Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
Pages: [1]   Go Down
This topic has not yet been rated!
You have not rated this topic. Select a rating:
Author Topic: Natural Mummies: Oetzi, Bog Bodies, etc.  (Read 364 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1737

View Profile
« on: March 09, 2007, 08:39:36 AM »

?tzi the Iceman

   ?tzi the Iceman (also spelled Oetzi), Frozen Fritz, and Similaun Man are modern nicknames of a well-preserved natural mummy of a man from about 3300 BC,[1] found in 1991 in a glacier of the ?tztal Alps, near the border between Austria and Italy. The nickname comes from ?tztal, the region in which he was discovered. He is Europe's oldest natural human mummy, and has offered an unprecedented view on the Chalcolithic (Copper-stone Age) Europeans.

?tzi memorial -

   ?tzi was found by two German tourists, Helmut and Erika Simon, on September 19, 1991. The body was at first thought to be a modern corpse, like several others which had been recently found in the region. Lying on its front and frozen in ice below the torso, it was crudely removed from the glacier by the Austrian authorities using a small jackhammer (which punctured the hip of the body) and ice-axes using non-archaeological methods. It was taken to Innsbruck, where its true age was subsequently ascertained. Subsequent surveys showed in October 1991 that the body had been located 92.56 meters inside Italian territory (46? 46′44″N, 10? 50′23″E).[2] Since 1998 it has been on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy.

Disputes over the discovery

   In January 2003, the Simons asked a court in Bolzano, Italy, to recognize their role in ?tzi's discovery and declare them his "official discoverers". Under Italian law, winning the lawsuit would entitle them to a finders' fee of 25% of the value of the discovered item from the authorities. In November 2003, the court declared the Simons the official finders of ?tzi, and at the end of December 2003, the Simons announced that they were seeking US$300,000 as their finders' fee.

   Provincial government officials decided to appeal. By this time, Helmut Simon had died in 2004. In June 2006, the appeals court affirmed that the Simons had indeed discovered the Iceman and were therefore entitled to a finder's fee. It also ruled that the provincial government had to pay the Simons' legal fees. After this ruling, Mrs. Erika Simon reduced her claim to ?150,000. The provincial government's response was that the high expenses it had incurred to establish a museum and the costs of preserving the Iceman should be considered when determining the finder's fee. It insisted it would pay no more than ?50,000. In September 2006, the authorities appealed the case to Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation.

   Since the discovery of ?tzi in 1991 and the Simons' lawsuit, two other persons have come forward to claim that they were part of the same mountaineering party that came across ?tzi and that they discovered the body first. They are:

   Magdalena Mohar Jarc, a Slovenian actress, who has alleged that she discovered the corpse first, and shortly after returning to an alpine house asked Helmut Simon to take photographs of ?tzi. Mountaineer and explorer Reinhold Messner is apparently appearing as a witness for her.[citation needed]
   Sandra Nemeth, from Switzerland, who has contended that she found the corpse before Helmut and Erika Simon, and that she spat on ?tzi to make sure that her DNA would be found on the body later. She has asked for a DNA test on the remains but experts believe that there is little chance of finding any trace.

   The rival claims are now being heard by a court in Bolzano, Italy. The legal case has angered Mrs. Simon, who alleges that neither woman was present on the mountain that day. Mrs. Simon's lawyer has said: "Mrs. Simon is very upset by all this and by the fact that these two new claimants have decided to appear 14 years after ?tzi was found."

 Scientific analysis of ?tzi

   The body has been extensively examined, measured, X-rayed, and dated. Tissues and intestinal contents were examined microscopically, as was the sperm found on his gear.

