Ice Mummy Mystery Thawed Out

By Colhoun, Alexander | The Christian Science Monitor, October 5, 2000 | Go to article overview

Ice Mummy Mystery Thawed Out


Colhoun, Alexander, The Christian Science Monitor


Nine years after the world's oldest iceman was discovered by hikers 10,000 feet above the Austro-Italian border, a group of scientists have thawed the mummy to carry out research on his remains. Otzi, so called for the valley where he was discovered in a remote corner of the Similaun Mountains, lived between 3350 and 3100 BC, making him the oldest mummy ever found.

Naturally preserved in ice, Otzi may have fallen asleep in a blizzard and been quickly covered in snow, scientists believe. Perfectly preserved for five millenniums, he was frozen with an array of tools, equipment, and clothing that have offered researchers a rich and detailed view of pre-historic life.

Unraveling the mystery of the iceman's life experiences has not been as easy. Seeking clues, researchers at the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology in Italy raised the temperature inside Otzi's climate controlled environment from 21.2 degrees Fahrenheit up to 35. …

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