25th Anniversary Of Ötzi’s Finding
25 years have passed already since Ötzi – the glacier mummy – was discovered by chance in the Ötztal Alps. A perfect occasion for history lovers to look back on an eventful time full of sensations, findings and new insights.
Erika Simon at the finding place with Ötzi double © Alexander Maria Lohmann
A glacier mummy was found at Niederjochferner
Exactly 25 years ago, on 19 September 1991, the German couple Erika and Helmut Simon stumbled into the mummy amid the eternal glacier ice during one of their hiking tours to Niederjochferner in Ötztal.
Erika told us how it happened. Listen to the interview in German:
The mummy was freed with ski poles and pneumatic hammers as everyone thought it was a mountain accident victim.
We almost stumbled into the mummified corpse on our hiking tour.
Ötzi’s new home: Bolzano, Italy
After precise surveying works the experts found out that the rock cave was already on the South Tyrolean territory.
Therefore Ötzi and all his accessories were transferred to Bolzano/Italy in 1998 where he can be admired in the South Tyrolean Archaeology Museum.
Showcase window of the cooled chamber © Südtiroler Archäologiemuseum / Ochsenreiter
One of the world’s oldest mummies
Thanks to radiocarbon dating methods it was proved that Ötzi – The Iceman was covered by the eternal ice already for 5300 years: he is one of the oldest glacier mummies world-wide.
Finding A Name For The Glacier Mummy
As the place of discovery is amidst the Ötztal Alps, the mummified corpse was called “Ötzi” by the journalist Karl Wendl – this name went down into history.
The story of Ötzi’s name (in German):
From left: Reinhold Messner, Erika Simon and Karl Wendl © pro.media
Ötzi still is and will be the most important Tirolean because he gives an insight into both the past and the future.
© Ötztal Tourismus / Bianca Klotz
Ötztal Valley – as well a Stone Age paradise
Prof. Dr. Walter Leitner proves that also varied other Stone Age hunting bases can be found in the Ötztal.
One of the most impressive spots is called “Hohler Stein” in Niedertal close to Vent at 2050 m altitude. It’s location is at only 10 kilometers beeline from Ötzi’s finding place.
Opening of Ötzi Village in Umhausen
The unrivaled Ötzi Village is a huge archaeological outdoor park focusing on Ötzi’s everyday life. Housing and hunting tools are on display as well.
© Ötzi Dorf
Stone Age Life Close By
© South Tyrolean Archaeology Museum / Eurac / Samadelli / Staschitz
Ötzi – most probably – was murdered
Forensic radiologists have discovered another important fact.
An arrow head was stuck in the left shoulder of the glacier mummy dating back to the Copper Age.
Therefore it is very likely that Ötzi was killed by an arrow shot.
His last meal
Researchers have detected that Ötzi had a meal shortly before he died.
The contents of his stomach were meat, fat and varied plant tissues – mostly fruit skins and seed coats of grain. Ötzi’s very last meal most probably consisted of Alpine ibex, bread and vegetables.
© Alexander Maria Lohmann
Ötzi’s health record
The Iceman had cardiovascular problems and suffered from parodontitis, borreliosis, gallstones, hardening of the arteries and worms in his stomach. And Ötzi was lactose-intolerant. That’s what forensic experts found out in the course of an extensive genetic analysis in 2012.
Ötzi double © Südtiroler Archäologiemuseum / Ochsenreiter
Ötzi’s look: sun-tanned, dark hair and a beard
Ötzi was about 45 years old, approximately 160 cm tall and weighed 50 kg. He had a beard and dark, curly, shoulder long hair.
The very first reconstruction of Ötzi was designed by the Dutch artists Adrie and Alfons, and exhibited in the South Tyrolean Archaeology Museum.
Ötzi was fond of tattoos
After extensive exams using light source technologies of different wavelength ranges, it was proved that Ötzi had countless tattoos and they are the oldest ones (found up to now) world-wide.
Ötzi had no less than 61 tattoos.
© Ötztal Tourismus / Marco Samadelli
Ötzi fresh from the printer
The renowned artist Gary Staab from the USA created a marvelous Ötzi double with his three-dimensional printer. Ötzi in 1:1 format will be part of a touring exhibition on “The Man from the Ice” through Canada and the US in 2017.
The place where Ötzi was found © Alexander Maria Lohmann
Ötzi on screen
A great movie about Ötzi is scheduled for the 2017/18 winter, Jürgen Vogel is among the actors.
Felix Randau directed and wrote the movie script about Ötzi – The Iceman.
There is still a lot of specialized research work to do. But we will never reveal all the secrets.
Dr. Walter Leitner