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Iceman Murdered by Arrow in the Back 232

PenguinRadio writes: "The Washington Post has taken a break from the Chandra Levy case to report on a recently discovered murder of a 5,300 year old iceman. The iceman was discovered about ten years ago in the snow covered Alps near Italy, but it was unknown until today how he died. Scientists used a CT scan to discover an arrowhead embedded in his back. Being stabbed in the back is not a recent dot.com kind of thing." Somehow it's inspiring to see just how long we've been killing each other. This story is great in so many ways.
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Iceman Murdered by Arrow in the Back

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    You're a sick fuck, Mike.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ahhh, yes... The discovery of how this 5,300 year old corpse died is so very important.

    Perhaps I can buy you a clue. The point is, under the NAGPRA the remains would have to be handed over and reburied before any serious examination could be done. It is important to understand what people were eating at that time, what they were wearing, what technologies they had, what diseases they suffered. It's a whole lot easier to know where you are when you know how you got here.

    And, actually, it is important to discover how any person died, especially if it wasn't from natural causes. If it was from a disease, that would be important. If it was from violence, well that's pretty interesting too, don't you think? People claim violence today is caused by poverty, or overcrowding, or video games. But perhaps there are reasons that predate wealth, or population, or technology. No, we're not going to learn the answer to that question from this one corpse. But we're sure not going to answer it by reburying it without any study.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, and it's doubly sad because it appears the populating of the Americas was far more complicated than was generally supposed. The old model of a recent migration across the Bering land bridge looks like it needs some revisions. The oldest human remains found in the Americas are in South America. None of the remains from >6000 years ago resemble any of the native American tribes, and in fact may be closer to polynesian. It's possible that there were multiple waves of immigration, starting well before the last ice age (the Monte Verde site in Chile might be 30,000 years old). People got to Australia by boat 40,000 years ago; it's possible that people got to America the same way. They could've sailed down the Pacific coast when the land bridge was still choked by ice. They could even have come west from Africa along the shores of Antarctica during an inter-glacial period when that coast was more hospitable than it is now. And that early wave disappeared, replaced by the later arrivals who were the ancestors of the current native Americans. Even some native traditions talk of "ghosts" who were in the land before them....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:27PM (#2190144)
    I happen to specialize in the European Bronze age. Though my main emphisis is much later. A hunting accident is not ridiculous at all. Imagin arrow knocked back, rugged terrain, and cold possibly icy conditions. A point in favour of this view would be the bones of the goat found nearby. The "iceman" could not have shot it with a dissabled arm. So a possible scenario would be the "attacker" leaving some food for the "iceman" and going to get help wich was prevented by a nasty storm. The bows of this period were short range affairs which required the hunter to get close to the game. Walking around with an arrow knocked back, would not be uncommon. This is not to imply that these weapons were primitive. They were not. In fact they were amazingly sophisticated, capable of tremendouse velocity. Also, even today, hunting accidents during archery sesson do happen, as I can personal attest. A buddy I was with, got shot in the ass by an over anxious bowman( term used loosely!) Fortunatly, the arrow had a target tip and had been slowed down by all the brush it went through. I highly recommond the study of the history of archery to anyone interested in technology. You will be astonished by the ingenuity of our ancestors.
  • by abischof ( 255 ) <alex @ s p a m c o p.net> on Thursday July 26, 2001 @06:49PM (#2190145) Homepage
    Iceman's conversation with his hunting buddies:

    Iceman: You two really are cowboys.

    Hunting buddy: What's your problem, Kazanski?

    Iceman: You're everyone's problem. That's because everytime you go up in the air, you're unsafe. I don't like you because you're dangerous.

    Hunting buddy: That's right! Ice... man. I am dangerous.

    [Thunk! Arrow in the back.]

    Alex Bischoff
  • Nope. This "problem of his" resulted from careless excavation efforts.


