Perhaps the most remarkable of all naturally mummiﬁed bodies was discovered in 1991, emerging from a melting glacier in the Tyrolean Alps near the current border between Italy and Austria. Thought to be the oldest mummy in the world, this Neolithic hunter was dubbed the Iceman. Radiocarbon dating indicated that the body was about 5,100 to 5,300 years old. The Iceman was about 159 cm (5 feet, 2.5 inches) tall, between 45 and 50 years old, tattooed, arthritic, and infested with parasitic worms. Analysis of pollen associated with the body, indicated that he died in the spring or early summer. The tools and weapons found with the Iceman included an axe, a dagger, a bow, a quiver made of animal skins, arrows, and articles for ﬁre- making. Because the axe and dagger were made of copper rather than bronze and his hair contained high levels of copper and arsenic, he might have been a coppersmith. His clothing included skins from eight different animal species, including goat and deerskins, a cape made of woven grasses, shoes made of calf skin, and a bearskin hat. Analysis of the contents of his intestines indicated that his last meal included meat (probably ibex and venison), along with various grains and other plant foods.
At ﬁrst investigators thought that the Iceman had died of a fall, or the cold, but closer examination of the body revealed that a ﬂint arrow- head had lodged in his shoulder. In addition to shattering the scapula the arrow must have torn through nerves and major blood vessels and paralyzed the left arm. Because of the presence of defensive wounds on his hands and traces of blood from several individuals on the Iceman’s weapons, researchers suggest that he died in a violent ﬁght with several men.