Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Exploring Ötzi

Discovered in 1991 on a glacier in the Ötztal Alps in Austria, Ötzi the Iceman is a beautifully preserved mummy of a man who died in around 3300 BCE. Amazingly, scientist have pinpointed where he lived (by analyzing the isotopic composition of his teeth), what his last meal was (chamois, red deer and some plants), his possible occupation (copper smelter), among many other details. Importantly, it was also determined that he was a victim of violence: an arrowhead was lodged in his shoulder, there were bruises and cuts to various parts of his body, and he apparently received a blow to the head.

The European Academy Bozen/Bolzano recently released a fantastic photoscan of his entire body, which allows anyone to explore and analyze him in detail. I particularly recommend checking out his tattoos -- interesting stuff indeed.

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