Since there is so little information on Icemen, scientists decided to dig up more on the subject. Their recent discovery has to do with the garments of prehistorical Icemen, relying on a 5,300 old mummy, called Ötzi.
Ötzi the Iceman is the oldest mummy discovered so far, with its determined 5,300 years of age. It was found in Italy, in the Ötztal Alps (hence, its name), about 25 years ago. Researchers think it comes from the distant Copper Age, and the spectacular thing about it is that the preservation of the body allows archaeologists to study more about the habits of Icemen.
The lead author of the study was Niall J. O’Sullivan (University College Dublin). He talked to The The Christian Science Monitor about the garments of Icemen, as well as other implications of the discovery:
“Most of the clothes were composed of cattle, sheep, and goat. This affirms previous observations about the Iceman that he was indeed an agro-pastoralist.”
Ötzi the Iceman was buried with a fur hat, a coat and also had shoes. DNA tests helped researchers identify the origin of the materials. Among the belongings the mummy was buried with, the researchers found weapons, as well as several items of vegetal origin, such as fungus and birch.
Based on this material, the specialists concluded that Icemen were good farmers, as well as good hunters. The reasons behind their hunting habits may be finding food, getting the material they could process (such as skins and fur) for clothing, but there may be reasons related to their spirituality too. Researchers say they found proof that Icemen would hunt bears and deer.
The fact that they were producing garments suggests that Icemen were also quite good tailors.
Researchers were able to identify the last meal Ötzi had had, which had included red deer meat.
Another important observation of the study is that the animals identified as living in the Copper Age can be found in present-day Europe as well: sheep and goats are also raised by nowadays farmers, bears and deer still wander free in the Alps.
All the information that the researchers could gather from merely the clothes of the mummy shows us that Icemen were a sedentary, well-organized community. And perhaps there is much more to find out about the habits of Icemen in the European Copper Age.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia