This project represents a significant scientific contribution to the study and dissemination of knowledge on the oldest wet and natural mummy in the world. The current preservation conditions of the mummy prevent the wider public from getting close to it. This project, however, will allow an in-depth virtual contact without compromising the sensitive preservation conditions. The objective is to provide an opportunity for the public to discover and study a cultural heritage, unique in the world. In order to ensure the greatest possible access a modern website, which does not require any type of installation or subscription fee, has been set up.
Death of the Iceman
In September 1991 two hikers made a sensational discovery - a frozen body high in the mountains, near the border between Austria and Italy. It turned out to be 5,300 years old, the oldest frozen mummy ever found. Named Ötzi the Iceman after the Ötztal area where he was found, he became a worldwide sensation.
Rollo and his colleagues describe in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology how he found two typical mutations common among men with reduced sperm mobility. A high percentage of men with such a condition are sterile, according to the museum that stores Ötzi the iceman. "Insofar as the 'iceman' was found to possess both mutations, the possibility that he was unable to father offspring cannot be eliminated," says the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in the Alpine town of Bolzano. "This not improbable hypothesis raises new questions concerning his social rank within his society," it adds, arguing that the new evidence supports a theory that views the man as a social outcast.
Source and Abstract
Abstract A possible cause of death of the Iceman – a ca. 5’300 BP natural human glacier mummy from the Tyrolean Alps – is an intrathoracic stone arrowhead. The aim of this study was to prove radiologically his enigmatic cause of death. In August 2005, the Iceman underwent his first multislice computed tomography examination. As the main pathologic finding, the left dorsal subclavian artery contures shows a 13 mm-long part where the vessel wall is damaged and a 3 mm-long irregular pseudo-aneurysm – a typical complication of a laceration of the subclavian artery. In the surrounding soft tissue a large haematoma is visible. Historic records highlight the fatal destiny of subclavian artery injuries e.g. due to massive active bleeding and shock-related cardiac arrest. Therefore, the Iceman’s cause of death by an arrowhead lacerating among others the left subclavian artery and leading to a deadly hemorrhagic shock can be now postulated with almost complete certainty, especially when taking the environmental (3’210 meters above sea level) and historic (5’300 BP) settings into account.
remains have already been cremated. This July, during a traditional potlatch feast near the glacier where the remains were found, the Champagne and Aishihik joined with the Tlingit in scattering their ancestor's ashes to the wind.
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 birch-bark box contained charcoal wrapped in maple leaves (possibly a method of carrying smoldering coals to start a fire, since no fire-starting flint was found). Two lumps of birch fungus are thought to have been carried as a first-aid kit for use as medicine.