Otzi the Iceman

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Science and technology is being relied upon more than ever to unlock the mysteries of the past. This is particularly relevant to the undergone analysis of Otzi the iceman, the world’s oldest discovered ancient remain in a state of preservation. Since first discovery in 1991, scientific analysis on the body of Otzi and the objects found with him has revealed new evidence that has led to changing interpretations into his life and death. Carbon 14 analysis dates this iceman’s time of death to be 5300 BC, a time historians are still unfamiliar with – the copper age. Many objects found with Otzi provided evidence of this ancient society, and his people’s level of development. It was a society well adept at farming and animal domestication which is suggested through the barley and iron corn seeds found in his stomach contents, and his animal hide leggings, poncho and cap. His shoes were rope bound with grass insulation, which indicate that he was prepared for the alp terrain. Coal wrapped in maple leaves was clearly his source of fire, suggesting his knowledge in bushcraft. However analysis of the leaves revealed they were of a Norway maple tree – trees that only grow in the south of the alpine range. This revealed where Otzi’s trip began. His garments, weapons and tools may indicate that his was a planned expedition. However, it was scientific pollen analysis of the hop hornbeam pollen found in his intestines that led to the first breakthrough of Otzi’s identity. This plant was injested just before Otzi died when the plant was newly flowering, which is only between the months of April and May. Thus, the pollen revealed that Otzi died in spring. From this evidence the conclusion can be made that he was on a planned journey up the Alps in Spring– coincidentally, a common occurrence practiced today for Shepherds herding their stock to graze in the mountain pastures for

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