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Seine Gürteltasche

The Belt and Pouch

The Iceman’s belt was made from a 4- to 5 cm-wide strip of calf’s leather. The fragments found show that the belt was originally almost two metres long and could therefore be wound twice around the hips and knotted.

The pouch was a piece of sewn-on leather, the opening of which could be closed with a fine leather thong. The Iceman used his belt pouch to store various flint tools: a scraper, a drill and a flint flake. A 7.1 cm bone awl was also found. It could be used for various jobs from sewing to tattooing, or simply as a toothpick.

The belt pouch was filled for the most part with a black mass, later identified as tinder fungus (Fomes fomentarius). The fungus, part of a prehistoric lighter, contains traces of iron pyrite. When struck against flint, iron pyrite nodules produce a shower of sparks. When the sparks land on a bed of fluffy tinder fungus, the fungus begins to glow and can be used to kindle a fire.