Otzi the Ice Man of the Alps

On September 19, 1991, in the remote mountains on the border of Austria and Italy, hikers stumbled upon the corpse of a 5,300 year-old man. Dubbed “Ötzi,” this perfectly preserved iceman is the oldest human ever found.

This man lived 5,300 years ago. He is the oldest and best-preserved natural mummy ever found, so protected by the cold that researchers can determine how he lived, where he came from, what ailed him, what he ate for his last meal, and what ultimately must have killed him.

Ötzi lived and died before recorded human history but the story written in his clothes, tools, skin, hair — and even inside his immaculately preserved body — will revolutionize how we view our ancestors from the Stone Age.

Several pieces of wood were discovered near the axe and bow: a two-meter-long U-shaped rod of hazel wood and two narrow wooden boards of larch wood measuring 38 and 40.3 cm with notched ends.

The pieces are thought to be the parts of a backpack. The hazel rod served as the frame, while the two boards served as horizontal connecting pieces. The pieces were originally bound together with grass string. Remnants of the string were found beside the wood pieces.

Numerous pieces of hide and clumps of hair indicate that a hide sack was attached to the frame to carry the Iceman’s possessions.

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