Oetzi: The Glacier Mummy from Schnalstal Valley
Oetzi: The Glacier Mummy from Schnalstal Valley

Oetzi: The Glacier Mummy from Schnalstal Valley

Iceman from the Tisenjoch ridge

In 1991, mountain climbers on the Ötztal Alps discovered a perfectly preserved 5,300 year-old mummy. Subsequently known as Oetzi, it did not take long for news of the discovery of the glacier mummy in the Schnalstal Valley to spread internationally.

For the past 30 years, the mummy has been the subject of continuous research at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology (Südtiroler Archäologiemuseum) in Bolzano/Bozen, and continues to yield important information about life in the Neolithic Era.

Besides the reconstruction of Oetzi’s habitat at the interactive archeoParc museum in the Schnalstal Valley, there are also local routes leading to other Neolithic sites. The Oetzi Glacier Tour retraces the footsteps of Oetzi up to the Tisenjoch ridge, where he was discovered. The Iceman has also inspired artists, and is the subject of works such as the Inside Oetzi radio play and the musical composition Oetzi’s Fanfare.

Ötzi goes Hollywood

Brad Pitt and the Ötzi Tattoo

When Ötzi the Iceman was found by chance on September 19th, 1991 in the Schnalstal/Val Senales Valley, it caused a worldwide sensation. Ötzi's "immortality" was a constant theme in the US media for a while, as the companies offering cryo-storage felt confirmed that people could be resuscitated in the future. A clique of young aspiring actors in Hollywood such as River Phoenix, Johnny Depp, Keanu Reaves, Juliette Lewis and Brad Pitt were very taken with Ötzi, the Iceman.The Ötzi, the Iceman silhouette is tattooed on Brad Pitt's forearm. A myth developed around the Ötzi silhouette and was considered a symbol of immortality.


Photo: Brad Pitt with the tattoo of the Ötzi silhouette with cult director Quentin Tarantino
© picture alliance/Camilla Morandi/Cannes 2019/IPA

Discovery of Oetzi in Schnalstal Valley

The oldest ice mummy in the world

Compared to other ancient human remnants, Oetzi is notable for his venerable age, excellent state of preservation and also the tools and items of clothing found nearby. The mummy is the centerpiece of the permanent local history exhibition at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano/Bozen. Temporary exhibitions illustrate the latest research results being carried out on the Iceman.

10 important facts about Ötzi

1. The mummy was dubbed Ötzi by the Austrian journalist Karl Wendl, who was looking for a catchy name. The name refers to the discovery site in the Ötztal Valley Alps.
2. He is therefore older than the Egyptian pyramids und Stonehenge and the result of a series of highly improbable coincidences.
3. Ötzi lived during the Copper Age, a period of the late Neolithic. He was still using stone tools but owned an innovative and very valuable copper axe.
4. Ötzi is a wet mummy that was mummified naturally in the glacier ice.
5. The mummy is stored in a specially devised cold cell and can be viewed through a small window.
6. The mummy weighs approximately 13 kg and is 1.54 m long.
7. Ötzi is one of the best researched individuals in the world.
8. 61 tattoos were found on Ötzi’s body, all in the form of lines or crosses.
9. At first it was thought that Ötzi had died in an accident in the mountains.
10. There can be no doubt that Ötzi was murdered.

Click here for the Eurac Research knowledge page: http://www.icemanphotoscan.eu/

Place of discovery Ötzi
Place of discovery Ötzi
On September 19th, 1991 Ötzi, the Iceman, was found by the German mountaineering couple Erika and Helmut Simon on Tisenjoch/Giogo di Tisa mountain, above the ...
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Mountain tour to the place of discovery Ötzi
Hiking trail to the place of discovery of Ötzi closed
Hiking trail to the place of discovery of Ötzi
Challenging Alpine tour, which leads via the Similaunhütte mountain hut to the discovery site of the famous “iceman”. Follow trail no. 2 from the ...
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Ski moutaineering to the place of discovery of Ötzi
Ski tours
Ski moutaineering to the place of discovery of Ötzi
Starting point: Mountain station Grawand (3,212 m a.s.l) or Refuge Bella Vista (2,842 m a.s.l) Ascent: 700 m elevation gain, 3 hours Best time: ...
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Comic: Ötzi - The Iceman
The history of Ötzi - The Iceman in pictures that faithfully reflects the landscape of the Ötztal Alps. The area he lived in 5300 years ago – from Sonnenberg Mountain in lower Vinschgau to Similaun in the Schnals Valley in today’s South Tyrol – with the distinctive features of the Copper Age: cup-marked stones, “klumper” slabs, menhirs, cult sites and the earliest settlements … and of course the sensational discovery of the glacier mummy 30 years ago.

This exciting trilingual comic “Ötzi – The Iceman”, illustrated by artists Armin Barducci and Eleonora Suri Bove from Bolzano, is available in bookstores or you can order it here online.

The Iceman
Armin Barducci / Eleonora Bovo
Athesia Tappeiner Publishing house
60 pages – Hardcover – 12,90 €
ISBN 978-88-6839-235-2