  • Long time, no post... Welcome back Oog.
  • Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer! [jt.org]

    "Your modern world confuses and frightens me!..."

  • Welcome back OOG, its been too long without your posts.
  • did they find the killer?

    No, but OJ is looking for him...
  • by Glytch ( 4881 )

    Hah. Let's see Columbo solve this.

  • If you think that CNN has gone off the deep end, check out the "We must be fair and balanced, 'cause we say so every other minute" Fox News Channel on cable TV.

    They've even brought in psychics!

  • Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Italian Ice".
  • by jimhill ( 7277 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @06:18PM (#2190154) Homepage
    Sadly, this kind of archaeology and anthropology in the United States is effectively dead -- whatever Native First Indigenous People American Indian tribe lived closest to the site of the discovery would lay claim to his remains and a wonderful find would be lost to science thanks to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act . Fire up your Google buttons and look for the sad tale of Kennewick Man...
  • Somehow it's inspiring to see just how long we've been killing each other. This story is great in so many ways.

    Yeah, but it's so much more satisfying these days, when you can have the gore setting cranked all the way up and see your enemies exploding into blood vapor when you hit then with the BFG, and all from the comfort of your own home! None of that actually having to work at it like the old days. :-)

  • No Comment.

  • probably because people have many, many years to get sick and tired of their family, whereas the burglar just wanders in and out of your life rather quickly...
  • Here [straightdope.com] is a discussion of Otzi.

    Apparently there was a hoax based around the idea that arrows weren't the only thing coming from behind him.

    (read the story, you'll get the joke)

  • by cswiii ( 11061 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @06:28AM (#2190160)
    Was I the only one to think that, based on the headline "Ice Man" referred to Val Kilmer, killed in some freakish fashion?

    Urgh. Must grab my morning coffee.
  • Own up, OOG. Iceman took your cave-weed and cave-hookers, so you decided to deal with him in a rather permanent way. Didn't you?
  • The butler ALWAYS does it.
  • I'm not quite dead. I think I'll pull through!
  • I guess he shouldn't have used the white toilet paper.
  • That statistic is BS.

  • I wonder what the Iceman's last words were...

    Probably "Owwww!" ....

    Bowie J. Poag
    Project Manager, System 26 GUI Component Stockpile [system26.com]
  • I reckon he was running from the stoneage cops, and ran into a dark ravine...

    Vik :v)

  • The official site for the Oetzi Museum ist here:

    http://www.iceman.it/ [iceman.it]

    PS: I'could be one of Ötzis descendants... he was found a few km from my home... :-)

    PPS: 90% of all replys to this article are rated "funny" - I hope at least mine will be moderated as "informative" ;-)

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @10:07PM (#2190177)
    > This is probably exactly what the guy's entire problem was. He was standing there, under attack, and thinking "Gee, I wish I had something that was suitable for use as a weapon, but all I have is this copper axe."

    IIRC, he was found with partially finished bow and arrows. Looks like "they" found him before he was ready for them.

    Ah! Check this [discovery.com] out.

    Other pages disagree on whether or not he was a meat eater; some say that the (purported) fact that he wasn't a meat eater means that his bow and arrows were for fighting rather than for hunting.

    Also of interest, his bow apparently qualifies as a "longbow". See the entries for "iceman bow" and "longbo" at this [aol.com] site.

  • Copper is actually too soft a metal to be used as a weapon. If this is the cave man/ ice man that i recall, he also has a lot of tattoos over his body, the axe may have been used for ceremonial reasons.
    This is probably exactly what the guy's entire problem was. He was standing there, under attack, and thinking "Gee, I wish I had something that was suitable for use as a weapon, but all I have is this copper axe."

  • by Levine ( 22596 ) <levine&goatse,cx> on Thursday July 26, 2001 @05:47PM (#2190180) Homepage
    I think the question on everybody's mind is if Chandra Levy was kidnapped and murdered via stone arrowhead to the back, will this frozen iceman provide any forensic clues as to identify the assailant?

