Ötzi, the Iceman: The famous frozen mummy in Europe who lived more than 5000 years ago

In 1991, the human body, found under the snow in the Alps was the one who lived and died in the European Alps some 5,200 years ago. Considered “Europe’s most famous mummy,” the remains of the man who was murdered in the Alps 5,000 years ago continue to reveal details of Neolithic life and insights into modern health. When the body was dug out in 1991, the mummy caused an international sensation, particularly through books and documentaries. It was an iceman and researchers named it Ötzi. The mummy was discovered digging glaciers high in the Italian Alps.  At that time, in the summer of 1991, an iceberg in the Otstal Alps, which borders Italy and Austria, split in two. Following that the Germans who went there to climb the mountain saw the dead body in the snow.

Ötzi is now housed in the Bolzano Museum in Italy where his wizened body is kept in a custom cold chamber maintained at a constant temperature of –21.2 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, the discovery of Ötzi is considered one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century. The remains of Ötzi are sprayed with sterile water to create an icy, protective exoskeleton four or five times a year and it has been done to make sure that the mummy is wet always. The discovery was found after the carbon dating conducted by researchers.

As per the research, iceman lived long before the rise of Europe’s earliest cities, and even before Egypt’s first pyramid was built. 

Ötzi- The iceman

Based on his DNA signature, Ötzi was part of the migration of Neolithic farmers that came through Anatolia (modern Turkey) 8,000 to 6,000 years ago, replacing Europe’s Paleolithic hunters and gatherers. He was left-handed and wore a U.S. men’s size 8 shoe. One of the researchers in the Bolzano revealed that Ötzi had brown eyes and dark brown hair, and he had a typical Mediterranean skin tone, and it was found in the mummy study.

Ötzi died in early summer in Europe’s Alps region. One theory says that warm summer winds dried him out. The Institute for Mummy Studies has sequenced Ötzi’s genome, they’re genetically analyzing his gut microbiome. Another discovery is that Ötzi’s gut contained Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium found today in half of the world’s population, with severe or deadly health consequences for about 10 percent of us.

Read Also: Neaderthals

One theory is that hybridization occurred in the Middle East before or after the last glacial maximum of the last ice age when glaciers swept south and made much of Europe uninhabitable.

Since his discovery, Ötzi has undergone large scientific analyses, which have broadened our understanding of what Ötzi’s life was like and how he died, as well as revealed more about the time period in which he lived. A CT scan revealed an arrowhead piercing his left shoulder. It was an active defensive wound, meaning he likely tried to grab the blade. The Iceman also had substantial brain hemorrhaging, but experts disagree about its cause.