 The body

   At the time of his death, ?tzi was approximately 166 cm (5' 5") tall, and about 30 years of age by current estimates. Because the body was covered in ice shortly after his death it only partially deteriorated. Analysis of pollen and dust grains and the isotopic composition of his tooth enamel indicate that he spent his childhood near the present village of Velturno, north of Bolzano, but later went to live in valleys about 50 km further north. Analysis by Franco Rollo's group at the University of Camerino has shown that Otzi's mitochondrial DNA belongs to the K1 subcluster of the mitochondrial haplogroup K, but that it cannot be categorized into any of the three modern branches of that subcluster.

   Analysis of ?tzi's intestinal contents showed two meals (the last one about eight hours before his death), one of chamois meat, the other of red deer meat. Both were eaten with some grain as well as some roots and fruits. The grain from both meals was a highly processed einkorn wheat bran, quite possibly eaten in the form of bread. There were also a few kernels of sloes (small plum-like fruits of the blackthorn tree).

   Pollen in the first meal showed that it had been consumed in a mid-altitude conifer forest, and other pollens indicated the presence of wheat and legumes, which may have been domesticated crops. Also, pollen grains of hop-hornbeam were discovered. The pollen was very well preserved with even the cells inside still intact, indicating that it had been fresh (a few hours old) at the time of ?tzi's death. This find places the event in the spring. Interestingly, einkorn wheat is harvested in the late summer, and sloes in the autumn; these must have been stored since the year before.

   High levels of both copper particles and arsenic were found in ?tzi's hair. This, along with ?tzi's copper axe which is 99.7% pure copper, has led scientists to speculate that ?tzi was involved in copper smelting.[5]


   ?tzi seems to have suffered from intestinal cancer. He also apparently had whipworm (Trichuris trichiura), an intestinal parasite. Professor Sara Cibralic was first to discover this.[citation needed]


   He had approximately 52 tattoos. These consisted of simple dots and lines, for which there exists speculation that they may be related to acupuncture.

Clothes and shoes

   ?tzi's clothes, which included a woven grass cloak and leather vest and shoes, were quite sophisticated. The shoes were waterproof and wide, seemingly designed for walking across the snow; they were constructed using bearskin for the soles, deer hide for top panels, and a netting made of tree bark. Soft grass went around the foot and in the shoe and functioned like warm socks.

   The shoes have since been reproduced by experts and found to constitute such excellent footwear that there are plans for commercial production.[6]. However, a more recent theory by British archaeologist Jacqui Wood says that ?tzi's "shoes" were actually the upper part of snowshoes. According to this theory, the item currently interpreted as part of a backpack is actually the wood frame and netting of one snowshoe and animal hide to cover the torso.

Other equipment

   Other items found with the Iceman were a copper axe with a yew handle, a flint knife with an ash handle, a quiver of 14 bone-tipped arrows with viburnum and dogwood shafts and flint heads (two arrows were finished, twelve were not), and an unfinished yew longbow that was 3 feet 2 inches (one metre) tall.[7] Also found were berries, a bucket and a knife.

   Among ?tzi's possessions were two species of polypore mushrooms with leather strings through them. One of these (the birch fungus) is known to have antibacterial properties, and was likely used for medical purposes. The other was a type of tinder fungus, included with part of what appeared to be a complex firestarting kit. The kit featured pieces of over a dozen different plants, in addition to flint and pyrite for creating sparks.

Cause of death

 An ancient crime?

   A CAT scan revealed that ?tzi had what appeared to be an arrowhead lodged in one shoulder when he died, matching a small tear on his coat. The arrow shaft had been removed, apparently by a companion. He also had bruises and cuts on his hands, wrists, and chest. DNA analysis revealed traces of blood from four other people on his gear: one from his knife, two from the same arrowhead, and a fourth from his coat.

   This may indicate that Otzi was actually part of an armed raiding party, and had gotten into a skirmish, probably with a neighboring tribe, and this skirmish had gone badly for the attackers.

   The biological evidence suggests that he was out of his home territory. The DNA evidence suggests that he was assisted by companions who were also wounded. The repairs he had made to his clothing are very crude compared to the original stitching. The copper axe could not have been made by him alone. It would have required a concerted group tribal effort to mine and smelt and cast the copper axe head. This all shows foresight, planning and preparation on a large scale with a certain goal in mind.

