History : May-Jun 2019
30 MAY/JUNE 2019 6 LAST SUPPER Scientists thought Ötzi was vegetarian until a 2018 study of his stomach contents (right) revealed a belly full of meat as well as traces of fern. The plant may have wrapped his food or may have been ingested for medicinal purposes. A lthough historians now know an arrow brought about Ötzi’s death, they are still putting together what preceded the at- tack. In 2003 DNA research carried out by Australian molecular archaeologist Tom Loy pro- vided some valuable clues: Analysis of his clothing showed evidence of blood from four other individu- als, leading researchers to think he could have been in a fight a day or two before his death. His right hand had one deep cut, probably caused by contact with a pointed, sharp object. The skin had started to heal, which means the wound must have been sustained about two days before he died. these clues have allowed researchers to piece together a theory of the murder: Ötzi had a con- frontation with one or several men and climbed the mountain to flee from his enemies. Believing himself to be safe, he stopped near a glacier and lit a fire to cook a meal of red deer and ibex. Soon after he fin- ished eating, the Iceman was ambushed and killed. science has revealed the murder method but not the motive. The injuries on Ötzi’s body do not give much indication as to why someone wanted him dead. Theft seems unlikely as a valuable copper ax and other weapons were left behind. Some theorize that Ötzi had defeated an enemy in the skirmish a few days before his death. The loser, perhaps humiliated by the loss, followed Ötzi up the mountain to take revenge. As many answers as Ötzi’s death has provided, this case may remain unsolved forever. ÖTZI’S LAST HOURS THE MURDER MYSTERY ROBERTCLARK/GETTYIMAGESSPL/AGEFOTOSTOCK ANCIENT AMBUSH A modern painting depicts several assailants attacking Ötzi from behind, one theory of his murder. After the arrow has struck, the Iceman realizes that he has been shot. A moment later, stricken with shock, he will pitch forward and fall, never to rise again.