How did Otzi the Iceman die?article-1159632-03C137B6000005DC-627_634x403.jpg


We cannot ever know exactly how he died because the Ice Man can't tell us himself! But we can make some good guesses based on where he was found, what he was wearing, the condition of his body, and even the contents of his stomach which tells us what he last had to eat.

The Iceman's body has been examined, measured, x-rayed, and dated since his discovery. Tissues and gut contents were looked at under microscopes, as was the pollen found on his gear. At the time of his death, Otzi was a 30-to-45-year old man and around 160 cm (5'3") tall (probably no taller than you are).

The many theories of his death..

1. A death during a winter storm
One theory is that he was a hunter who had been in poor health and who was tired on the mountain, he fell down cold, fell asleep and eventually peacefully foze to death, perhaps after being caught by a fog or a blizzard.
This theory was thrown away in 2001, after an x-ray showed a flint arrowhead buried in his left shoulder.
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2. A victim of a ritual sacrifice, perhaps for being a chieftain.
This theory explains why some of the weapons discovered next to the mummy were not ready for use and why so many objects were found right next to him.
Some of the objects were valuable and would have been taken by his murderer if Oetzi had died in a fight at the spot where he was found.
After looking at what he ate, it tells us that he had died in April. But pollen found at the site showed us that the body was buried in August or September.
By that time, the ice would have melted, making a climb to that height more possible.

3. Illness/ Injury in a fight or fall.
The growth-lines in his one surviving fingernail prove to us that he suffered from some very painful illness, very often.
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He also had some fractured ribs, and some arthritis in different parts of his body. This leads us into thinking questions like: Were the fractured ribs the result of a fall or fight shortly before his death? Did the fractures happen after death? Did it contribute to the death?
Otzi showed signs of a fight of some kind so this theory remains possible.

4. Murder
A stone arrowhead embedded in his left shoulder, and some cuts on his hands, wrist, and ribcage, along with traces of blood from four other people have been found on his clothes and weapons. This indicates that he might have been in a fight or killed by enemies.
One theory is that he was a shepherd who was killed by another shepherd who wanted a larger flock of animals.
Another theory is that the iceman was injured in a fight a few days before he was killed by the arrow. He fled from his village in a hurry (explains why his arrows were unfinished). Murder is a strong possibility, although we still don't have a clue to what the motive would have been.
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Flint arrowhead found in the back of his left shoulder.