    Hopefully the Washington Post and other major news outlets will be quick to draw conclusions.

  • online here [archaeologiemuseum.it]
  • A jealous husband? You're making a lot of cultural assumptions there. Traditional inuit families often had wives with two husbands, or husbands with two wives. I even recall hearing once that it was custom for a man to lend his wife to a visiting guest.

    This man died 5000 years ago. People then were very primitive by our standards. It could be this man was killed because people thought he was posessed by an evil spirit. It could be that he was old and a drain on his community so he was chased out of his home.

    Good science requires that you don't forget all your assupmtions and look at only the facts. Don't jump to conclusions based on what might make you shoot a guy in the back.

  • by SEWilco ( 27983 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @04:35AM (#2190185) Journal
    "Ow, I slipped and fell on my own arrow! Do I feel stupid! Well, at least nobody will know..."
  • If I remember correctly, Ötzi - who is very popular in the media here since he was discovered - was some kind of salesman who was crossing the alps to sell (or trade, whatever) flintstones.

    Maybe there was a flintstone mafia back in those days that didn't like what he did, so they sent a hitman...
  • Dude, I was nowhere near there at the time, I got witnesses.
  • I swear, Sesame Street needs to hire Oog poste haste!
  • You should insert linebreaks (with <br>) in your sig, to break it up the same way Theoden said it. Okay, that made no sense -- well, the same way Tolkien wrote it when he translated Theoden saying it. :-)
  • by devphil ( 51341 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @05:50PM (#2190196) Homepage
    The angle of the wound suggests Otzi's assailant fired from below. The arrowhead, less than an inch long, ripped through his back, tore through the nerves of his left arm and sliced the veins, lodging itself between the shoulder blade and rib cage. He likely survived the initial assault, because the arrow did not strike any vital organs. But he probably lost feeling in his left arm from nerve damage, and he would have suffered massive hemorrhaging. The arrowhead stopped just short of his lungs.

    Wow. They couldn't get anywhere near that detailed in the OJ Simpson case, but they can list point-for-point the assault on a dude frozen for 53 centuries. :-)

    And ten years from now, new evidence will come to light. And some Italian-Austrian-Alps-area con man will claim to be Otzi's descendant, and sue for mistrial.

  • You know, If he was really a warrior, that copper axe of his would make much more sense as a weapon than for something to chop wood as many currently think.

  • Copper is actually too soft a metal to be used as a weapon.

    Considering several casts were made from the blade for testing, and that some were used to successfully chop wood, its not beyond the possiblilty that is was used as a tool, although its extensive use for something like that would require frequent sharpening

    On the other hand, the edge would keep longer if it were used for the occaisional hack into soft flesh, and could be quite effective.

    Now that evidence shows he was in some kind of conflict supports the idea that it could have been a weapon.

    I do not discount the possibility that it was merely ceremonial, but to own something as useful as that for merely decorative purposes, and not have a "real" one handy for every-day use doesn't make sense.

  • by nano-second ( 54714 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @05:47PM (#2190199)
    Just because he has an arrow in his back doesn't mean it was a murder. Maybe he was hit accidentally.
  • axes don't need to be very sharp to be used as a weapon, especially on lightly armoured targets. ok, it's a blunt axe. basically, if you're gonna hit someone on the head with a stick with a lump of copper attached, you may well bash his brains out. also, There have been instances of weapons that used weak metals on purpose: the roman footman's spear was usually thrown at the enemy, where they got stuck in their shield. the spearhead would bend, making it not only difficult to remove from the shield, it would also make it rather inaccurate when thrown back..

  • and since the burglar gets a lot more exercise, he's a much smaller target than your average american couchpotato...

  • I'm sure he was accidentally shot, and then just left there to freeze for us to find him thousands of years later. "Whoops! Well, I'll get vindicated by somebody when the computer is invented," Og the killer caveman surely said.

