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Ötzi the Iceman
Transcript of Ötzi the Iceman
He was lying face down sprawled over a boulder. His legs were buried under the ice and his top half was just sticking out. His left arm was under his forehead, almost like a child who has fallen asleep on their desk in school.
And all this has been preserved by nature. Scientists have proven that Ötzi (nicknamed Ötzi after the mountain range that he was discovered in) must have been covered by a blanket of snow within 1-2 hours of his death. In the next month a layer of ice covered him. If he had been frozen all year round his body would have deteriorated, but that is not what happened to Ötzi.
The following summer the ice thawed just enough to allow a little sun to shine on Ötzi. Then he was covered by a blanket of snow, a layer of ice and the following summer thawed by the sun. Snow, ice, sun. Snow, ice, sun, year after year after year.
Ötzi the Iceman's story began on Thursday, September 19th 1991, 3210 metres above sea level. Two hikers from Nuremberg in Germany, were hiking in the Ötztal Alps. They decided to take a shortcut and head off trail.
They were only 90 metres off the path when they were stopped dead in their tracks... by a corpse.
The moment the two hikers saw this they rushed off to the nearest police station thinking that it was a victim of a recent mountaineering accident. The police came with drills and ice-picks and started to chip away at the ice and free the body but as they started doing this they noticed tattoos on the body.
Then they started noticing things that were buried with him. He had some kind of moccasin boots and a bear skin coat, a copper headed axe, a quiver full of arrows and a long bow, a pouch filled with herbal medicine, grass woven socks, a dagger that was chipped out of stone... not the kind of things that anyone would be carrying around nowadays!
This was not the victim of a recent mountaineering accident, but the question was, how old was he? The police took the body to a group of scientists who sent samples out to many labs and eventually confirmed that the body was old, very old.
This man lived before the Renaissance, before Christ, before the pyramids were built! When he was alive Christmas wouldn't even have existed! So how is it that this man, the oldest mummy ever to be discovered by humans, has stayed in such good condition? He has his bones, his intestine, his organs, his teeth, his tongue, his skin, his nails and even his eyes!
I think it's amazing that this cycle continued for 5,300 years without anyone discovering Ötzi. Through the building of the pyramids, through the fall of the Roman Empire and through the World Wars until those two German hikers decided to take a shortcut and leave the trail.
Ötzi is so special because he is the oldest mummy humans have ever found and the only one ever to be discovered that was preserved only by nature. He is also the first human ever found in his everyday clothing and equipment and his belongings give us a huge insight into life back then.
Ötzi is a worldwide sensation and has a museum devoted just to him, but he isn't only popular among scientists and archeologists.
Brad Pitt has a tattoo of Ötzi which shows how cool Ötzi really is!
When Ötzi was found there was a big dispute over who owned him, Italy or Austria. Though it might sound funny that two countries were arguing over a dead body, it was actually important to the side which won because he is a huge tourist attraction.
In the end it was decided that Italy owned Ötzi because he was discovered 92.56 metres inside the Italian border!
In fact 5300 years old