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Die linke Hand von Ötzi

The Incredible Age of the Find

Six days after the mummy was discovered, an archaeologist was finally brought in. Konrad Spindler, professor of Ancient and Early History at Innsbruck University, inspected the corpse and the finds and, based on the typology of the axe, immediately dated the whole find to be “at least four thousand years old”.

Until this discovery, such a well preserved find of a human several thousand years old – fully clothed and with numerous personal belongings – had never before been seen anywhere in the world.

Undisputable proof of the authenticity and extraordinary age of the Iceman and his possessions was provided by C-14 analysis. This method of dating organic material is commonly used by archaeologists. Four different scientific institutions analyzed tissue samples from the corpse and the finds. The results were unequivocal:

the Iceman lived between 3350 and 3100 BC.

The Iceman was therefore alive some 5,000 years ago, at a time when the discovery of copper was causing an economic and social transformation in Europe. Thus the Iceman had already been buried in the glacier for 600 years when the Egyptian pharaoh Cheops ordered the construction of the pyramid that bears his name. Stonehenge in England would not be built for several hundred years after his death.