    If he were accidentally shot, don't you think the person who shot him would have carried him back to wherever? They did do burials back then. Even elephants bury their dead.

    No, the only time you kill someone and leave 'em in a snowbank is because you're pretty sure the statute of limitations is longer than 5,000 years.
  • by jackal! ( 88105 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @05:45PM (#2190218) Homepage
    ...the cause of the death of the Human Torch is yet unknown.
  • Maybe I'm missing something here but how is it that in the course of 10 years since the body was discovered there were dozens of wild theories about the cause of death and nobody noticed he had a critical wound in his back? They could see the pores in his skin but not a hole from an arrow? AND they did a biopsy of his stomach contents before they took an X-Ray? Or was it only possible to see the flint arrow head in a CT Scan? There's even something that looks like an arrow shaft sticking out of his shoulder in the photo! (Though I suppose that could be something the scientists put there)
  • by MissNachos ( 89129 ) <shadalicious.yahoo@com> on Thursday July 26, 2001 @06:02PM (#2190222) Homepage
    I say he fell on it and killed himself, since in those days no one played FPS video games.
  • by ReadbackMonkey ( 92198 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @06:45AM (#2190223)
    It it was an accident, why would he have died alone on a mountain?
    Why wouldn't his friend who accidently shot him have helped him down the mountain?
    The story said he was shot in the shoulder and took some time to die.

    Why do you claim it was an accident? What are you trying to hide? Where were you on Thursday January 12, 5000 B.C.?
  • Let's see... he's 5300 years old, say a generation is 20 years, so 5 generations per hundred years, 5*53 = 265 generations of offspring lost by his death, say at 1.1 kids average per generation, his death prevented the birth of 1.1^265 = over 93 BILLION people!!! - enough to toally swamp the planet. So obviously he was killed by a terminator robot from the future to insure his offspring wouldn't lead to the destruction of the intelligent computers we will build in the next 50 years. This theory is further supported by the fact that he was found at/near/in Austria. Everybody knows those futuristic terminator robots speak with an Austrian accent. And another thing...a coverup is underway!!! The arrowhead was pure titanium!!! They're trying to cover that up by showing some flint fake on the news!!!!
  • ...can be found here [about.com]. There was also an article in a recent Discover issue about his last meal, June or July, but it doesn't seem to be on the magazine's website.
  • Hello, I represent Og, the man wrongfully acused of "murdering" john doe #1 - the iceman. I would like to remind you that my client has not been convicted of any crime as of yet -- and that times were very difficult in Ogs day, and if he did commit this crime, it was most ceartinly a survival necessity.

    Archibald Feller and Associates

  • I think it was the Gulf war, where we killed more of our own Soldiers than the enemy did. It could have been hunting season or something and he just got too far ahead.. got hit by an arrow intended for an animal.
  • by cybermage ( 112274 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @05:53PM (#2190237) Homepage Journal
    Nothing like a pre-historic hunting accident:

    Officer: Why did you shoot your friend in the back with that arrow?

    Og: He was wearing his deer skin. Before I realized it was him, the bow just went off.

    Officer: Well, we could haul him down the mountain, but let's just leave him there. That way when he's found people can speculate wildly about what happened.
  • bowhunters (at least in my state) do not wear hunter orange, only rifle/pistol/shotgun hunters are required to wear hunter orange during deer/small game season. During Turkey season, everyone gets to wear camo and you are stationary, so you really do look like a bush. They suggest you tie a orange ribbon to the tree above your position though.
  • NO ONE was very tall. You giant six footers are historical aberrations. Most adult men ranged in size from five to five and half feet tall for the last hundred thousand years, I'd speculate.

    Look at old suits of armor the next time you are in a museum.

  • by mdw2 ( 122737 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @07:20PM (#2190246)
    Arrows don't kill people, people kill people.

