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Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Mystery of the Famous Ancient Iceman Ötzi

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Who was The Iceman Ötzi and how was he found

One spring day about 3345 BCE a man near what is now the border between Italy and Austria was shot with a flint arrow. He fled into the mountains, removing the arrow shaft, but the arrowhead remained embedded in his shoulder bone. It is thought that he collapsed and died from loss of blood. Somehow his body remained undisturbed until fall, when it was covered with snow and ice. The climate cooled and the snow and ice became year-round. In a later warm spell, the body was exposed, but then cold weather returned. The ice cover became a glacier, but with global warming, that glacier is now melting. In September of 1991, two hikers found the mummified body exposed. The remains were taken first to Austria, then to Italy, where the man gained a new name –– Iceman or Ötzi (hewas found in the Ötzal mountains).

His last days

The story of Ötzi ‘s last days is a best guess reconstruction. It was spring because his intestines contained pollen from spring flowers. The arrowhead was spotted during a CT scan of his body. Other damage, earlier thought to have caused his death, resulted from the action of ice on the body.

How has this discovery helped us understand much about tools and material used in Europe at that time

The remains reveal much about tools and material used in Europe at that time. Leather sewn together with sinews was used for clothing, although a large cloak was woven grass. A cap was made from the fur of a brown bear. The shoes had soles of bear leather and uppers of deerskin; they were stuffed with grass and hay for insulation. Woven grass was also used in place of sinews.
His dagger was of flint inserted into a wooden handle and secured with string; it was placed into a woven-grass sheath that had a leather loop to attach the sheath to his belt. Another piece of flint may have been employed as a drill. A bone tool was similar to an awl. His arrowheads were also flint. The axe is the oldest complete one known. The flanged axe head was of copper and was attached to the wooden handle by strips of leather and birch pitch. A birchbark box contained charcoal wrapped in maple leaves (possibly a method of carrying smoldering coals to start a fire, since no firestarting flint was found). Two lumps of birch fungus are thought to have been carried as a first-aid kit for use as medicine.

His leather and hazelwood quiver

In his leather and hazelwood quiver there were two finished arrows, dressed with feathers to cause spin, and 12 unfinished arrows, all made from viburnum and dogwood. One of the finished arrows is a type called a composite that has a short shaft attached to a longer one, designed so the longer part can be broken off by a wounded animal while the short part will remain. The arrowhead embedded in Ötzi’s shoulder is an exact match for the type found in his quiver.

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