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Ötzi the Iceman
There was a bit of a diplomatic struggle between Austria and Italy for the ownership of the body. His body and belongings are now displayed in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano in the Southern Tyrol (Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol).
There was also a long legal struggle by the finders, plaintiffs Helmut and Erika Simon, for a suitable reward. After many court hearings, the provincial government agreed to pay Erika Simon €150,000. By that time 17 years had passed, and her husband was dead.
Cause of death
Further research found that the arrow's shaft had been removed before death, and close examination of the body found bruises and cuts to the hands, wrists and chest. Cerebral trauma suggested a blow to the head. One of the cuts was to the base of his thumb that reached down to the bone but had no time to heal before his death.
At present it is believed that death was caused by a blow to the head. Researchers are unsure if this was due to a fall, or from being struck with a rock by another person.
The 57 tattoos of Ötzi the Iceman were made from fireplace soot and precious stone crystals. There were groups of short, parallel, vertical lines to both sides of the lumbar spine, a cross-shaped mark behind the right knee, and various marks around both ankles.
X-ray examination of his bones showed "age-conditioned or strain-induced degeneration" in these areas. These tattoos may have been related to pain relief treatments similar to acupuncture. If so, this is at least 2000 years before their previously known earliest use in China (c. 1000 BC).
DNA sequence analysis has shown that Ötzi had brown eyes, blood type 'O', was lactose intolerant, and was likely to suffer heart disease. He was more closely related to modern Corsicans and Sardinians than to populations in the Alps, where he was discovered. His ancestors probably came from the Middle East as agriculture became more widespread. He was also the first known case of a person infected by the Lyme disease bacterium. He was middle-aged.
- pronounced ˈœtsi (info • help)
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