Ötzi is the name given to a human being frozen and dehydrated discovered incidentally September 19, 1991 to 3 200 meters altitude on the border between Italy and Austria in the Ötztal Alps (d ' hence its name), near the Italian Dolomites, with hikers from Nuremberg, Helmut and Erika Simon. Buried for millennia under a layer of ice, melting glaciers important, that summer, has revealed its existence.

The frozen mummy is that of a man about 45 years old, 1.59 meters and 40 kilograms. Dating by carbon 14 indicates that the hunter has experienced a period of between 3 350 and 3 100 BC. AD

Equipment and clothing
Was found in the pocket of his belt and his side, an arch if unfinished, 14 arrows in their quiver (mostly during manufacture or repair), a copper ax, a knife of flint hafted in a cloth bag of nettle and some fungi (birch polypore) strung on a leather strap, probably for medicinal purposes. The body was still wrapped in some of his clothes forming three layers: a cloth, a leather jacket, a wrapper of plant fibers. He also had a hood equipped with a frame consisting of a long rod of hazel, two cylindrical containers made of birch bark, a small bag containing a required fire (tinder, flint ...) and a small leather bag containing small flint tools (scraper, awl, sharp blade).

In 2008, a study by biochemists at the University of Saarbrücken has to know more about the clothing of the mummified individual. Four samples of leather covering his shoes, stockings and coat were analyzed by a method based on mass spectrometry by MALDI-TOF, originally designed to identify feathers and down in quality control in industry bedding. It appears that the leather footwear is made from beef hide while the other three samples from sheep. Only breeders and farmers could dress in skins of domestic animals. Ötzi had to be a shepherd used to go on transhumance in the pastures.

Diseases of Ötzi
The tattoos worn by Ötzi (small groups of parallel lines or arranged in a cross on the lower back, knees and ankles) seem related to osteoarthritis has been identified radiographically. We know of other similar therapeutic practices, evidenced by ethnography and ancient sources.

An Austrian team noticed that among the 15 groups of strokes which was tattooed Ötzi, nine were close to points of Chinese acupuncture. However, as noted by L. Renaut, "the current practice identifies 670 points distributed symmetrically throughout the body along 12 meridians (or channels) and two bilateral axial meridians. The surface of the human body is literally dotted with points of insertion, can be considered as lacking any kind of statistical significance that the tattoo of Ötzi, slender and fairly extensive coincide occasionally with some of these points.

Examination of hair electron microscopy has established the presence of a neurotic pathology and review of the single fingernail recovered showed an abnormal nail plate characteristic of intense stress 8, 12 and 16 weeks before his death . This bad condition seems related to the presence in the intestine of Trichinella eggs, a parasite that produces seizures every twenty days. The fungus Piptoporus betulinus which Ötzi had won a reserve, is known to destroy the worms and the eggs and act as a powerful laxative. A series of rib fractures on the left side recalcifieas, suggesting a fall as it may be in the mountains. Other untreated fracture of the right side, may originate from another incident, a brawl or touch the ice.

An analysis of the mitochondrial genome shows that it is in the Haplogroup K (mtDNA), common in the Alps, but on a limb K1 is no longer represented at present in the region.

The pollen found within the body, taken by endoscopy, belong to a forest type environment. Those found in his clothing, as well as two grains of wheat, two eyes, residue leaves (maple) and wood (yew, larch, walnut, linden, birch) indicate that he lived in a mountainous area. The details of the bill of his clothes have provided abundant observations and correspond to those of a long tradition of Alpine. It is very comprehensive tools he had brought with him.

The death of Ötzi
The autopsy showed qu'Ötzi was beaten back, top to bottom, so it would stand crouching or kneeling.

This kind of death is like a picture appearing on a menhir contemporary Ötzi preserved in a church in the valley village of Laccia, in which one sees a man shot from behind by an assailant who shoots an arrow, as shown by a report of the National Geographic Society. The death of Ötzi, as the important chief proves his copper ax, she was already entered in the caption to be engraved in stone, asked the professor who is involved in this film.

Three hypotheses have succeeded to explain his death:

* Ötzi was a shepherd who would have lost in the cold because it was found near a road transhumance, this first hypothesis is undermined by the absence of cattle dung as well as possession of an ax and such diverse topics of medicinal mushrooms.

* Ötzi was a blacksmith shop and healer who had fled following a failure, this second hypothesis is not compatible with a hand injury typical of warriors, by definition, sedentary, and with the distribution of radioactive elements in teeth, compared with more sedentary habit.

* According to the present hypothesis, Ötzi, who was armed with a copper ax, was an influential member, a king of his tribe, located at the border formed by the crest of the Alps.

An autopsy showed he had not died of hunger (his gut with leftover flour and deer), or an accident or a fall. In July 2001, Italian scientists have found a wound in the shoulder near the left lung of Ötzi, imposed by an arrowhead. The study shows that the injury could have achieved the artery supplying the arm, and that Ötzi could have bleed to death very quickly. The ossification revealed by radiography is however clear that this was an old injury. The state of her nails (streaks indicating a pause, then a resumption of growth) also suggests that he was sick a few days or weeks before dying.

A study by Swiss researchers from the University of Zurich in collaboration with Italian researchers could shed light on this old mystery over 5 000 years through a scanner. The results of the study have been published in Journal of Archaeological Science and have been mentioned in the July 2007 edition of National Geographic magazine. The hypothesis of an early death due to the boom seems to be confirmed. The projectile would have hit an artery near the shoulder.

Beyond the analysis of the causes of his death, the study of the remains of Ötzi is one of the most important sources of knowledge about the lifestyle of men in this age of Early History.

The dead and the museum
The Iceman is a cold room in the archaeological museum of Bolzano-Bozen, Italy. Ötzi is presented to the public in a special showcase. The particularly good state of preservation of the body makes this a very realistic vision, which poses quite a flood ethical problem for the presentation of death in the museum. On this occasion, it was also necessary to reflect substantive on the dual nature of Ötzi, both exceptional archaeological material and human being died.

Read also Mummy


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