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Otzi the iceman

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on 31 March 2014

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Transcript of Otzi the iceman

Otzi the iceman
Who was Otzi?
Otzi is a 5000 year old mummy
Found on the Austro-Italian border
Named after the mountains on which he was found
His finding helped redefine the copper age
Otzi's last meal was found by through DNA testing on intestines
First ate Ibex and pollen grains
higher altitude, red deer and more grain
Electron microscope shows charcoal attached to bran, was there a cooking process?
Further DNA testing on his antler-skinning tool, knife, 2 arrows (broken), axe, and his goatskin coat
They found 4 traces of blood on his knife blade, both arrows and on the goatskin coat. A separate tear on the coat, is this the entry point of the deadly arrow? Was he attacked by multiple assailants?
Scientific processes
Knife wound
Re-examination of right hand found a small cut, running from just below index finger to over top side of hand
1.5 inches long, 6mm deep
2 fingers nearly immobilized
X-rays = 2 cuts on underlying bones
Scanning the body
Strong bones
Study of his tibia in comparison to other Neolithic tibias
Showed a active lifestyle
Was he a hiking shepherd?
Genetic testing
Gene researchers looked at unusual male sex chromosomes
From 3700 blood donors
Shared a rare mutation G-L91
Shared a common ancestor
This ancestor was a herdsman
Supports idea of a herdsman
Otzi's Possessions
What was found with his body?

Contradicted previous estimations of when the Copper Age began
Archeological reconstructions show that the axe is ideal for felling trees
Analysis of the axe head show that the metal is 99.7% copper, 0.22% arsenic, and 0.09% silver.
Axe has signs of wear
Otzi's possessions can be categorized into three main groups - clothing, weapons and miscellaneous objects.

Items of interest that were found with Otzi:
Copper axe
Arrows, in particular two broken arrows
Flint knife
Hide coat
Copper Axe
Bag made of animal hide
Quiver was carefully placed by Otzi on a stone slab before he died
Arrows and rough arrow shafts within the quiver
Placement of quiver suggests that Otzi was caught unaware when he was attacked
Two broken arrows found with Otzi
Probably were made by different people - fletching on one arrow were wound by a left-hander whilst the other arrow was wound by a right-hander
One of the arrows was too long for Otzi's bow - further evidence that the arrow didn't belong to Otzi
12 blank shafts found as well
Traces of blood were found on the arrows
1.82 metre long bow stave
No sign of a bowstring
Covered in blood - acts as a water repellent
Also leaned against a rock like the arrows, was found, still upright, thousands of years later
Traces of carvings suggest the bow was unfinished
Flint Knife/Dagger
Flint blade inserted into a wooden handle made from ash wood and bound with animal sinews
Blade came from flint quarries in the Lessini mountains
Traces of blood also found on knife
Goatskin Coat
Made from individual pieces of domestic goat's skin stitched together with animal sinews
Scientific investigations indicate that the hides were tanned using fat and smoke
Lack of a fastener
Unclear whether coat had sleeves
Traces of blood also found on coat
Made up of various animal skins
Dried tree bark stuffed inside show to keep feet warm
Oldest shoe
Inner shoe is composed of grass netting which served to hold the hay in place
Outer part made from deerskin
Both parts fastened to sole made of bearskin
Waterproof and wide
Considered to be sophisticated in design
A CAT-scan revealed the arrow hit a major artery.

Further backed up by CT-scan at University of Zurich, established a hole in his artery beneath left collarbone.

He wouldn't have been able to take one step before collapsing due to blood loss
Numerous theories surrounding Otzi's death
Constantly evolving in light of new research
Some are more probable than others
Otzi sustained numerous injuries in the last days of his life :
Cut on hand
Arrow wound through neck
head injuries

Nature of the injuries indicate that it was a homicide. But what were the circumstances of his death?
Evidence suggests Otzi was a Shepherd.
Sheep wool on coat
Condition of his Tibia
Route taken was a known path for shepherds.
Perhaps Otzi was attacked by a group of men from another tribe for his flock.
Perhaps he escaped but was pursued and shot.
Would stop word of their actions reaching his people
Forced to leave village without warning - explains unfinished arrows
Pursued and finally killed
Does not explain why the assailant left all of his possessions including the valuable copper axe.
Power play
Otzi was a well respected member of his community
Copper Axe was a symbol of authority, not for practical use.
Killed in mountains so death would appear accidental
Could explain why possessions were not taken
Also explains why arrow shaft was removed.
Sacrifice theory
Suggested that Otzi was sacrificed after an asteroid was sighted
Asteroid event was mentioned on an Assyrian Tablet - could have been the same asteroid
Killed in a place where people of that culture may have made sacrifices to the gods
Possessions were left as part of the sacrifice
However injuries do not show signs of a struggle
Perhaps Otzi was willing to be part of a ritual sacrifice?
The Body
Majority of evidence supports the theory of a homicide
The body also showed signs that Otzi was possibly fleeing up the mountain.
The arrow wound is one that would kill a man almost straight away
The knife wound to his hand suggests he was defending himself with his hand
His Equipment
Otzi's equipment was well-suited to his environment
Clothes would provide sufficient protection for Otzi to survive in the harsh mountain climate and terrain
Tests on equipment tie in with theory that Otzi was a shepherd however copper axe denotes a higher status in society, or that he was a figure of authority

His Death
Quite likely that Otzi was murdered, however circumstances and motives will always be open to debate.
Idea that Otzi was a shepherd who was murdered by a rival tribe is plausible – theory that is backed up by the most scientific evidence

Ethical Considerations
The fight for who owns Otzi
• Discovered in 1991
• Found in the alps on the border between Austria and Italy
• Battle over custody
• Authorities confirmed he was actually found on Italian side
• Was not settled until scientific research discovered he was from Italy
• Iceman in particular triggered several ethical discussions (oldest stone aged body intact)
• Importance to presentation
• Ethical issues remain today .
• Concluded to display Otzi in the museum (Italy)- in a built facility entrusted to the supervision of the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano
• Characterized by a very sober, simple atmosphere- so that Iceman is main aspect
• Sectioned off into a special exhibition room where viewers observe as desired
• 30x40 cm opening of which audience can obtain clear image of mummy

Also for consideration...
• All equipment found with the Iceman have been carefully replicated - the original do not suffer from any damage
• Viewing of ancient body respected and body itself respected
• Many continue to argue that it is wrong- usually religious/ethical beliefs of some people

The body also supports the idea that he was a shepherd
Tibia and chromosomes
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