anthropology

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Otzi the Iceman

Otzi the Iceman is a nickname given to a very well preserved natural mummy of a man from Europe during the European Copper Age. He is the oldest natural human mummy preserved by freezing and he gives an extraordinary view of the European Copper Age. Otzi the Iceman aided us with an exceptional understanding of the European Copper Age from the equipment he was carrying, the cloth he was wearing, and the physical remains of his body.

A set of well preserved equipments were discovered along with Otzi the Iceman. The set of equipments included many different tools, but there were a few items that were interesting to scientists. They included a copper axe, and two pieces of birch fungus. The copper axe was particularly interesting because it was the only perfectly preserved prehistoric axe in the world. The axe was two feet long and the handle was made from a yew tree. Also, this was the only axe during the Copper Age that was made from yew. The copper axe, and various other tools found with Otzi provided scientists with an understanding of the tools being used during the period when Otzi was still alive. The other items found were two pieces of birch fungus, it was discovered that the fungus actually contains antibacterial effect. Thus was concluded that the birch fungus was used as medicine. This was a very important discovery because food decays over time, thus this medicine gave scientists a further understanding of the life style during the Copper Age. Like food, clothing tend to decay over time too, thus Otzi’s preserved clothing also provided a great understanding of Copper Age.

Not only were Otzi’s equipments preserved, but some of his clothing was also preserved. This was rare because clothing decay very easily, but because Otzi lied on the ice face down, many of his clothing were saved. Otzi’s clothing was quite complicated. It included a fur cape, a poncho or coat, a loincloth, a pair of leggings and a pair of shoes all made from leather and animal furs. When Otzi was discovered, scientists were surprised by the warmth and the quality of his clothing. His shoes were waterproof and thus seemed to be designed for walking on the snow. The well preserved complex clothing of Otzi provided scientists with additional understanding of the daily life during Copper Age. Along with the clothing and the equipment, the most important discovery was the physical remains of Otzi.

Lastly, the physical remains of Otzi’s body that ties the equipments and the clothing found to the Copper Age period. The body was extremely well preserved, so well preserved that the people who found the corpse thought that it was a modern corpse. By analyzing the corpse, scientists discovered that Otzi was from 3300 BC, and since he was covered in ice soon after his death, very little parts deteriorated. The analysis of Otzi’s stomach revealed that he had two meals before he died which gave hints to where he spent his last day. It also revealed that he had whipworm parasite in his stomach, which explained why he was carrying antibacterial medicine. On his body, many tattoo marks were found and many of them correspond to acupunctural points, which may suggest that that prehistoric people had a good understanding of their body.

In conclusion, Otzi the Iceman provided an exceptional understanding of the European Copper Age as seen from the equipments he was carry, the cloth that he was wearing, and the physical body of Otzi himself. Prehistoric mummies were rare to find, thus scientists had no idea of how people lived in the mountains, but due to the discovery of Otzi the Iceman along with his well preserved clothing and equipments, scientists can now understand the lifestyle during the Copper Age.


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