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Ötzi, the Austrian Iceman


      "The Iceman" was discovered on September 19, 1991 by Erika and Helmut Simon, a German couple out for a hike. He was found on the Hauslabjoch Pass, which cuts over the main Alpine ridge dividing Austria from Italy, at an elevation of 10,500 feet.

      Given the name Ötzi, he was preserved by a rare combination of events. After having apparently fallen into a crevasse and dying of hypothermia 5,300 years ago, the hunter was soon covered by snow, virtually eliminating damage to his body from decomposition. And, just as important, he was protected from the glacier's grinding action by his location in a bedrock depression.

      In March, 1998, Ötzi, with tools including a copper ax and a stone dagger that were also recovered, was put on display in a special refrigerated case at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in the city of Bolzano, in northern Italy. Among the special guests as the display opening were Erika and Helmut Simon.

      In September 2000, samples of bone, tissue and teeth were taken in hopes of discovering more details about his life.

Discovering the Iceman
This book, by Shelley Tanaka, gives children a well-illustrated look at the discovery of the Iceman.

Ice Mummies: Return of the Iceman
The complete transcript of a program shown on NOVA on November 24, 1998.

South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology
Otzi's home in Bolzano, Italy, has a photo album of the objects dicovered with him.

Plants and the Iceman
A report by James Holms Dickson on Ötzi's last journey.


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