    Want some indy electronic (and other) music?
  • Scientists also point to a series of cave paintings depicting violent acts as probably having desensitized the killer, allowing him to take another life. "As you can see, even primitive man faced the problem of violence in the media, and this poor chap paid the price."
  • "Although the cause of death has been established, the scientists are still arguing where the arrow was fired. Some say it was shot from a nearby cave full of primitive cave writing, some opponents claim it was fired from a closer grassy knoll. Some even go as far as saying there was more than one shooter, since the 'magic arrow' - as the scientists started to call it - traveled through Otzi in a manner which would be 'physically impossible and ballistically preposterous' for a single arrow, as expressed by one scientist, who prefers to remain anonymous"
  • by tbarrie ( 125473 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @05:53PM (#2190251) Homepage
    There's no statue of limitation on murder, is there?

    I sort of feel sorry for the officer assigned to this case.
  • As I recall, he wasn't wearing his bright orange jacket, just some brown fabrics and leather. He was probably mistaken for a deer or sheep by another hunter, and shot accidentally. This is yet another example of what happens when people don't prepare properly before going hunting. Bows don't kill people, people kill people.
  • by Self Bias Resistor ( 136938 ) on Friday July 27, 2001 @02:07AM (#2190254)

    According to this article by New Scientist [newscientist.com], the arrow was discovered almost by accident. A CT scan performed in April by team specialist Paul Gostner showed no sign of foreign objects. Then three weeks ago, he took a chest X-ray that showed the outline of the arrow. A second examination of the CT scan confirmed the finding, as did the physical examination with pathologist Eduard Egarter which showed a two-centimetre cut in the skin matching the trajectory of the arrow. It turns out that because the arrow lies between the shoulder bone and the ribs, it would only show up on a scan of the side. And since all previous scans had been of only the front and back of the body, they hadn't found it until now.

    Kind of makes you think how some of the greatest scientific discoveries were made almost entirely by accident (like how they discovered the electron, electric motors or radiation).

    Self Bias Resistor

  • "But using a technique called computerized tomography, a sophisticated X-ray that allows for multidimensional imaging, ..."

    They used a freaking CAT scan, folks. Something you can get in just about every hospital nowadays.

    Yeah, I bet that was a real tough one to come up with, wasn't it? "Gee, maybe if we look inside the body with these sophisticated tools we've had for decades, we might see something?"
  • Togg: Oetzi, why'd you sell me this bow without a string? What the hell good is it?

    Oetzi: Why, Togg, you bought a HUNTING bow, right? Specifically, a DEER hunting bow.

    Togg: Yeah.

    Oetzi: Well, how am I supposed to make sure you only use it for deer huinting? Why, if I wasn't watching you, you might go off and hunt boar, or bears, or, heck, just about anything! You could even use it as a WAR bow, and not a hunting bow at all!

    Togg: But I paid you for it! I should be able to use it however I want!

    Oetzi: No, Togg. You bought the RIGHT to USE the bow for deer hunting. The bow itself is still mine.

    Togg: Well, what if I just use one of my own strings?

    [Togg takes a bowstring from his pouch, and begins to string the bow]

    Oetzi: NO!!! That's a circumvention device! You can be trampled by mammoths just for carrying that around! I'm calling the Elders!


    Togg: Well, that's the end of that...

    (email addr is at acm, not mca)
    We are Number One. All others are Number Two, or lower.

  • "Apparently the deceased knew he was in danger and was perhaps fleeing to another village. Found on a cave wall in a cave the deceased was know to dwell was the following:

    I am scared. Many come for me. I hope I can ahhhhhh."
  • For anyone interested in seeing the xray of the wound, you can see it at http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/p/ap/20010725/wl/ital y_mystery_iceman_rom104.html [yahoo.com].
  • So we've got a guy leaving a fairly warm valley in some haste but well prepared (had eaten, brought no food, but had an ax, a bow, and 14 arrows), getting assaulted about 8 hours later, shot from behind and below (someone chasing him?), and left there with all his stuff.

