The Oldest Human Mummy-Otzi ‘The Iceman’
People just call him Iceman- the Otzi. The Otzi is the world oldest mummy preserved in freezing and who was destined to become very famous, is walking alone along a very long path. Otzi, the man from the Ice, who lived about 5,300 years ago, is now become a sensational topic of today. What is so unique of a Neolithic man( Otzi ) dead body to create a attractive whirl pool among the archaeologist and making a stunning reveal of human history?
The Origin Of Otzi
In 1991, the body of Otzi was discovered by 2 German hikers during the summer snowmelt in the Austrian Alps. The iceman’s body was remarkably intact as were his bow and arrows, dagger, copper axe as well as his clothing. Needless to say, the name Otzi comes from the Otztal (Otz valley), the Italian Alps in which he was discovered.
Analyses have shown that Otzi probably spent his childhood in Eisack Valley (near Feldthurns) and had evidently lived at least ten years in the Vinschgau (also in the Italian Tyrol) prior to his death. In a nutshell, this means the Iceman Otzi was an early “pre-Italian”.
The Oldest Human Mummy
Otzi is the oldest human Mummy ever found in the human history. However, it is not only his historical age that makes him particularly valuable for scientists but also the way in which he was mummified. Otzi is a so-called “wet mummy”, i.e. one in which humidity is retained in individual cells. The body tissue is elastic and suitable for performing detailed scientific investigations. Moreover, he is a natural mummy, unaltered by burial rites or other interventions. The Iceman with his complete clothing and equipment provides a clear snapshot of Stone Age life in Europe. Interestingly, archaeologists have determined that Otzi was an adult male between 40 and 50 when he died.
5,300 Years Ago?
It may sound ridiculous to preserve a corpse without any prominent decomposition for 5,300 years. However, this is proven by using a scientific test called Carbon 14 dating that can tell the age of almost anything that ever lived – dead animals, dead people, plants, or things like cloth, which comes from living matter. The Carbon 14 dating test showed that the Ice Man, otzi must be about 5,300 years old.
The long-maintained and extreme cold temperature inside the glacier acts as a giant refrigerator to prevent the process of decay takes place. Therefore, when Otzi was removed from the ice, his body quickly began to rot and scientists had to put him into a deep freezer. Currently, the Otzi mummy is on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Italy and is kept in a special refrigeration chamber, at the constant temperature of -6 °C.
The Circumstance Of Otzi Dead
The cause and exact circumstance of Otzi dead are still debated. At first it was thought he was surprised by a winter storm, or ritually sacrificed. However, the wound in the hand suggests Otzi may have been engaged in hand-to-hand combat very shortly before he died. Nevertheless, the injury to the back of the shoulder has led some researchers to the view that Otzi was shot as he fled the confrontation.
Otzi’s Last Meal
Scientist reconstructed the Iceman’s last meal from his microscopic analysis of a tiny sample removed from the mummy’s transverse colon, the part of the intestine just beyond the stomach.
Those scientists were very impressed by the quality of the meals Otzi had. They found out the Otzi last meal was composed of cereal, red deer meat, ibex meat and other plant foods.
The Otzi’s Tattoo
The Iceman’s body is covered with over 50 tattoos in the form of groups of lines and crosses. Unlike modern tattooing methods, the tattoos were not produced with needles but by means of fine incisions into which charcoal was rubbed. Interestingly, Otzi’s tattoos are located at points where his body was subjected to considerable strain during his lifetime and very probably caused him a lot of pain due to wear. The tattoos were therefore, probably intended as therapeutic measures rather than as symbols.
This infers the Iceman might have undergone pain-relieving treatment on multiple occasions. Astoishingly, the tattooed areas correspond to skin acupuncture lines. Before Otzi it was thought that this treatment had only originated two thousand years later in China.
Again, the mystery remains to be demystified.
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