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K. Kris Hirst

More on the Iceman

By October 24, 2012

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The most-talked about man in prehistory must be Otzi, a.k.a. the Iceman or Hauslabjoch Man or Simalaun Man. Found eroding out of a glacier in 1991, the human remains of a 40-year-old mountain man who had been attacked and killed high up in the Alps about 5500 years ago have been studied in detail for the past twenty years.

Reconstruction of the Iceman's Clothing
Reconstruction of Otzi's clothing. Photo by Gerbil

The most recent studies, one in Antiquity in June 2011 and one in the Journal of Archaeological Science in December of the same year, discuss additional details of the poor man's health and last days. An energetic debate over whether Otzi's remains represent an intentional, formal burial or not continues through 2012, written up in a gallery in Antiquity, much of which is free to read online.

Read a summary of all the data on Otzi, including the new data:

Gostner P, Pernter P, Bonatti G, Graefen A, and Zink AR. 2011. New radiological insights into the life and death of the Tyrolean Iceman. Journal of Archaeological Science 38(12):3425-3431.

Groenman-van Waateringe W. 2011. The Iceman's last days - the testimony of Ostrya carpinifolia. Antiquity 85(328):434-440.

Vanzetti A, Vidale M, Gallinaro M, Frayer DW, and Bondioli L. 2010. The iceman as a burial. Antiquity 84(325):681-692.

  • See The Iceman is Not a Burial discussion in Antiquity: three responses to the original idea by Vanzetti and colleagues are free, online texts.


October 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm
(1) Frans Couwenbergh says:

I remember a study about the way of handling murderers and other violators of the tribe rules. The tribe consulted each other and after the decision one person was designated to follow the escaped violator and to execute him. The person got feathers on his feet, I remember. I cannot retrieve the print of this article or the place in which book. Do you know this way of ancestral jurisdiction? I’m convinced that Otzi was executer this way. And that Otzi was a violateor.

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