Friday, December 31, 2010

Ice Man, the Mummy in the Glacier Part.I

The discovery of the mummified body of an Iron Age man preserved in a glacier on Austria’s Otztaler Alps stunned the world. After several years of research, the Ice Man puzzles scientists. The secrete of what drove him to his lonely death in an ice cave over 3,000 meters above the sea level remains a tantalizing enigma.
            On September 19, 1991, German mountaineers Erika and Helmut Simon mad a macabre discovery on the Hauslabjoch in the Otztaler Alps: sticking out of the ice, a human corpse lay face down on his stomach his dried out upper body covered by a parchment like skin. The thin ice still held his right leg, which was wrapped in straw and leather strips. The site soon attracted curious people and researchers who found all kinds of objects scattered around the body. Among these were a copper hatched and a complete set of hunting equipment. Several days later, the body was officially removed and flown to Innsbruck by helicopter.

 The scientists placed in charge of the investigation all agreed that Otzi, as the Ice man was nicknamed, was sensational find. They were able to determine the age of the corpse by means of the carbon 14 method, which was carried out at various laboratories in different countries, with each laboratory being given a different sample. Together with the stylistic classification of the objects fund around the body, the tests suggested that the man had died around 3300 BC. Apart from the age of the body, the scientists wanted to know exactly how it had remained intact in the ice for a period of about 5,000 years. After all, the oldest known corpses previously found in glaciers were only several hundred years old.

The body had not been found in the middle of a glacier but rather in a rock crevice at the edge of the ice sheet. This was a section where the frozen water was very deep. As this crevice did not have a natural out let, it had not been affected by movement in the great mass of ice. If the body had been exposed to the forces of a moving glacier, surely no trace of the Ice Man could have been found?