    If the facts of what you described are true, from the description it sounds a whole lot like a tribal banishment, with the "banishee" being hunted and killed shortly after being banished.

    (For a movie that illustrates this but is so horrible that it's funny, see The Naked Prey [imdb.com].)

  • You know, If he was really a warrior, that copper axe of his would make much more sense as a weapon than for something to chop wood as many currently think.

    Copper is actually too soft a metal to be used as a weapon. If this is the cave man/ ice man that i recall, he also has a lot of tattoos over his body, the axe may have been used for ceremonial reasons.

    My turn to hypothesise as to why there is an arrowhead in his back.

    * Pissed of a father, by ceremoniously killing his child.
    * Accident of some sort.
    * Rival tribe or similar.
    * Pissed of someone else, just a general pissing off, nothing too big *g*.

    How every version of MICROS~1 Windows(TM) comes to exist.
  • by OOG_THE_CAVEMAN ( 165540 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @06:48PM (#2190268)

  • Somehow it's inspiring to see just how long we've been killing each other. This story is great in so many ways.

    How is murder in any sense of the term great in so many ways?
    Look, man was civilized enough to kill one another!
    I think its sad in so many ways that we can't stop killing one another...

    Fnord is that feeling you get when you reach for a Snickers and come back with a Slurpee.
  • Trust me, I could kill someone with my heatsink. Wouldn't be too hard either.
  • Hehe that's kinda funny to see coverage of the Oetzi (aka the Iceman) on Slashdot.
    I happen to be from that province where the Oetzi was found aka South Tyrol.

    The museum where the iceman is exposed is located in Bolzano - Italy.

    Here's the homepage:

    www.iceman.it [archaeologiemuseum.it]

    or alternatively see here:

    www.provinz.bz.it [provinz.bz.it]


    www.linuxaudiodev.org [linuxaudiodev.org] The Home Of Linux Audio Development

  • by DavidBrown ( 177261 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @11:27PM (#2190273) Journal
    I have examined all the evidence, and I can conclusively demonstrate the invalidity of the researchers' so-called "single arrow" theory. No one arrow could have caused such damage. There must have been another archer, perhaps firing from the grassy knoll.

  • Even elephants bury their dead.

    This transcript [pulseplanet.com] from a short "Pulse of the Planet [pulseplanet.com]" radio piece sheds light on that legend

    In the first century AD, the Roman chronicler Pliny reported that elephants collect and bury the bones of their dead. Over the years, many nature writers have remarked on elephants' reactions to the deaths of their kin and companions. But what really happens when an elephant dies? I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

    We're listening to the sounds of elephants in Africa.

    "There are legends about elephants creating graveyards of the bones of other elephants. I believe this is just a legend. I have never seen it."

    Katy Payne is author of Silent Thunder: In The Presence of Elephants.

    "What I have seen though is that whenever an elephant comes to the bones of another elephant, it will stop and sniff and touch and roll over and fondle and carry and move and displace and pick up again and again those bones. And particularly tusks. Whether there's individual recognition of the source of the bones I don't know, but the bones are very interesting to other elephants. How they respond when other animals die is with obvious symptoms of grief, despair and distress initially. They are called back and back to explore the corpse, called back by their own desires to return. And eventually when they leave the corpse there is obvious evidence of grieving. A female having lost a calf stayed with the herd which accompanied her near to standing next to the corpse for several days and left reluctantly with a herd and then fifty kilometers away, turned back and went back to the calf. So there's all this kind of memory and grief.

    Additional funding for Pulse of the Planet has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.


    I'm sure he was accidentally shot, and then just left there to freeze for us to find him thousands of years later.

    Actually, he was likely shot and severly wounded, and tried to escape over the mountains as the storm closed in.

    No, the only time you kill someone and leave 'em in a snowbank is because you're pretty sure the statute of limitations is longer than 5,000 years.

