Otzi the Iceman – Part 3/4: Frozen Fritz’s Fatal Foray (ca. 3300 BC)

By: The Scribe on Wednesday, March 28, 2007

the iceman comethAlthough it was originally believed that Otzi the Iceman, Europe’s oldest known mummy, was ritually sacrificed by his people to appease the gods, further forensic analysis on the body has revealed that, in fact, ‘Frozen Fritz’ may have been the victim of an ancient murder!

A small tear on Otzi’s coat matched the shape of an arrowhead found lodged in his shoulder, suggesting that he may have bled to death after a confrontation with another individual, possibly from a competing tribe. However, Professor Annaluisa Pedrotti, from Trento University in Italy believes otherwise – according to her research, the type of arrowhead found in Otzi’s shoulder is known only from a very specific area in the southern part of the alps, suggesting that the attacker may have actually been one of his own people.

the ice man's hand In addition, research done on the body in 2002 revealed a deep wound on Otzi’s right hand – cut down to the bone. Because his gear was found neatly arranged in the ice nearby, it appears that Otzi may have sat down to rest after the conflict and, weakened by blood loss, died shortly thereafter.

Unfortunately for Otzi, even if he had been able to avoid his fatal confrontation, he would have likely died in the near future regardless. At 46 years old, ‘Frozen Fritz’ already suffered from intestinal cancer as well as an intestinal parasite known as whipworm. It is thought that perhaps the 52 tattoos found all over his body – consisting of various lines and dots – were the results of a type of acupuncture, perhaps in an attempt to alleviate his suffering.

Tomorrow: Otzi’s Curse…?


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