Jun
07
2007

The Toughest Iceman Ever!

Does everyone remember Otzi the Iceman? The little frozen mummy they found in the Alps, back in the early Nineties? Of course you do. How could you forget something like that?

Otzi, at about 5300 years old, bears the distinction of being one of the oldest natural mummies in the world. Also, a five feet, five inches, and eighty-four pounds, he is one of the smallest people I am afraid of. And not just because he’s dead.
And the award for "most hardcore death" goes to...: That's right, to Otzi the Iceman for dying high on a mountain, covered in tattoos and the blood of his enemies, and shot though the shoulder with an arrow. We envy you, but only slightly.
And the award for "most hardcore death" goes to...: That's right, to Otzi the Iceman for dying high on a mountain, covered in tattoos and the blood of his enemies, and shot though the shoulder with an arrow. We envy you, but only slightly.

New research has finally put to rest (as it were) the question of Otzi’a death. It turns out that Otzi died as he lived: on a mountain, and totally hardcore. I will now list the evidence for this conclusion, in order of increasing bad-assness.

1) Otzi dressed all in leather. His cloak was made of woven grass, but his belt, vest, leggings, loincloth, and shoes were all leather. We know that’s what tough people wear.
2) Otzi wore a bearskin hat. I would never mess with anyone in a bearskin hat. Bears don’t give up their skin easily.
3) Otzi carried around a prehistoric medicine kit. Maybe this isn’t that hardcore, but it seems like a good idea. He had a string of two kinds of polypore mushrooms, which have antibacterial properties. Way to think ahead, Otzi!
4) Otzi had 57 tattoos. No elaboration needed.
5) Otzi carried an axe, a knife, a quiver of bone-tipped arrows, and a longbow. For comparison, I usually carry around my house keys, and sometimes a pen. John Rambo and Otzi probably shopped at the same stores, come to think of it.
5) The blood of four non-Otzi people was found on Otzi’s cloak. Whoa! After DNA analysis revealed this, some people began to speculate that Otzi may have been part of a raiding party. After baby showers, these are the roughest, toughest kind of parties around.
6) A recently constructed 3D model of Otzi’s body shows that he died of blood loss after getting shot with an arrow under his left collar bone. Previous examinations had revealed a wound beneath a matching tear in Otzi’s (leather) vest, inside of which was lodged an arrowhead, but the new CT scans clearly show that the arrow had torn an artery, which would have caused severe bleeding, shock, and eventually death by heart attack. A large haematoma, or a collection of blood from internal bleeding, was also revealed, which might suggest that the arrow was pulled out of the wound, shortly before death. The chances of surviving this sort of wound, even today, would be around 40%.

Wow. My hat goes off to you, little iceman.

There have been some cool shows about the iceman, but even wikipedia’s article is pretty interesting.

And here’s an article about the recent research on Otzi’s body.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

The most hard core iceman is Derek Boogaard. Not this chump.

posted on Fri, 06/15/2007 - 4:15pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

The Boogeyman is pretty hardcore, but until they pull him off the ice with an arrow in his chest, I'm afraid Otzie will retain the title.

posted on Sun, 06/17/2007 - 10:35am
lil skool girl's picture
lil skool girl says:

We are investigating this in school and i thought you're website was fun and useful! keep up the good work.

posted on Thu, 10/04/2007 - 7:03pm
uwish's picture
uwish says:

You make it fun to learn about things that regularaly, are BORING!!!!!

posted on Thu, 10/11/2007 - 6:45pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

otiz died when he was 5300 yrs. old

posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 10:09am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Now why can't i find a man as hardcore as Otzi?

posted on Sat, 11/24/2007 - 12:25pm
Bec McCready's picture
Bec McCready says:

I am in year 7 and attend high school, our debut subject in high school for history is 'Otzi.' We are studying this extraodinary 'Iceman' and his preservation, we are also summarising possible deaths, his health, his weapons, and the mumification of Otzi. I, personally, am intrigued about this particular subject and am eager to learn more! Please keep posting more useful information! This blog and Wiikipedia are my complete recommendations for information on Otzi, they are clear and useful, and supply links to other useful websites!

posted on Fri, 02/01/2008 - 8:06pm
person's picture
person says:

When I 1st learned about Otzi I was 11 yrs. old! I did not knoiw anything like this until I found out!! I thought that it was very amazing so I was very intersested about him sooo...I am 15 right now and I am still interested in him!!!!!! Otzi was an amazing person to learn about and I loved learning about him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

posted on Sun, 06/15/2008 - 9:07pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Hey! Otzi was a shepherd. Or some kind of herdsman. Maybe.

The article linked to above explains how mass spectrometry was recently used to find out exactly what animals Otzi made his pants and shoes out of.

And the answer is... cow shoes, sheep pants. Cows and sheep, the researchers point out, are just the sort of animals herdsmen would be caring for on their seasonal migrations. Which makes sense, of course, but I think I'm missing something—I wouldn't think that wearing sheep or cow would necessarily make you a herdsman, right? Just that you got some leather from a herdsman. Plus, if he was a herdsman, Otzi probably wouldn't have had a herd of sheep and cattle, so Otzi himself would have had to obtained at least one of his clothing materials from a different kind of herdsman. Or maybe he did some trading at a herdsman-only jamboree.

Anyway, the point of the article was mostly that this mass spectrometry thing has neat new applications in distinguishing between animal products. So clothing manufacturers can be more certain that, say, the cashmere they order is pure. thank goodness for that. I'm darn tired of wearing tainted cashmere.

posted on Thu, 08/21/2008 - 4:30pm

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