Otzi The Iceman

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Studies of his teeth and bones have shown that he spent his entire life within about 37 miles of the spot where he was found. His final meal seems to have been meat (probably wild goat and deer) with wheat, plums, and other plants.


A more exact date of Otzi's age was found using a scientific test called Carbon 14 dating that can tell the age of almost anything that ever lived - dead animals, dead people, plants, or things like cloth, which comes from living matter. The Carbon 14 dating test showed that the Iceman must be about 5,300 years old.



Archaeologists have not taken the Iceman apart to study him, although they have examined the contents of his stomach and other internal organs by taking tiny samples of his body and looking at the remains under the microscope. The Iceman's legs are still intact.


When Otzi was removed from the ice, his body quickly began to rot and scientists had to put him into a deep freezer. His remains are now on display in a museum in Italy - but bring your coat - the room where he is kept is climate controlled and cold to keep him from decaying any further. 

Archaeologists believe that the Iceman died from the cold and his frozen body lay where it died until it was found in 1991.

We cannot ever know the exact circumstances of his death because the Ice Man can't tell us himself! But we can make some good guesses based on where he was found, what he was wearing, the condition of his body, and even the contents of his stomach which tells us what he last had to eat.

Recent studies, however, have discovered what seems to be a stone arrowhead embedded in his left shoulder, and some cuts on his hands, wrist, and ribcage. In addition, traces of blood from four other people have been found on his clothes and weapons. These findings may indicate that he was involved in some violence, and was perhaps killed by enemies.


If you would like to meet Ötzi yourself, face to face, he is on show -- through a window in a special freezer -- in Bolzano Museum, in northern Italy. The frozen chamber that he lives in now, must stay a –6°C and a relative humidity of 98%. If you visit the museum, you will also see a display of all his equipment and a lifesize reconstruction of how he would have looked in life. 





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