Otzi is a mummy from the stone age, 5300 years ago, discovered by two German hikers named Erika and Helmut Simon in 1991 (1). “The Iceman” as he was nicknamed, is a mummy who was unfortunately murdered due to jealously most likely from his important role in the community. Archaeologist have an idea who Otzi is including his importance to the community, how he died and why because of artifacts found with his body. Belongings carried on a person often signified the importance of a person in the community.
Archaeologist believe Otzi was important to the community because he was found with a copper bladed-axe. Copper artifacts were very rare back then and only certain important people had copper weapons. “Otzi’s copper axe is an important clue about his social status. Copper axes and daggers were status symbols denoting membership of the warrior or leadership class, as attested to by human-like stone statues of the time. The Iceman and his family therefore had considerable status within their community and may well have been cattle owners, chiefs or village representatives.
” (1) This quote explains how important the copper axe is as a clue to who Otzi was 5300 years ago. Another artifact suggest that Ozti was a hunter since he carried a long bow and arrows that appeared to be made by him, as they have unfinished carvings on it, including incomplete arrows, with only two done. This lead to the fact Otzi was making his weapons as he traveled to hunt. Another important tool of his was his dagger, made of flint, it which would have carved his tools and prepared the animals he hunted, though the dagger was too small to use for hunting or as a way to defend himself.
Just the tools and weapons were important research for the archaeologist but the most important artifact hound was Otzi himself. Otzi is very important for archeologist because he is the key artifact to answer questions of the stone age. When Otzi was found, he had his weapons and clothes with him, leaving several clues on what humans wore and what weapons they had 5300 years ago. Archaeologist already had an idea of what humans used in the stone age but with Otzi there is more evidence. The reason why archaeologists find Otzi so important is because he is the oldest intact mummy ever found.
“Some have called the discovery of Otzi one of the most spectacular archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. He is oldest intact human ever found. ”(2) This is an example of what archeologist thought of the Iceman. Otzi’s body is interesting because he was in his 40-50s when he died, which was old back then and people his age did not usually go out hunting. Otzi was not the healthiest when he died, he had arthritis in his joints and whipworms, which are worms in the intestine and can cause diseases(4).
Archeologist wonder why a unhealthy old man would be up in the mountains, one reason could be that he was chased up there. The evidence shows that he was an older, unhealthy man who died alone in a place he normally would not have been. For years it was a mystery of how Otzi died, with many archeologist suggesting different ideas but having no definitive proof. Some of the suggestions were that he froze to death, wild animals attacked him, he got caught in a blizzard, or was killed by other people(3).
Archaeologist found evidence of a flint arrowhead in Otzi’s left shoulder, pointing to the fact Otzi was murdered. To prove that this flint arrowhead killed Otzi, archaeologist found the wound opening on his back, showing that it did not heal before he died. “an arrow entered his back, passed near his lung and severed an artery, causing him to die from loss of blood. ”(2). Yet if Otzi was murdered it was most likely by a group of people and Otzi was able to run away but unfortunately lost to much blood, leading to his death.
Otzi took his last breath in the mountains, after being shot with an arrow, and soon was covered in snow and ice, leaving his body to be frozen in time. It is very rare to find fully intact mummies from the stone age, and the find of Otzi is a very rare find. Such a find is exciting as it helps archeologists to piece together clues as to who a person was, how they died, and their importance to the community. 5300 years ago, an older, unhealthy man died along in the mountains, a place he normally would not be.
His weapons were a key find as there was a copper axe, one of the first ever found of that age indicating his importance to the community, and a flint dagger which indicated he was a hunter. His wound which still had an arrowhead in it was unhealed, and indicated that he had been shot. Put together, it is speculated that he was murdered, likely due to jealousy of fellow community members or bandits. Piecing all of these clues together, archeologists are able to create a story about the Iceman, and I think the greatest story of Otzi was how he died with the blood loss from an arrowhead in his left shoulder.