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Iceman
Posted: 07 June 2007 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Massive blood loss from a ruptured artery killed the 5,300-year-old Alpine “Iceman” known as Oetzi, tests confirm.

A Swiss-Italian team says the arrow that struck him in the left shoulder slit the artery under his collar bone.

Oetzi probably died as the result of a fight: he may either have fled his attacker - who then shot him in the back - or been ambushed.

The remains of the Neolithic man were discovered in 1991 emerging from a melting glacier.

They have since been subjected to a long series of investigations, with the latest results being published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Examination of food - and perhaps more importantly - tree pollen in his stomach has established that Oetzi started his day with a meal in a wooded valley below the Alps.

But later the same day, he was involved in a fight. This assessment is based on the presence of a flint arrowhead lodged in his back and extensive cuts to his hands.

No one can be sure whether this attack took place in the valley below, prompting Oetzi to flee up the mountain; or whether he was involved in a violent scrap at the 3,210m (10,500ft) altitude where his body was discovered on the border between Austria and Italy 16 years ago.

Cold case

Recent advances in computerised tomography (CT), a sophisticated X-ray scan that allows multidimensional imaging, have given researchers an unprecedented view of Oetzi’s internal anatomy.

The pictures reveal a 13mm-long rip in Oetzi’s left subclavian artery which lies just under the collar bone.

Blood poured out into the surrounding tissue, forming a haematoma that can be seen in the breast cavity.

“We can conclude that this was really a deadly hit from the arrowhead,” Dr Ruhli told the BBC News website. “He would not have walked around for days. It was a quick death.”

Even today, people with this type of injury have only a 40% chance of survival.

“Theoretically, you could have been hit by an arrow and survive. If it doesn’t hit an artery or the lung, and you don’t get an infection it shouldn’t be a problem,” said Dr Ruhli.

Clotted blood also entered the hole caused by the arrow’s wooden shaft, showing that it was broken off while Oetzi was still alive and therefore still bleeding.

Oetzi climbed up to the Schnalstal Glacier and died from cardiac arrest, brought on by shock, after sustaining massive blood loss, the science team says.

Cover up?

Dr Ruhli speculated that it was possible the Iceman removed the shaft himself.

Alternatively, it could have been removed by an ally who tried in vain to help him, or perhaps by the attacker - if his arrows had a characteristic shaft - to try to cover up evidence linking him to the killing.

The University of Zurich researcher said the speed with which Oetzi would have died following his injury made it seem more likely he was shot on the glacier, rather than in the valley below where he started his journey.

But Dr Ruhli added, “this is speculation, because someone might have helped him up there. I’d rather stick to the facts”.

It is impossible to tell whether Oetzi was hit while he was walking, running, or stationary. But it seems the arrow was shot from below Oetzi, suggesting the killer was either kneeling or further down a hill.

The arrow hit with some considerable power, penetrating the Iceman’s shoulder blade.

Oetzi represents one of the great archaeological finds of recent years. He takes his name from the Oetz Valley where he was found - still wearing goatskin leggings and a grass cape.

His copper-headed axe and a quiver full of arrows were lying nearby.

At first, it was thought he died from cold and hunger, but researchers were eventually able to establish that he died from injuries sustained in a conflict.

Oetzi was about 159cm tall (5ft, 2.5in), 46 years old, arthritic, and infested with whipworm.

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Posted: 07 June 2007 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Ah, but remember, we should go back to those sorts of days because back then mankind was in harmony with nature, and peaceful, and had all those ancient secrets, and lived happy care-free lives in the sun. . .

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Posted: 07 June 2007 05:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Wow, he was really short!

And if he was infested with whipworms, he had a prolapsed rectum to look forward to, so maybe it was a mercy he died quickly.

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Posted: 07 June 2007 05:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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There’s a sort of justice here

The killer has faded into the obscurity of centuries
while Otzi is getting his time in the limelight
even if he had to be dead to do it.

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Posted: 07 June 2007 06:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Yes, but what if he were a terrible person who deserved his fate? Like what if he was killed because he had just murdered someone’s kid or raped and pillaged a village or something?

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Posted: 07 June 2007 09:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The museum where he resides (?) today is really well-laid out. If you’re ever in northern Italy, go visit it.

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Posted: 08 June 2007 03:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Accipiter - 07 June 2007 09:18 PM

Ah, but remember, we should go back to those sorts of days because back then mankind was in harmony with nature, and peaceful, and had all those ancient secrets, and lived happy care-free lives in the sun. . .

Romans (masters and slaves alike) were on avarage 1,75 m tall, a guy from the middleages stood about 1,70. But then it started to drop. In the 1700-1800

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Posted: 08 June 2007 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I remember reading somewhere that in his day William Wallace was so scary to his foes not only because he was awesome in general, but because he was a giant, standing far taller than any other man.

Turns out he was about 6’ 5”. Tall, yes. But for back then? He would have been HUGE. No wonder the English were afraid of him. I wouldn’t like to piss him off.

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Posted: 08 June 2007 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Whenever I used to go to the Medieval section at the Met, I would marvel at the teeny tiny suits of armor and wonder what on earth those people would think of me if I suddenly fell from the sky and landed back then.

The only knight’s armour that looked like he was around my height was a German one, and whoever wore that suit was considerably larger than the rest of them.

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Posted: 08 June 2007 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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You would probably be burned as a witch.

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Posted: 08 June 2007 06:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Or they see you as some sort of valkyrie.

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Posted: 08 June 2007 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Well, he was taller than me.  But my height does not reflect the rest of my family who are all giants to me. 

It does amaze me that our science can tell what happened to this individual after thousands of years.  That he was infested…my gosh he had to feel VERY weak and ill, yet I am also astonished at the age being 46 years because I had always supposed that during that phase, lifespans didn’t go much about the late 20s or 30s.

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