Was Ötzi The Iceman Sardinian? 0 Comments

Was Ötzi The Iceman Sardinian?

In 1991 some German tourists accidentally found a 5,300-year-old mummy in excellent condition at an altitude of 3,210 metres at the foot of the Similaun glacier, in Val Senales, in Trentino Alto Adige. Having been found in the Ötz Alps, the Iceman was nicknamed Ötzi, becoming famous all over the world.

The oldest mummy in the world is in an excellent state of preservation. His clothing and tools were also found with him. Forty-five years old, approximately one metre and sixty and weighing fifty kilos. Very hard life signs on his face. It’s a natural mummification process inside the glacier. He died of a haemorrhage, killed by an arrow in the left shoulder and a wound on the back of his neck. But who killed him and why will remain his secret.

61 tattoos on acupuncture meridians depicting groups of lines and crosses have been identified on his body: he is the first known tattooed man in history. The tattoos would reveal that he belonged to an "organised into roles community". What do the tattoos covering his body mean? We don’t know. Guido Quarzo wrote a mystery and adventure children book: "Ötzi and the tattooed code". There are many books written with Ötzi as the leading character.

Two Dutch paleo artists, with forensic medicine techniques and accurate manual work, have recreated a very realistic Ötzi's face and body. The reconstruction gives the image of a man with a beard and wavy brown hair, with well-tailored clothing.

Ötzi has been stored for 32 years in a cold room intended for him in the archeoPark interactive museum in Val Senale and can be seen through a small opening. The habitat has been reproduced and research carried out on the mummy provides important information on Neolithic life.

Studying his DNA, it was discovered that his Y chromosome, passed on paternally, has a DNA that seems to survive only in Sardinians, and this has caused a great eco. But recently it has been clarified that attributing Sardinian origins to famous Ötzi was a journalistic misunderstanding.

Professor Martina Tauber, pathologist at the Bolzano hospital and responsible for the mummy conservation, explaining that Ötzi's chromosome survives today only in Sardinia or Corsica, did not imply that Ötzi was Sardinian but that the line of its ancestors arrived there 8 to 9 thousand years ago from the areas of central Europe.

Subsequently those peoples moved towards the Italian peninsula following a similar itinerary to the one of the Etruscans ancestors, but while the latter stopped in Tuscany, Ötzi's ancestors took the sea route arriving as far as Sardinia and Corsica. Over the millennia, their chromosome has survived only in isolated regions such as the Mediterranean islands. Today about 20% of Sardinians and Corsicans share the genetic baggage of Ötzi's ancestors.

Sardinian or not, Ötzi has become famous also overseas, supporting the cryopreservation companies research claiming to be able to revive hibernated people in the future. Ötzi's silhouette inspired the immortality myth. Hollywood actors have been inspired by Ötzi, including Brad Pitt who had the Iceman silhouette tattooed on his arm.

“The tattoo, this thin line between the intimate and the exterior, between the mark and the mystery.” (Fabrizio Caramagna)


Written by Daniela Toti

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