Monday, December 11, 2023

Iceman Uncovered

 Author: Ma’Kayla Brown

On September 19, 1991, two German tourists by the names of Erika and Helmut Simon were hiking in the Otzal Alps and came across something very unusual. They found a frozen corpse sticking out of the snow. They believed that they had come across a hiker who had just recently passed and quickly alerted the proper authorities. The body was retrieved as well as the things that were found with it like tools and weapons such as stone arrowheads, knives, and a copper axe. Archeologists were brought in to look at the body and they dated the body to be at least 4,000 years old. They named the body Otzi because he was found in the Otzal Alps. Researchers began to try to find out the cause of death. When Otzi was first found, archeologists believed that Otzi was free of diseases but in 2007 researchers discovered that Otzi had been infested with whipworm and that he had suffered from arthritis. However, neither of those conditions contributed to his death.

Otzi the Iceman

They believed Otzi was about 5’2, weighed about 110 lbs, had died between 40-50 years old, and that he had lived through the copper age. Many theories of Otzi’s death floated around for some time, theories like Otzi had gotten caught in a horrible snowstorm and had frozen to death but a new discovery had come to light. Researchers had discovered that Otzi had a flint arrowhead lodged in his left shoulder and a deep cut was also found on his hand which is thought to be a defensive wound. With this evidence, scientists began to make sense of Otzi’s last days. Otzi had been shot by an arrow from behind and suffered extensive blood loss and died soon after. His body, clothes, and belongings were found undisturbed.

Otzi’s place of death with Albert Zink

A new study on the Iceman had begun. Scientists extracted DNA from Otzi’s pelvis and conducted an analysis of his genetic makeup. The analysis revealed that Otzi had dark skin, dark eyes, and was likely bald. Albert Zink, the head of the Institute for Mummy Studies at Eurac Research says, “It’s not surprising that Otzi was dark skinned.” He even adds that it’s believed that a lot of Europeans during that time likely had darker skin compared to present-day Europeans. A recent analysis of Otzi’s genome was done and they found that he has more than 92% Anatolian ancestry. This contradicted what was concluded in the original genome analysis. Researchers today still look for clues and evidence to continue to piece together Otzi’s life and his last days.

Works Cited:

Historic Mysteries. “Otzi the Iceman: 5000+ year old murder case.” YouTube, 9 Apr. 2022. .YouTube. Accessed 23 Oct. 2023.

Hunt, Katie. “Otzi the Iceman’s True Appearance Revealed by New DNA Analysis.” CNN. 21 Aug. 2023. Accessed 23 Oct. 2023.

National Geographic. “Onward A 5,300-Year-Old Mummy with Keys to the Future.” YouTube, 13 Nov. 2013. Accessed 26 Oct. 2023.

Nothern Bushcraft. “Otzi the Iceman’s Clothes.” Pinterest, Northern Bushcraft — illvedere: Otzi the iceman’s clothes. ( Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.

Samadelli, Marco. “The Iceman is a 5,300-year-old mummy discovered in the Otzal Alps.” Pinterest, Accessed 29 Oct. 2023.(24) Pinterest.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Otzi.” Britannica. 20 Oct. 2023. Otzi | Discovery & Facts | Britannica. Accessed 23 Oct. 2023. Britannica. Accessed 23 Oct. 2023.

Links for Further Research:

“Mysteries of Prehistoric Otzi the Iceman Mummy Are Finally Being Unraveled.” Newsweek. This article written by Aristos Georgiou briefly goes over the history of Otzi the Iceman such as where he was found and how scientists believe he was killed. The article mainly speaks about the new discoveries made by scientists about Otzi like his genetic makeup, his genetic origins, etc.

“Testimony from the Iceman.” Smithsonian Magazine. Feb. 2023. In this article the author, Bob Cullen, tells the story of his travels to northern Italy to meet with Dr. Eduard Egarter Vigl, the Iceman’s caretaker. Here he describes what he’s learned from the expert regarding Otzi.

“Otzi the Iceman and the Copper Age World.” Dan Davis History. 22 May. 2023. video has different chapters that talks about each aspect of Otzi’s history and the life he lived. It talks about different topics such as Otzi’s clothes, his gear, his health, tattoos that were found on him, etc.

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