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Ötzi the Iceman

June 11, 2018

As an art historian, I do not have many occasions to discuss mummies, but the enigmatic murder history of “Ötzi the Iceman” stole my heart, as well as the heart of many people all around the world.

Ötzi is a mummy from the Copper Age who was accidentally discovered together with his clothing and equipment on the Senales Valley Glacier (Italy) and has been the subject of intensive research ever since. Thanks to a series of incredible circumstances and coincidences his body was perfectly preserved, in fact no damage had been done by predators, scavengers, or insects so it was imaginable that the body was covered by snow and/or ice soon after death, and the exposure to air and sunlight was only a brief period. His skin, hair, bones, and organs were cryopreserved in time, allowing archaeological researchers a phenomenal insight into human life more than 5000 years ago: he is therefore older than the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge. After many years of research Ötzi is now resting in a cell at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology.