Otzi the Ice Man

Otzi is a well-preserved natural mummy of a
Chalcolithic (Copper Age) man from about XXXX XX.
On September 19, 1991 two German tourists
climbing in the Ötztal Alps, near the border
between Austria and Italy discovered a frozen body
emerging from the glacier.
This frozen body would become known as the
Iceman, and be one of the most exciting scientific
discovery of its time.
Because of its state of preservation, the body was
at first thought to be a modern corpse, like
several others which had been recently found in
the region.
Before the body was removed from the ice,
people were allowed to see it, and some took
portions of the clothing and tools as souvenirs.
Ötzi the Iceman while still frozen in the
glacier, photographed by Helmut
Simon upon the discovery of the body
in September 1991
Another early photograph of the body
before its removal from the ice.
Lying on its front and frozen in ice below the
torso, it was crudely removed from the
glacier by the Austrian authorities using a
small jackhammer (which punctured the hip
of the body) and ice-axes using nonarchaeological methods.
The body was then taken to a morgue in
Innsbruck, where its true age was
subsequently ascertained.
Damage caused by small
jack hammer to Otzi’s
hip when authorities
attempted to remove his
body from the ice.
Ötzi was approximately 1.65 metres (5 ft 5 in) tall
and weighed about 50 kilograms. He was about 45
years of age.
The body has been extensively examined,
measured, X-rayed, and dated.
Tissues and intestinal contents have been
examined microscopically, as have the items found
with the body.
An early x-ray
of Otzi
Analysis of Ötzi's intestinal contents showed his last
meals (the last one about eight hours before his death),
the most recent of red deer meat.
There was also some grain as well as some roots and
fruits. The grain was a highly processed wheat bran,
quite possibly eaten in the form of bread.
Also, pollen grains of hop-hornbeam were discovered.
The pollen was very well preserved, indicating that it
had been fresh (a few hours old) at the time of Ötzi's
death, which places his death in the spring.
Ötzi had whipworm, an intestinal parasite.
During CT scans, it was observed that three or four
of his right ribs had been squashed when he had
been lying face down after death, or where the ice
had crushed his body.
His fingernail (only one was found) indicates he
was sick three times in the six months before he
Whipworm found
in Otzi’s intestines
Ötzi had approximately 57 carbon tattoos
consisting of simple dots and lines on his
lower spine, behind his left knee, and on his
right ankle.
Using X-rays, it was determined that the
Iceman may have had arthritis in these joints.
It has been speculated that they may be
related to acupuncture
Ötzi's clothes were sophisticated.
He wore:
◦ cloak made of woven grass and a coat
◦ a belt, a pair of leggings
◦ a loincloth made of leather of different skins.
◦ He also wore a bearskin cap with a leather chin strap.
◦ Shoes made of bearskin for the soles, deer hide for
the top panels, and a netting made of tree bark. Soft
grass went around the foot and in the shoe and
functioned like modern socks.
The coat, belt, leggings, and loincloth were
constructed of vertical strips of leather sewn together
with sinew.
His belt had a pouch sewn to it that contained useful
items: a scraper, drill, flint flake, and a dried fungus
to be used as tinder.
His shoes were waterproof and wide, designed for
walking across snow
Unfinished Bow
Ibex bones
Two birch containers
Dagger with scabbard
Belt pouch and contents
Two pieces of fungi
Tassel with marbel bead
A net of grass string
Quiver and aroows
182cms long bow
Quiver had 2 arrows ready to use and 12
partly completed shafts
Skin binding copper blade to yew handle.
Only prehistoric axe ever found intact.
Ash wood handle
bound with animal
sinew with flint
Scabbard of grass
cord and leather
Like a stubby pencil.
Stag antler set into
wooden handle. Used
to sharpen flint tools.
Antibiotic – a travelling medical kit?
Who was Otzi?
What was his occupation? (What did he do?)
What was he doing in the mountains?
What can Otzi teach us about society in Europe
during the Chalcolithic (Copper Age) period?
How did he die?