19 April 2016 – 9:56 pm
Presentation of an Ötzi mummy replica by paleoartist Gary Staab
Bolzano – On Wednesday 20 April 2016, the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology presented a life-size replica of Ötzi’s mummified body. Museum director Angelika Fleckinger described the multi-stage process of how the sculpture was made by the renowned American paleoartist Gary Staab.
The mummy replica is part of the new travelling exhibition on the Iceman, which will be touring the USA and Canada from 2017. The sculpture came about thanks to cooperation with the Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center in New York. We owe this extraordinary collaboration to the huge interest in the story of the Iceman by American research institutes and museums.
Pre-existing CT images of the Iceman were used as a basis to fashion a resin replica of the mummy. These data made it possible to create a model of Ötzi using a 3D printer in the absence of air. After the blank had hardened, the mummy was sculpted and hand-painted by renowned paleoartist Gary Staab and his team – work that took many months to complete. Staab travelled to Bolzano last summer to view the original at first hand. The reconstruction of the hands was a challenge, since they could not be captured on CT scans.
Three replicas were made of the mummy. One of the replicas will be part of a travelling exhibition that is being created on behalf of the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology and will tour North America from 2017. The South Tyrol Museum is responding to the huge interest of museums and science centres in the US and Canada that would like to feature the Iceman in their exhibitions. The premiere of the travelling exhibition will be on October, 2017 in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh (1 Million annual visitors). Other stops have been earmarked. This travelling exhibition for the North American market is the third that the South Tyrol Museum has provided on loan to interested museums around the world.
The second and the third replica of the Iceman mummy is being used for teaching purposes in Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center in New York (DNALC), the world’s biggest scientific learning centre for the subject of genetics. 35,000 students and teachers receive instruction in six research laboratories every year. They learn about their own DNA and compare it with the DNA of famous ancient ancestors in the evolution of humans, such as the Neanderthal and examples of homo sapiens sapiens such as the Iceman. Reconstructions of the bones of ancient ancestors and the Iceman mummy copy have been put on display in a dedicated part of the DNA Learning Center.
At the press conference, statements of the DNALC director Dave Micklos and of the artist Gary Staab have been shown via video. They explained the importance of the Ötzi mummy for carrying out genetic research and the creation process of the replica mummy. They also described the background to the cooperation with the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology. Please see extra sheet for a summary of the two statements.
The American film production company NOVA filmed the entire process of the mummy reconstruction and used it to summarise the latest research findings on Ötzi the Iceman. The 48-minute documentary entitled Iceman Reborn was broadcast in the US on the PBS channel on 17 February to great acclaim (director and producer: Bonnie Brennan).
Creative process by the DNALC and Gary Staab and photos of the mummy. See downloads below.
1. Creative process of the replica
2. Interview with the paleoartist Gary Staab
3. Interview on the cooperation between the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology and the Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center with DNALC Director Dave Micklos