   He was wounded in the conflict, and (according to CT scan findings) probably died within several minutes due to massive blood loss, as a result of a flint arrowhead severing his left subclavian artery.

Ritual sacrifice

   Before the latest evidence, it was speculated that ?tzi had been a victim of a ritual sacrifice, perhaps for being a chieftain. This explanation may have been inspired by theories previously advanced for the 1st millennium BC bodies recovered from peat bogs, such as the Tollund Man and the Lindow Man.


   It has also been hypothesised that ?tzi was the victim of a storm caused by the Priora oscillation, a sudden cooling of the Earth's environment, as indicated by the surge of the nearby Priora Glacier.

"?tzi's Curse"

   Influenced by the "Curse of the Pharaohs" and the media theme of cursed mummies, claims have been made that ?tzi is cursed. The allegation centers around the deaths of several people connected to the discovery, recovery and subsequent examination of ?tzi. It is alleged that they have died under mysterious circumstances. These persons include co-discoverer Helmut (but not Erika) Simon; and Konrad Spindler, the first examiner of the mummy in Austria at a local morgue in 1991. To date, the deaths of seven people, of which four were the result of some violence in the form of accidents, have been attributed to the alleged curse. However, hundreds of people were involved in the recovery of ?tzi and are still involved in studying the body and the artefacts found with it; thus it may not be surprising that a few of them have died since the mummy's discovery.[8]

 Other ancient frozen corpses

   In August 2004, frozen bodies of three Austro-Hungarian soldiers killed during the Battle of San Matteo (1918) were found on the mountain of San Matteo in the Trentino region of Italy.[9] One body was sent to a museum in the hope that research on how the environment affected its preservation will help to find out about ?tzi's past and future evolution.

   In August 1999, three First Nation hunters found the frozen remains of an ancient person at the edge of the Samuel Glacier in the Tatshenshini-Alsek Park, British Columbia, Canada, which is within the traditional territory of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations. Named Kw?day D?n Ts??nchi (meaning "Long Ago Person Found", and often abbreviated to KDT), it was determined that he had died about 550 years ago and that his preserved remains were the oldest ever discovered in North America.[10]


   Neill, James (last updated 2004-10-27). Otzi, the 5,300 Year Old Iceman from the Alps: Pictures & Information. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.

 Val Senales - Schnalstal, Carta Topografica per Escursionisti 1:25.000, Tabacco, 1996. It is a topographic map.

 Deem, James M. (last updated 2007-02-27). ?tzi: Iceman of the Alps: The Finder's Fee Lawsuit. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.

 Pisa, Nick. "Cold Case Comes to Court ? After 5,300 Years", The Daily Telegraph, 2005-10-22. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.

 "Iceman's Final Meal", BBC News, 2002-09-16. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.

 Hall, Allan. "Shoemaker Pursues the Ultimate Sole Mate", 2005-07-18. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.

 Davies, Norman (1996). Europe: A History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198201710. 

 The Curse of the Ice Mummy, a television documentary screened on UK Channel 4 on 8 March 2007. See also Marks, Kathy. "Curse of Oetzi the Iceman Claims Another Victim", New Zealand Herald, 2005-11-05. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.

   "WWI Bodies are Found on Glacier", BBC News, 2004-08-23. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.

   Ministry of Tourism, Sport and the Arts, British Columbia. Kwaday Dan Ts'inchi. Retrieved on 2007-03-08. See also Lundberg, Murray (1999-08-25, news updated on 2001-07-24). Kwaday D?n Sinchi, The Yukon Iceman. ExploreNorth. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.


Morelle, Rebecca. "Infertility Link in Iceman's DNA", BBC News, 2006-02-03. Retrieved on 2007-03-08.

