Ötzi schnapps, Ötzi pizza and Ötzi chocolate? Ötzi paperweights and mouse pads? Yes, all of this paraphernalia really exists. For a limited time, "The Ötzis" were even available inside Ferrero Kinder Surprise Eggs.
Ötzi is also the motif for a famous Hollywood tattoo: Brad Pitt had a depiction of "Frozen Fritz" (the iceman’s nickname in America) inked on his forearm. Ötzi even appeared on the cover of TIME magazine in America on 20 October 1992. There can be little doubt that the iceman is a true international celebrity.
A life-size reconstruction of Ötzi has also been created: Two palaeo-artists used stereolithography of the skull and CT images to artistically recreate Ötzi as he might have looked. The artificial interpretation, which is made of silicone rubber, synthetic resin, and real hair, is on display at the Ötzi Museum and online! Following a 48-hour photo shoot, since March 2009 Ötzi can now be admired as a 3D image on the internet.
But why are people around the world so fascinated by the iceman? Perhaps because we have actually been able to learn so much about this man from the Chalcolithic period. Or, perhaps it’s because we still have so many secrets yet to uncover. It all began during an Alpine tour that would change the lives of Helmut and Erika Simon forever.
On September 19, 1991, the Simons discovered the world’s oldest iceman while hiking in the Ötztal Alps. The leathery body was found on the Schnalstal Glacier at the Tisenjoch ridge not far from the Similaun mountain hut at 3,210 meters.
Since that day, over 25 years ago, researchers have worked tirelessly to uncover every detail about Ötzi’s life and mysterious death. As for the name he was given shortly after discovery, Yeti and Ötztal were cleverly combined to form Ötzi. Experts believe that the 1.6-m-tall man lived 5,300 years ago. He had worms and fleas, suffered from athlete's foot, borreliosis (Lyme disease), lactose intolerance and elevated cholesterol. Ötzi weighed 50 kilograms and lived to be about 45 years old. Ötzi had about 60 fine-line tattoos and his last meal consisted of dried venison and ibex meat as well as grain.