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  •   Ötzi,   the Iceman !

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  • Bolzano

    August 2002

    Three hours' break on our way from Füssen to San Remo in the beautiful capital of South Tyrol.

    I have always loved Bolzano, a nice old city (municipal rights since the 12th century), lots of tasty fruit, rich grapes in the late summer and always a stunning view on the mountains.

    But since 1998 there has been a new attraction midst the town centre of Bolzano:   Ötzi is back home !
    After seven years of investigations in Innsbruck, the 5300-year-old glacier mummy is shown in a very good exhibition in the Archaelogical Museum of South Tyrol. Obviously the researchers had been very impressed about the usefulness of his equipment.

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    More about Ötzi:

    On September 19th, 1991, a married couple from Nuremberg, Mr and Mrs Simon, made on their descent from the Finail Peak in the Ötztal Alps nearby the Tisenjoch, at a height of approximately 3200 m, an eerie discovery. A dead body, partly frozen into the ice, which apparently had been lying there for long times.

    5 days later the corpse was for the first time presented to a prehistorian who straight away reckoned its age to be at least 4000 years old. A sensation made possible by the ice which had preserved the dead and his equipment and had avoided his corpse to be eaten by animals.

    Ötzi, hero of the Times magazine´s front cover, was discovered exactly in the right moment. After the unusual winter poor in snow, in 1991, and the hot summer he got unblocked from the ice again.
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    Straight after his death 5300 years ago, calculated with the C-14 method, it must have started to snow. In midsummer 1992 two metres of snow were again covering the same spot. When after the First World War the Italians had gained the Brenner border and the Italian-Austrian border had been redefined by means of the water-shed, the area was lying beneath a 20 m sheet of ice and snow. So in October 1991 the border had been measured anew and it was discovered that he was situated at only 92 meters from Austria on Italian ground.

    Ötzi´s mortal remains had then been investigated in Innsbruck for many years,
    Frozen Fritz gives a light
    whereas most of his utensils were preserved and restored in the Roman-Germanic Central Museum of Mainz. I think it is fascinating which details about his life were claimed to be found by the researchers. Obviously they had been very impressed about the usefulness of his equipment. Due to some pollen within his intestines they believe to know that he must have been in the valley of Vinschgau 12 hours before his death.
    Südtiroler Archäologie-Museum
    I wouldn´t be surprised if they achieved to investigate the precise time of the last argument he had had with his wife.

    Different theories existed only concerning his death; until finally a doctor during a routine examination in the Bolzano Regional Hospital in June 2001 found the spearhead in his back. How embarrassing,   having identified the most curious traces of pollen in his intestines, but having failed for years to detect the murder instrument. As a result the director of the Innsbruck investigations, the reknown professor of archaeology, made quickly his way to Ethiopia in order to dig for the bones of Lucy´s sisters.

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