Main content

intro image

A Glimpse into the Body

One of the greatest challenges facing the researchers was to examine the interior of the mummy endoscopically. Special high-precision titanium instruments had to be developed for this purpose in order to avoid contaminating tissue samples with heavy metals.
Samples from the internal organs were obtained by cutting apertures in the mummy’s back. Using computerized navigational aids, the instruments were guided to the exact spot where samples were to be taken. The examinations were documented using a special high-definition camera.

This journey through the mummy’s body can be viewed on video at the South Tyrol  Museum of Archaeology. Some of the mummy’s organs had shrunk considerably and had shifted slightly from their respective original positions. The Iceman’s lungs were blackened with soot particles, the result of spending a great deal of time in front of open fires. Slight hardening of the arteries was evident at the base of the brain.

An examination of the Iceman’s stomach contents provided clues about his last meal. He had eaten a porridge of einkorn, meat and vegetables. The grain may have been eaten in the form of bread.
Several institutes and research teams worldwide are still working on the samples taken.

The initial analyses of the Iceman’s mitochondrial DNA have shown that he generally fits in with the central European population of the time.