dundee University have helped to recreate the face of a man dubbed the Iron Age David Beckham because of evidence he gelled his hair.

Clonycavan Man, named after the area he was found, was one of two bodies discovered in a peat bog in the Republic of Ireland in 2003.

The chemical composition of the peat mummified the body, enabling scientists to recreate his face.

The Timewatch programme on BBC Two on Friday will investigate the find.

The first body dropped off a peat cutting machine in February 2003 in Clonycavan, near Dublin. The forearms, hands and lower abdomen were missing, believed to have been hacked off by the machine.

The second was found in May the same year in Croghan, about 25 miles from Clonycavan.

The bodies, which had been tied down, tortured and were probably slain in a ritual sacrifice. Research indicated they lived about 2,300 years ago.

Glass eyes

Clonycavan Man has been recreated with slicked back, gelled hair and striking good looks.

The chemical composition of the peat bog mummifies bodies in such a way that the skeleton deteriorates but the skin is preserved.

Reconstructed face
Clonycavan Man: The Iron Age 'David Beckham'

Forensic anthropologists and forensic artists at Dundee University used a state of the art computer system to recreate the facial appearance of the Iron Age man and then add glass eyes, skin tone and hair.

The head has been constructed from the crushed skull and soft tissue of the bog body.

It appears the man used a type of Iron Age hair gel - vegetable oil mixed with resin - perhaps to give the impression of height as he was only 5ft 2in tall.

Forensic evidence was recovered from every part of the bodies.

'Brutal time'

The contents of their stomachs told of their last meal, the chemicals in their hair enabled an understanding of their diet and their skeletons offered clues about their age.

Scientists in Wales, Ireland and Denmark also took part in the face reconstruction.

Timewatch producer John Hayes-Fisher said: "This is enormously significant in terms of European archaeology, as bog bodies are so terribly rare.

"What really shocked me while making the programme, though, was discovering the unnecessary violence with which some of these young men were killed. The Iron Age really was quite a brutal time."

Timewatch: The Bog Bodies will be shown on BBC Two at 2100 GMT on Friday, 20 January.

See the Iron Age man unmasked

Iron Age 'bog bodies' unveiled
07 Jan 06 |  Science/Nature
Iron Age skeleton found on isle
24 Oct 05 |  Scotland


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