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Ötzi- overview

Ötzi, the glacier man

  • Information about the mumified prehistoric glacier man from the Alps, a.k.a. "Ötzi".
  • Pictures from his reconstructed gear
  • The latest discoveries about this unique finding
  • The replication of one of his arrows

Finding spot Left: "Tissenjoch": the finding spot ("Fundstelle") in the Ötztaler Alps, at the Austrian / Italian border. 

Vindplaats (foto)

The finding of a mummificated body and his outfit in the Alps near Innsbruck, Austria (see map), dating from about 3500 B.C.E. has teached us many details about the life, civilization and craftsmanship from the people that lived there in that period.

If Ötzi was no exception, then people wore very nice and pratical clothes, which not only showed their knowledge, but also their sense of fashion and beautifulness. His soles and upper parts of his shoes were decorated separete and then joined together. Update: A new theory about his shoes by J. Wood (March 2005)
His hat was made of the skin of the dangerous brown bear.

About 2000 B.C. the brown bear became extincted in large parts of Europe.

clothes He probably hasn't fabricated his own clothes since the damaged parts were repaired (by him?) with grass and threads. The result of the different pieces of goat-leather, dark and light, also had a beautiful, fashionable, effect.
It is possible to sow leather with a bone needle when the leather is wet or tanned, but it's better to use a horn or antler piercer for the holes.
His leather "underpants" were held up by leather strings.

Real "pants" didn't exist until about 2500 years later...

hanger The meaning of this item is not sure. it could have had a religious function or just decoration. 
A small pebble which isn't too hard, can be drilled through with a stick, some water, sand and a lot of patience...
It's not sure what he transported in the little box made of birchen bark. Some say it was to transport glowing charcoal. box
Ötzis axe The handle of his axe was made of yew-wood, and the angle of its branche appeared to be carefully chosen: almost 90 0 . A blade of copper could be inserted in a vertical indentation, with birchen tar and leather straps.
The material of the blade appeared to be 99.7% pure copper. It was cast and then very probably cold worked to obtain a very hard result.
Experiments proove the axe could become even more effective when a piece of leather was inserted between the blade and the handle, to catch the hard hits.
A few meters from his body a quiver was found which contained 12 half-fabricated and 2 completed arrows. (more...) quiver
making fire Fire could be made with a tinder and some pyrite (a cristal which contains iron). Here an expert shows how.
Fine finished flint daggers in matching sheaths were probably part of the standard outfit 5000 years ago. The sheath shows the great skills of the maker. The haft has a strap to prevent loss. This is necessary, as I experienced many times during my experiments. flint knife
bag His back-pack was made of a bent branch of a hazel-tree, a board of the larch and of goatskin. Its purpose was probably to contain provisions and other important things.
His tattoos on his lower back and knee were probably made with charcoalpowder and were for therapeutic purposes. From later findings in Great-Britain we know the charcoal was mixed with fat and inserted under the skin with a bone or antler needle. tattoo

The replication of a stone-age arrowhead 
by professor Harm Paulsen

  1. a raw piece of flint is first roughly shaped with a stone
  2. a pressing stick will shape the point further.
  3. the arrowhead is put in position with a thread and birchen tar on the carved stem.
  4. the other side is also carved and the feathers will rotate the arrow so it will be a more precise weapon (on short distance) by rotating in the air.
  5. he adds three feathers with hot birchen-tar.
  6. a tread goes in a spiral around the feathers and the stem, the feathers are spread with a piece of bone.
from flint to arrowhead the arrow head: a final touch
fixing the feather to the arrow putting tar on the arrow to hold the arrowhead
putting a feather on the arrow
fixing the arrowhead to the arrow

Writer / editor

Deze bladzijde is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

April, 10th 1999 / March 27th 2005

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