Who was Ötzi or Similaun man who lived more than 5000 years ago that was found by two hikers 29 years ago on the border between Italy and Austria?
Studies of his body and equipment have answered almost all of our questions: Ötzi came to us from the Copper Age, he was around 40 or 45 years old at the time of his death and radiocarbon dating places him around 3.350 BC. His enviable state of conservation is due to the natural conditions in which he found himself at the time of his death, it is conceivable that his body was first dried by a warm autumn wind and, later, he found himself covered with snow and swallowed from the ice.
The depressed position of the rocky basin where he met his death protected him from the movements of the glacier above for 5300 years, until he emerged in September 1991. The almost immediate discovery by the Simon spouses was also a fortuitous event, which occurred before post-thawing deterioration of the body occurred.
The drying has certainly shortened his body size, Ötzi today measures 1.58 m and weighs 13 kg (originally he weighed about 50), he carried the current number 38 EU 0r 8 US of feet, has a diastema in the upper dental arch, wisdom teeth are absent, he was lactose intolerant and suffering from Lyme disease.
The color of his eyes was blue tending to gray and during the excavations, a lock of brown hair was also found, 9 cm long, perfectly preserved. Some nails saw the light during the excavations in 1992. Ötzi is also richly tattooed: 47 signs, crosses and lines decorate his skin. These signs probably had a therapeutic use and were performed at strategic points on the body.
Numerous objects were also found along with the body, including a bow, quiver, arrows, ax, a flint dagger, bark containers, medical herbs and various items of clothing, including a perfectly preserved cap, cloak, shoes, jacket, trousers and a belt. Over 70 objects framed the man who came from the ice, masterpieces of weaving and craftsmanship, works of his manual skills.
Thanks to modern technologies it has been possible to verify that Ötzi died due to an arrowhead wound on the shoulder; he now rests in the South Tyrolean Archaeological Museum, based in Bolzano, attracting numerous visitors every year and maintaining the status of the oldest preserved man in the world.
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