    The day we have to pay for crime from past lifes is the day we all have to worry. Currently the rules are that anything that happened from past lives is not very important. With all of the junk that happens in one life, and what we know of history, it could be very nasty.

  • Having shot the iceman, the archer then proclaimed: I own j00!
  • by ZanshinWedge ( 193324 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @05:53PM (#2190289)
    riiiiight, it's really easy to accidentally hit someone with an arrow.

    "It just went off when I was cleaning it (and after I had strung, drawn, aimed, and loosed it)."

    Sheesh, who would have thought uninformed opinions would run rampant on slashdot?! Errrr, uh, nevermind then.
  • by elefantstn ( 195873 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @09:02PM (#2190291)
    You know you're a nerd when...

    ...you originally read "GROK" as a verb instead of a name.

    I need more fresh air.
  • "From an article concerning the Iceman's last meal on the Nova site"

    In case anyone wanted to ask how Iceman ate his last meal on the Nova site...

    Don't bother, I just beat you to it.


  • by The_Steel_General ( 196801 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @06:37PM (#2190294)
    From an article concerning the Iceman's last meal on the Nova site (sorry, lost the URL):

    "Oeggl [the guy who analyzed the last meal based on a tiny scrap of food from the Iceman's colon] readily acknowledges that scientists may never know what prompted the Iceman to leave the relatively hospitable valley with no water or food to speak of (a single sloe berry was found with his remains) and try to cross the mountain at a time of year when several feet of snow easily could have obscured the topography of the steep and rocky Alpine ridge."

    So we've got a guy leaving a fairly warm valley in some haste but well prepared (had eaten, brought no food, but had an ax, a bow, and 14 arrows), getting assaulted about 8 hours later, shot from behind and below (someone chasing him?), and left there with all his stuff.

    My vote is for jealous husband, frankly -- a battle would have left more corpses behind, a robber would have taken his stuff, and the Iceman was leaving someplace safe and warm very quickly -- and very well-armed.


  • ...Magneto knew just the tool to use, that bastard! Iceman [comixtreme.com], you will be avenged!
  • Ah yes! Someone with no metallurgical experience commenting on copper. Annealed, soft copper would be minimally useful - but, the way it was likely produced, by pounding into shape instead of cutting it, would work-harden the copper. It's possible for the copper to actually be very hard after being worked like that. Copper work hardens pretty rapidly.

  • The South Tyrol Museum of Archaelogy has a very nice web site about Oetzi, his clothing and his gear. Visit at: http://www.archaeologiemuseum.it/f06_ice_uk.html [archaeologiemuseum.it]

    What I found interesting was that he seemed to be in the process of making arrows and a bow. He had 12 unfinished arrow shafts and 2 arrows ready to be shot. Also, he carried a bow that was still being worked and not yet strung.

    That he was off on a hunting trip was the original hypothesis. But between the murder and the fact that he was still making his weaponry, I would suspect some other (social?) situation brought him into the mountains, and to his untimely demise.

  • I, for one, would like to see what OOG THE CAVEMAN has to say about this. He's almost undoubtedly the only person from that era still alive, and might provide valuable information to the investigation into the iceman's death.
  • Police are now looking a suspect in the Iceman case: "Thargg of the Mountains". He is considered armed and dangerous.

    When asked about the 5000+ year age of the case, Inspector Podder replied "There is no statute of limitation on murder."

    Anyone with any information on Thargg should call 1-555-222-TIPS.
  • Is it possible several Icemen went out on a hunt and this one got killed by an arrow gone astray ? Wouldn't that be as parisimonious as any of the scenarios presented (if it was a grudge/war, I think you might expect to see some sort of mutilation) ? Or does an accident just make less interesting copy ?
  • It may have been an accident but it's a much more interesting and assuring - it's good to see we aren't any worse people now than we were then - if it were murder. The belief that it was murder creates the potential for a sociological analysis (rabid theorization) but this will give one grad student a topic for his thesis, which <grin> I suppose is an inportant goal in and of itself </grin>

    This practice is vary common, especially in the field of history. I'm going to stop short of aleging revisionist history, and simply say that it is common to evaluate the same event from entirely different perspectives and reach entirely different conclusions - sometimes simply for the purpose of being able to publish additional research papers - after all, there is a limited amount of history to interpret.

