Thursday, 22 March 2012

The History of the Iceman

Extra information on the history of the Iceman can be found at this website:


Deem. J(2012) "His Final Route"<> (accessed March 16 2012)

South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology(2011) "Otzi - The Iceman"<> (accessed March 16 2012)

BBC(2002)"Death of the Iceman" <> (2011) (accessed March 17 2012)

Deem.J(2012) "Scientific Studies"(2012) <> ( accessed March 17 2012)

Palmer J. "Oetzi the Iceman's nuclear genome gives new insights" BBC News - Science & Environment. 28 February 2012 (accessed March 20 2012)

Custodianship and ownership of the Iceman & Ethics involved

Where the Iceman was actually found became a dispute between Austria and Italy. There is a boarder between the two countries that was carefully analysed upon this dispute. The results from the survey of the border revealed that the find was roughly 90 meters from the boarder in the South Tyrol, meaning that it was in Italy's side of the boarder. Through all this dispute, South Tyrol has claimed property rights. As the finds are currently in Innsbruck University (Austria) South Tyrolean Authorities have allowed the University to continue their investigations.

In regards to the ethical issues of displaying the body, many people believe that displaying the body goes against all moral values. The person that they are putting on display is just like all of us and if we were to die, we would want to be left alone and undisturbed, not investigated and pulled apart. But with all moral standings put aside, this mummy is one of the most important historical finds ever discovered. By examining the evidence, scientists have been able to gather a lot of evidence about the time in which the Iceman lived. It is then a relevant point to argue that the people of the public must also be allowed to bare witness to the discovery that has proven so much about human history.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

How the Iceman died

Over the years there have been numerous suggestions as to the cause of the Iceman's death. The following website provides a number of articles based on the developments of the investigation.
Upon his original discovery, it was assumed that man was a recent hiker that lost his way and became trapped in a snow storm. As the body was carbon dated, it was quickly discovered that this body was a lot older than originally thought.

As found in the website highlighted, in 2001, the contents of the Iceman's stomach provided key evidence as to the time of his death and also the whereabouts further in 2002. As numerous grains are found, it is possible to determine that the time of death would have approximately been during the late spring or early spring. The discovery of the contents of the stomach was a major breakthrough in this investigation as originally, some argued that a possible cause of death may have been starvation. With the finds of a full stomach, this hypothesis was completely ruled out.

In 2003, DNA tests conducted by Australian researchers were able to recover blood samples from some of the tools used by the iceman. From these tests, the scientists were able to pinpoint four different people's DNA. In explaining these results, the team lead by molecular biologist Thomas Loy interpret the finds in two ways; Oetzi shot two of the assassins with an arrow and retrieved the arrow afterwards. Blood on his coat also suggest that he may have carried an injured person over his back. Gathering all the evidence together, it is suggested that this may have been a fight between groups regarding boundary conditions.

In 2006, CAT-scan results revealed that the arrow that was shot into the Iceman's back, punctured a major artery. Such an injury would have resulted in a major amount of blood loss. This piece of evidence became undoubtably the main explanation to the cause of the Iceman's death. In 2007, Swiss researchers using a CT-scan were able to establish the point where the arrow tore through the artery causing severe blood loss, scientists stating that this would have resulted in a rather quick death.

Although a lot of evidence has since been found in regards to the genetic makeup of the Iceman, the overall conclusion that most scientists agree on today is that he died due to the arrow wound. How he got that wound is widely debated throughout the whole of the world.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Items of the Iceman

One of the most important and significant items that was found with the Iceman is the copper axe. Upon analysing the chemical makeup of the axe, it provides scientists with a significant amount of information about the time in which he lived.

This axe is not only a tool that was used to carry out duties such as to cut down trees. It was also a symbol of rank among the group. The was in which this copper axe has been made has amazed many scientists. During the time they estimate the iceman to have lived, they did not believe that the people were as technologically advanced as to require such an ingenious device to be made. As copper is not usually found in a pure form, it has to be 'smelt'. Until the discovery of the Iceman, it was always believed by scientists and scholars that such an advanced technique was discovered later on it time. With such advances, it is believed that the one to carry the axe must retain some kind of significant status as tribal leaver of warrior.

Just from this one object, scientists today discover a lot about the life of the people living during this time. They were more advanced than they had previously given credit for, being quite capable of learning and evolving.  More information on the copper axe

Items of the Iceman 2

The Shoes

The footwear of the people living in the alps is quite elaborate. Made with such sophistication out of materials such as grass netting deerskin, bear skin, fur and leather.

It is clear they are designed to keep the feet warm when venturing through the cold climates of the alps. As shown in the image, there is an inner sole to the show, designed to hold in place the instillation material. The outer of the shoe had leather placed across the sole to prevent slipping on surfaces.

Such designs tell scientists today that the people of the alps were quite crafty in their clothing designs. The practicality of these designs are unquestionable as they are cleverly designed to keep the feet warm throughout the freezing conditions and in a way that would minimise chances of slipping.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The History of the Iceman

On September 19, 1991 two hikers Helmut and Erika Simon were walking among the Otzal Alps. As they ventured off the track they spotted something emerging from the snow and ice. Upon closer inspection, they discovered that it was the head and torso of a corpse. Upon seeing the corpse, the couple initially believed that the body were the remains of a recent hiking accident and reported the case to the police.
The head and torso of the corse emerging from the ice