External links (visit page to access these)
Photo of ?tzi at Mesa Community College, Arizona.
South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology - official website about ?tzi
BBC programme summary and other useful links
PBS web site for their Otzi program
?tzi links (German/Italian/English)
Plants and the Iceman, ?tzi's Last Journey
All about ?tzi
Detailed Radiological Studies


Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1737

View Profile
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2007, 08:22:50 PM »

Could this be considered a form of necrophilia?

- Bart

Dozens of women want Bronze Age hunter's babies

   Dozens of women have asked to be made pregnant by a prehistoric iceman who died 5,000 years ago.
The body of "Otzi the Iceman" was discovered by hikers in 1991 as ice melted in the Schnalstal glacier, high in the Italian Alps. Alex Susanna, director of the Bozen Museum where his body is exhibited, says requests have been received by many women wanting to have Otzi's babies.

Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1737

View Profile
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2007, 08:42:26 PM »

Iceman's discoverer dead in Alps

   Helmut Simon, the German who discovered "Oetzi", an intact Bronze Age mummy in an Alps glacier, has been found dead in the Austrian Alps. A hunter found his remains in a stream just as rescuers were planning to suspend their search eight days after he went missing while on a hike. The body of the 67-year-old was found on a peak called Gaiskarkogel, near a resort town south of Salzburg, Austria. Simon and his wife Erika found the mummy of the prehistoric man in 1991.

Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2007, 09:08:07 PM »

Yes, people die eventually.

How many people were in contact with the 'Iceman' and how many of those have since died? 1% perhaps? The time will come, of course, when they are all dead.

Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1737

View Profile
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2007, 04:28:53 AM »

Newswise � Human remains yield secrets. �Tales from the Bog� in the September 2007 issue of National Geographic magazine uncovers some of those secrets, including those unlocked by Dr. Heather Gill-Robinson, assistant professor of anthropology at North Dakota State University, Fargo. The article discusses discoveries of 2000-year-old mummies, preserved from the Iron Age with amazing detail in peat bogs of Europe.

   Bog mummies, in particular, have interesting stories to tell. Physical anthropologists draw conclusions from the eerily preserved hair, leathery skin and other features that emerge from the bogs. During the Iron Age from approximately 500BC to 500AD, bodies were often cremated, often leading experts to believe that mummies uniquely preserved by the bogs were people who met their demise through particularly violent means or were used as sacrifices, although there are numerous possible other explanations. A violent demise was thought to be the case for a mummy known as Windeby Girl, studied by Dr. Gill-Robinson. Discovered in northern Germany in 1952, experts thought she may have been an adulteress whose head was shaved, after which she was blindfolded and drowned in the bog.

   As noted in the National Geographic article, �the theory unraveled after Heather Gill-Robinson of North Dakota State University took a close look at the body � Windeby Girl was likely a young man� and may have lost his hair when archaeologists� trowels dug up the body. The article further notes that physical examination of the mummy showed that growth interruptions in the bones of the specimen indicated a sick young man who may have died from natural causes.

   The water and other substances in peat bogs create a natural preservative for the bodies found in them, though Dr. Gill-Robinson says researchers are still trying to determine why. The lack of oxygen, antimicrobial action and the sphagnum found in bogs seem to conspire to preserve the bodies tossed into them thousands of years ago. Bogs were once seen as homes for gods and outcast spirits.

   But increasingly sophisticated computer programs and use of medical technology such as CT scans, radiocarbon dating and 3-D imaging have resulted in additional and potentially more accurate answers to the mysteries of the peat bog mummies. In her research, which includes the study of other mummies in addition to �Windeby Girl,� Gill-Robinson can also determine other details such as what they ate and their possible occupations.

   The research being conducted at NDSU also gives students an opportunity to learn more about physical anthropology, according to Gill-Robinson. Two recent NDSU graduates, for example, analyzed CT scans of mummy specimens for a year and four more students are involved in image analysis projects this year. The mummies studied in Gill-Robinson�s research were found between 1871 and 1960. She has studied them for the past four years.

