Feeds

5,000-year-old 'ice man' was shot to death

Had 99 problems, but dying of exposure wasn't one

The Power of One Infographic

The final days of Oetzi, the Copper Age hunter whose frozen body was found preserved in an Italian glacier in 1991, were about as rough as they come.

New investigations by a research team from Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich and Bolzano, Italy conclude the world's oldest "ice mummy" probably suffered at least two separate attacks leading up to his frosty demise.

In addition to being shot in the back with an arrow and bludgeoned from behind - both of which likely caused the end to his 45-year existence - Oetzi received a nasty gash on his hand just days earlier that reached down to the bone.

Basically, a real bitch of a week.

"We are now able to make the first assertions as to the age and chronology of the injuries," wrote Professor Andreas Nerlich, who lead the study. "It is now clear that Oetzi endured at least two injuring events in his last days, which may imply two separate attacks. Although the ice mummy has already been studied at great length, there are still new results to be gleaned. The crime surrounding Oetzi is as thrilling as ever!"

The body and belongings of Europe's oldest natural human mummy has offered scientists an unique look at Copper Age life since its discovery in the Schnalstal glacier on the border between Austria and Italy. For instance, the food found in his intestine show his final meal consisted largely of cereals and a bit of meat cooked on an open fire.

The copper knife found on his body combined with high levels of copper and arsenic found in his hair also suggest he was involved in smelting tools and weapons.

But the exact nature of his death has remained a considerable source of mystery and speculation. At first it was thought Oetzi had the relatively peaceful end of over-exposure in the frigid temperatures. A CAT scan study in 2001, however, discovered an arrowhead lodged in his shoulder. Further investigation indicated the arrow shaft was even removed before his demise. A bruised area discovered nearby the exit wound was likely from being stuck by a blunt object. A deep and unhealed cut on his hand also indicate his death wasn't exactly on a bed of roses.

The Ice Man got shoteth

The LMU researchers who analyzed previous studies and conducted their own study of the body said Otzi probably died because the arrow hit a main artery. The injury to his hand "clearly indicated that the laceration must have been survived for at least several days."

The two injuries to his back "suggest a wound age of the back lesions of less than a few hours survival time."

The study appears in the January online issue of the journal Intensive Care Medicine. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.