Karl Wendl, a Viennese reporter, might share his first name with another Austrian Karl Koller (the ophthalmologist who introduced cocaine as a local anaesthetic), but his claim to fame is much more simpler.
In one of his articles about the Iceman, he coined the name “Ötzi” (in reference to the adjoining Ötz Valley near which he was found) and the name stuck.
Twenty four years ago, German tourists Erika and Helmut Simons were out hiking in the Ötztal Alps in the month of September.
If they hadn’t decided to take a shortcut on their way down from the Finail Peak close to the Austrian-Italian border, we might have never discovered the Iceman.
His cells maintained their humidity and hence Ötzi’s remains is sometimes called a “wet mummy”, enabling scientists to examine him over 5000 years later as the body tissues were still relatively elastic.
Evidence and studies have suggested that Ötzi was around 45 years old at the time of his death, about 160 cm tall and weighing around 40 kg.
Hustled off to a morgue and then to the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Innsbruck, it was only then that they realised that this was no ordinary corpse.
Oldest frozen corpse Archaeologist Konrad Spindler, Professor of Early and Ancient History at Innsbruck University, inspected the corpse and the remains and dated the find to be “at least 4000 years old.” Further tests, which included C14 carbon dating, put a much better estimate on when the Iceman lived - between 3350 BC and 3100 BC, making it over 5000 years old, among the oldest frozen corpses ever to have been discovered.
Bad weather meant that it took a few more days to extract the remains.Using ice picks, ski poles and small jackhammers, the corpse was extracted and packed in a body bag along with a number of other items that were found alongside.