What Killed Ötzi the Iceman?

Chuck Banner | February 19th, 2017

One day in September of 1991, a couple of German tourists hiking in the Alps almost literally stumbled upon something amazing – the remains of what turned out to be Europe’s oldest mummy. The figure’s lower body was partially frozen in ice, but when archaeologists were able to extract it a few days later, they estimated it to be about 4,000 years old, from the Chalcolithic Period, also known as the Copper Age.

From microscopic examinations and x-rays, researchers have determined that Ötzi the Iceman (so named because he was found in the Ötztal Alps on the Austrian-Italian border and, of course, frozen in ice) was a man about 30-45 years old, approximately 5’ 3” tall, and weighing about 110 pounds.

Not only is Ötzi the oldest mummy ever discovered in Europe, but a few other things also make him remarkable: his blood cells were still intact, even thousands of years later, making them the oldest blood cells ever found. And genetic research determined that he has 19 living relatives. Researchers were even able to analyze the grains of pollen and dust on his clothing to pinpoint almost the exact location where he spent most of his life, and they determined that he had 57 primitive tattoos, which were probably associated with acupuncture treatments. Talk about interesting!

At first, archaeologists thought that maybe Ötzi had died from exposure in a snowstorm, or that he was the victim of some sort of ritual sacrifice. But recently, chief inspector Alexander Horn of Munich, Germany was tasked with solving the mystery. Using the items found at the scene, like Ötzi’s hunting gear, Horn determined that the iceman was actually resting at his time of death. Since previous research had shown that Ötzi had just finished a meal when he died, it made sense – he was ambushed by one of his enemies.

Ötzi also had wounds on his hands from a few days before his death, probably the result of some type of altercation from which he seems to have emerged victorious. That could explain the vindictiveness of whoever killed him, and the surprise attack. Horn says that the arrow wound that ultimately killed Ötzi looks to be made by an arrow flying a long distance.

Next Article
  • The Glow In The Dark Jellyfish Ice Cream

    Next time you are decided which scoop is best suited for you, arguing about if you prefer vanilla or strawberry - why not give glow in the dark jellyfish ice cream a go? This latest type of ice cream combines synthesized jellyfish proteins, that allow it to glow in the dark when licked. [caption id="attachment_7628"...

    Read More
  • The Terror That Was Balloonfest '86

    In 1986, United Way of Cleveland in Ohio decided to put together a world record by blowing up and releasing the most balloons ever: over one-and-a-half million balloons were released. Of course, the event was put together for fun and was meant to be completely harmless, it was a fundraising publicity stunt. However, the balloons...

    Read More
  • The Siege Of Candia Lasted 21 Years

    The city of Candia which is today known as Heraklion on Crete played an important part during the Ottoman-Venetian Wars, so much so that it was besieged for over 21 years. The siege of Candia is seen by Historians as one of the longest sieges in history. It started in 1648 and did not end...

    Read More
  • These Places Were All Abandoned Long Ago. Take a Look At Them Now

    Generally, when we think of a cool vacation stop we think of lush green gardens, maid service, infinity pools, you name it. It’s not often that we think about what happens to an area when people, for some reason, stop going and it’s left alone. Our list of abandoned places is sure to make you...

    Read More
  • A Dog’s Nose Print Is Unique Like A Human’s Fingerprint

    Each dog’s nose print is different and unique, and of course, each dog’s nose has amazing sniffing capabilities which truly make dogs one of the world’s favorite pets. What may come as a surprise is that paw prints are not really unique at all, but dogs can be identified by their nose print. [caption id="attachment_7579"...

    Read More
  • The Mysterious Indian Boulder That Continues To Defy Gravity

    Hundreds, even thousands, of tourists flock to see this 250-tonne boulder in India every year. This rock has stood for centuries and appears to be able to defy gravity, not moving at all even though it looks like it may roll at any moment. Brave tourists stand right under it, posing for an epic Instagram...

    Read More
  • The Blitz During World War II Happened By Accident

    The Blitz refers to what is thought to be a strategic campaign of bombing by the Germans against London. It also included various over English cities from 1940 to 1941, the targets were populated areas, factories, and dockyards. During the nightly bombing raids that happened across the United Kingdom, many...

    Read More
  • The Myth Of Sharks Curing Cancer

    One great myth that was making rounds across the scientific world and across all the internet was that sharks had suddenly become the cure for cancer. And they are indeed incredible animals, probably one of the world’s most famous creatures: everyone knows what a shark is. Some people are fascinated and some people shudder in...

    Read More