  • by DeadMeat (TM) ( 233768 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @06:26PM (#2190313) Homepage
    I can already almost hear the imminent rehash of an old Amish joke...

    Q: What goes, *stomp* *stomp* *stomp* *stomp* *sproi-oing* *stomp* *stomp* *stomp* *stomp*?
    A: A prehistoric drive-by shooting.

    (Yes, I know bows don't really go "sproi-oing", but it's a funnier sound effect than "fpppppt".)

  • by jsse ( 254124 )
    We have a picture of the suspect [myrine.at]. Please report to local police if you've seen him.

    Caution: the suspect is armed.
  • by Ayende Rahien ( 309542 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @05:57PM (#2190331)
    It was Cain!
    Cain did it!

    Two witches watched two watches.
  • What it really proves is that Monty Python's material ain't as original as we'd believed. oh well...
  • In his 1995 book, "The Man In the Ice", Konrad Spindler described in detail the iceman's equipment including his quiver, which he shows conclusively was badly damaged BEFORE it was frozen. In particular, its strap was torn off and the lid damaged.

    The natural place to wear a quiver is slung over your back. If the iceman had fallen surely it is certainly possible that he fell on his back. Thq quiver would then be placed between his body and the ground, pushing one of the arrows through the quiver and into his scapula. This would also account for the damage to the quiver and I am surprised this possibility has not been mentioned.

    The iceman also has serial rib fractures on one side - it is not possible to tell if this happened pre-mortem or not, but he does say that serial rib fractures are common in falls.

    Of course the fact that the arrows would be point-down in the quiver means that the arrow would probably have pushed through the bottom of the quiver.

    Of course it is not nearly as newsworthy...

  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @06:15PM (#2190344)
    they can list point-for-point the assault on a dude frozen for 53 centuries.

    The investigation was a total BS whitewash job. They covered up all of the evidence relating to the second archer behind the grassy knoll.

  • Washington D.C. - Shortly after an interview with Italian authorities, congressman Gary Condit held a press conference in which he flatly denied any knowledge of the iceman, his whereabouts or who may have wacked him in the back with an arrow.
  • Barney: Hey Fred!
    Fred: What?!
    Barney: Give me your Cocoa Pebbles!
    Fred: No!
    Barney: No? Ohhhhhh, Freeeeeed!
    (barney gets hit by an arrow in the back)
    Fred: Barney!
    (a light appears behind Fred)
    Barney: Yes, Fred?
    Fred: You...you're an angel!
    Barney: Your selfishness sent me to the great beyond.
    (we see birds holding Barney on ropes and holding a flashlight over him)
    Fred: Forgive me! Have my Cocoa Pebbles! Have them all!
    Barney: Heavenly! Chocolatiest cereal in Bedrock!
    (birds lick their lips and let go of the ropes)
    Fred: Barney! You're no angel!
    (Barney plummets into a glacier)
    Barney: The devil made me do it!

    thanks to [angelfire.com]

  • And his last words were...

    "Run away! Run away! Run away!"

    (yes, that's Monty Python for all you jocks who don't get it.)
  • by No Tears In The End ( 452319 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @09:34PM (#2190359)
    we need to enact bow control and full arrow registration.

    Another sensless walk-by arrowing.
  • by Paintthemoon ( 460937 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @08:07PM (#2190361) Homepage
    And the Justice Dept. denied that any of the missing FBI bows & arrows had anything to do with the death.

  • by estes_grover ( 466087 ) on Thursday July 26, 2001 @06:07PM (#2190364)
    I thought a glacier snuck up on the iceman while he was sleeping.

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.