The Return of Organic Soft Tissue Preservation Abilities and the “Bog Body” Phenomenon in MLTT Restored Peatlands


  • Lillian Kibler Leonardtown High School
  • Dr. Robin Solomon Leonardtown High School



Moss Layer Transfer Technique, Peatlands, Bog Bodies, Restoration Methods


Climate change and human manipulation in peatlands threatens peatland health, presaging the loss of instrumental peatland functions including carbon sequestration or the bog body mummification function.  In response, peatland ecologists are studying restoration methods  to revive degenerating bogs, including the Rochefort Moss Layer Transfer Technique (MLTT). Since the advent of these studies, questions regarding the return of lost peatland functions have arisen. This study employed a  qualitative experimental study of mammal soft tissue samples in a controlled incubatory environment mimicking an MLTT restored peatland to discern if the MLTT method induced the return of the bog body mummification function. The findings indicate that the function does appear to return, which crucially implies that restorative efforts in peatland ecology have a valid prospect with promising returns, therefore this field is worthwhile to continue because this study shows that it is possible to save peatlands and their functions, further permitting the archaeological community to save the artifacts found in peatlands. 


Download data is not yet available.

References or Bibliography

Aalaei K, Rayner M, & Sjöholm I. 2019. Chemical methods and techniques to monitor early

Maillard reaction in milk products; A review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 59(12): 1829-1839.

Almulhim AM, Menezes RG. Evaluation of postmortem changes. 2022. In: StatPearls [Internet].

Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; [cited 2022 Nov 20]. PMID: 32119351. Available from:

Andersen SR & Geertinger P. 1984. Bog bodies investigated in the light of forensic medicine.

Journal of Danish Archaeology. 3: 111-119.

Australian Museum [Internet]. n.d. New South Wales: Australian Museum; [updated 2020 Jun

; cited 2022 Nov 16]. Available from:

Bantum.Earth [Internet]. 2022. Bantam.Earth; [cited 2022 Nov 18]. Available from:,when%20moss%20becomes%

Carter D & Tibbett M. 2004. Microbial decomposition of skeletal muscle tissue (Ovis aries) in a

sandy loam soil at different temperatures. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 38(5): 1139 - 1146.

Clark R. The Tollund Man (photograph). Museum Silkeborg (Denmark): Robert Clark; [accessed

Mar 25].

Chimner, RA, Cooper, DJ, Wurster, FC, Rochefort, L. 2017. An overview of peatland

restoration in North America: where are we after 25 years? Restoration Ecology. 25(2): 283-292.

Dell’Amore C. 2014. Who Were the Ancient Bog Mummies? Surprising New Clues. National

Geographic. [Internet] [2022 Oct 10]. Available from:

Eisenbeiss S. 2016. Preserved in peat: Decoding bog bodies from Lower Saxony, Germany.

Expedition Magazine. 58(2): 19-23.

[EDF] Environmental Defense Fund Staff. 2022. Carbon savior or carbon bomb? The

complicated story of Earth's peat bogs. Environmental Defense Fund; [Internet]. [cited 2022 Sep 12]. Available from:

el-Sheikh S. 2022. Global assessment reveals huge potential of peatlands as a climate solution.

United Nations Environment Programme. [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 5]. Available from:

Giles M. 2020. Preserving the dead. In: Bog bodies: Face to face with the past. [Internet].

North Manchester (IN): Manchester University Press. p. 52 - 71; [cited 2023 Apr 14]. Available from:

Luo Y, Lin L, Bolund L, Jensen T, Sørensen C. 2012. Genetically modified pigs for biomedical

research. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease. 35: 695-713.

Lynnerup N. 2015. Bog Bodies. The Anatomical Record. 298(6): 1007-1012.

Mancini, M. 2021. Peat bogs are freakishly good at preserving human remains. HowStuffWorks.

[Internet]. [updated 2021 Feb 16; cited 2022 Sep 17]. Available from:

Museum Silkeborg [Internet]. 2022. Museum Silkeborg; [cited 2022 Sep 29]. Available from:

Nielsen NH, Henriksen PS, Mortensen MF, Enevold R, Mortensen MN, Scavenius C, Enghild JJ.

The last meal of Tollund Man: new analyses of his gut content. Antiquity. 95 (383):


O’Grady C. 2020. Ancient bones in disturbed peat bogs are rotting away, alarming

archaeologists. Science. [Internet]. [2020 Jul 29; cited 2022 Sep 14]. Available from:

Painter TJ. 1991. Lindow man, Tollund man and other peat-bog bodies: The preservative and

antimicrobial action of Sphagnan, a reactive glycuronoglycan with tanning and sequestering properties. Carbohydrate Polymers. 15: 123-142.

Rochefort L, Quinty F, Campeau S, Johnson K, Malterer T. 2003. North American

approach to the restoration of Sphagnum dominated peatlands. Wetlands Ecology and Management. 11: 3-20.

Schrier-Uijl, AP, Kroon, S, Hendriks DMD, Hensen , A, Van Huissteden J, Berendse F,

Veenendaal EM. 2014. Agricultural peatlands: towards a greenhouse gas sink – a synthesis of a Dutch landscape study. Biogeosciences. 11: 5449-4576.

Vitt DH, Wieder RK, Xua B, Kaskiea M, Koropchaka S. 2011. Peatland establishment on

mineral soils: Effects of water level, amendments, and species after two growing seasons.

Ecological Engineering. 37: 354-356.

Ward, SE, Orwin, KH, Ostle, NJ, Briones, MJI, Thomson, BC, Griffiths, RI, Oakley, S,

Quirk, H, & Bardgetti, RD. 2015. Vegetation exerts a greater control on litter decomposition than climate warming in peatlands. Ecology. 96(1): 113-123.

Wikimedia. Face of the Tollund Man (photograph). Museum Silkeborg (Denmark): Wikimedia;

[accessed 2023 Apr 14].

Williams C. 2021. Bringing back bogs. Sierra. [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 19]. Available from:

Xu B. 2021. How scientists are restoring northern peatlands to help keep carbon in the ground.

Arctic Business Today. [Internet]. [cited 2023 Mar 25]. Available from:



How to Cite

Kibler, L., & Solomon, R. (2023). The Return of Organic Soft Tissue Preservation Abilities and the “Bog Body” Phenomenon in MLTT Restored Peatlands. Journal of Student Research, 12(4).



AP Capstone™ Research