Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Rest, a Meal, Then Death for 5,000-Year-Old Glacier Mummy: Scientists Consolidate Results of Research Into Ötzi’s State of Health and His Death

There is now broad agreement on the circumstances of Ötzi's death. Around 100 experts on mummies from nearly every single continent gathered for the "2nd Bolzano Mummy Congress" held at the European Academy of Bolzano from the 20th to the 22nd October 2011, with the aim of discussing any diseases he might have been suffering from and the events surrounding his death. From the moment of his discovery 20 years ago, Ötzi -- the 5,000-year-old glacier mummy -- has been puzzling the scientific research community, though little by little he is also revealing many of his secrets.

There was broad agreement at the Bolzano Congress about the last hour of his life. Albert Zink, Head of the Institute for Mummy Research at EURAC, reports as follows about the circumstances of the Iceman's death: "He felt safe enough to take a break, and settled down to a copious meal. While thus resting, he was attacked, shot with an arrow and left for dead." There was no evidence pointing to a possible burial as some scientists have suggested in the past. "The position of the mummified body with his arm pointing obliquely upwards, the lack of any piles of stones or other features which often accompany burial sites, runs counter to the burial theory," he continues.

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