   The �Tales from the Bog� article in National Geographic features exceptional photographs of the findings from peat bog mummy research around the world. The article can be found online at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0709/bog-bodies/bog-bodies.html

   �Detailed analysis of the bog bodies provides us a window into cultures, heritage and the way people lived thousands of years ago,� says Gill-Robinson. �To be included in a prestigious publication such as National Geographic helps us to bring this research to a wide general audience. We might inspire a future generation of anthropologists or give a better glimpse into the Iron Age.� Gill-Robinson notes the continuing advance of technology allows physical anthropologists to discover new details about the subjects they study. �When we think we may have discovered something new about a mummy, we can re-visit it several years later and with new technology, refine our research results. In these cases, we need to present a revised interpretation to the public. Communities where discoveries are made have a high level of interest in what is found. Respectfully addressing folklore surrounding such discoveries in communities also plays a role.�

   Gill-Robinson�s areas of research interest have focused on a collection of seven bodies (six mummies and one skeleton) from peat bogs in northern Germany. After a receiving a three-month research grant from the German Academic Exchange Service, Bonn, Germany, Gill-Robinson spent the summer exploring aspects of peat bog mummies in conjunction with Stiftung Schleswig-Holsteinische Landesmuseen Schloss Gottorf, a museum in Schleswig, Germany. Her research was previously cited in the article, �Rehabilitation of a Moorland Corpse,� in Abenteuer Archaeologie, a German popular press archaeology magazine.

About NDSU

   With a reputation for excellence in teaching and multidisciplinary research, North Dakota State University, Fargo, links academics to real world opportunities. The Scientist magazine placed NDSU among the top 35 research institutions in North America for individuals pursuing postdoctoral positions. As a metropolitan land grant institution with more than 12,000 students, NDSU is listed in the top 100 of several National Science Foundation annual research expenditure rankings in the areas of chemistry, physical sciences, science and engineering, and social sciences. http://www.ndsu.edu


Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Platinum Member

Karma: 143

Posts: 1737

View Profile
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2007, 04:19:40 PM »

Mummified Inca maiden Wows Crowds

7 September 2007 - BBC

   A mummy of an Inca girl, described as "perfect" by the archaeologists who found her in 1999, has gone on display for the first time in Argentina.

The Inca Maiden sits in a specially chilled chamber

Hundreds of people crowded into a museum in the north-western city of Salta to see "la Doncella", the Maiden.

The remains of the girl, who was 15 when she died, were found in an icy pit on top of a volcano in the Andes, along with a younger boy and girl. Researchers believe they were sacrificed by the Incas 500 years ago.

The three were discovered at a height of 6,700m (22,000ft) on Mount Llullaillaco, a volcano in north-west Argentina on the border with Chile.

At the time, the archaeologist leading the team, Dr Johan Reinhard, said they appeared "the best preserved of any mummy I've seen".

It is believed the Children of Llullaillaco, as they have come to be known, were sacrificed during a ceremony thanking the Inca gods for the annual corn harvest.

'Great mistake'

The mummy of la Doncella is on display in a chamber that is filled with cold air that recreates the sub-freezing conditions in which she was found.

Visitors told Argentine media they were impressed at the mummy's state of conservation.

"I'm amazed," one woman said. "You just expect her at any moment to get up and start talking."

But the exhibition has angered several indigenous groups who campaigned to stop the mummy from going on display.

Miguel Suarez from the Calchaquies valley tribes in and around Salta told the Associated Press news agency that the exhibit was "a great mistake", adding that he hoped visitors would show respect for the dead.

The Inca empire once stretched across much of western South America, including present-day Peru and Bolivia, and down to central Chile and parts of Argentina. It collapsed in 1532 with the Spanish conquest.


Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.
Pages: [1]   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.4 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC
History Hunters Worldwide Exodus | TinyPortal v0.9.8 © Bloc