Ötzi the Iceman, Europe's oldest mummy, likely suffered a head injury before he died roughly 5,300 years ago, according to a new protein analysis of his brain tissue.
Ever since a pair of hikers stumbled upon his astonishingly well-preserved frozen body in the Alps in 1991, Ötzi has become one of the most-studied ancient human specimens. His face, last meal, clothing and genome have been reconstructed — all contributing to a picture of Ötzi as a 45-year-old, hide-wearing, tattooed agriculturalistwho was a native of Central Europe and suffered from heart disease, joint pain, tooth decay and probably Lyme disease before he died.
None of those conditions, however, directly led to his demise. A wound reveals Ötzi was hit in the shoulder with a deadly artery-piercing arrow, and an undigested meal in the Iceman's stomach suggests he was ambushed, researchers say. [Mummy Melodrama: Top 9 Secrets About Otzi the Iceman]
A few years ago, a CAT scan showed dark spots at the back of the mummy's cerebrum, indicating Ötzi also suffered a blow to the head that knocked his brain against the back of his skull during the fatal attack.