12 Arrow

What discoveries were made about the Stone Age that were found because of the Iceman?

What did the Iceman help us to discover about the late Stone Age?

Perhaps the greatest was his copper axe. It demonstrated a copper age much earlier then previously thought. However, information about clothing, life style and beliefs are very important.

The Iceman, nicked named "Otzi" by some is a unique archeological find. It's the remains of a man over 5,000 years old almost perfectly preserved. The nickname comes from the Otzi Alps in Austria

In November 1991 hikers reported finding a body in the ice. It was assumed that it was the remains of a hiker or climber. However, when a doctor went to recover the remains he felt that it appeared much older that most of the bodies found. Unfortunately, due to a storm and not having brought equipment to recover the body, the Iceman was hurriedly hacked out of the ice and taken to the morgue. Later it was found that parts of his body were left behind.

Originally they thought it was in Austria. However, as it was so close to the border a special trip was made to locate the border markers and be sure. Just before they were to leave, having found markers that placed the body in Austria, yet another marker was discovered! This, by about 100 yards made the Iceman an Italian.

On examination it was discovered that the remains did not have modern clothes and the articles appeared much older. What was believed to be a bronze ax suggested that this was a man from the bronze age. Immediately the remains were refrozen and an archeological dig conducted in the Alps. Konrad Spindler reportedly was first on the site and has published "The Man in the Ice" ISBN 0-517-88613-8.

When the carbon14 dating came back, it was found that Otzi was over 5,000 years old. Rather the from the bronze age he was actually Neolithic! When the "bronze" ax was subjected to scanning, the materials was found to be copper. This pushed the use of copper back several centuries.

When the clothing, ax, bow and materials were examined, the picture that emerged was that of a well equipped man of about 45 years old. He had a number of recent injuries to his arm and head. He had also received medical treatment for problems with his back and knees. His clothing was made of leather and vegetable matter. It include a waterproof cape and grass stuffed in the shoes to protect him from the cold.

Found with the body was an unfinished yew bow. This was taller ( 5 feet 10 inches long) by 7 inches more then the Iceman and might have had a pull of some 80 plus pounds. There were some 12 arrows in various stages of completion plus two fully hafted and fletched arrows. There was a 2 inch flint knife. The quality of the stone was poor and had it not been mounted on a wood handle, archeologists would have called it an arrowhead. There was a unique find of a pressure flaker. This was used to retouch (sharpen) flint tools. In the findings were bits of stone, bone and grass cordage. There were also mushrooms known to have some medical value. Lastly later examinations showed that he had been exposed to heavy metals related to the smelting of copper; had been sick seveal times and finally had a fresh wound with an arrowhead still in it.

It's believed he was either a traveler or a herder and became trapped in a snowstorm. His body lay in a slight depression that allowed the glacier to pass over him without disturbing anything. The hot summer that year probably marked one of the few times he was exposed for any length of time. The nearest known village to his location had been burned at sometime. This lead to the romantic suggestion that he was perhaps fleeing the attack. Actually he was found not far from a travel route.

A dispute as to his nationality began. After it was determined that he lay some 100 yards inside the Italian border, agreement was reached for Austria to conduct the examination and for Italy to house the body in a museum.

While the body is now in Italy the examination of the remains and the materials continue.

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