As the coroner of Queensland
As the coroner of Queensland, I’ve been tasked with examining all the information relevant to the iceman from the Otztal Alps. For, this report I will be referring to him as the iceman or Otzi. I will be investigating who he was, when, where, how and why he died. Finally, this report will include my thoughts on the manner and cause of death.
The iceman was around 45 when he died, he was approximately 160 cm tall and 50 kg (source a). He died around 5300 years ago (source c) and Radio carbon dating shows dates between 3365-3041 BCE (witness d). However, his role in society is questioned. His last meal contained ibex and red deer meat suggesting that he was a hunter. Though, there was also einkorn wheat which suggests that he was a farmer (source b).
Otzi was found on the 19th of September 1991 near Hauslabjoch in the Otztal Alps. He was found by Helmut and Erika Simon, two German hikers, and they assumed that it was just the remains of an unfortunate hiker (source d). The next day rescuers attempted to free him but were unable to due to bad weather, they went back only with a copper axe. The following day, after another failed attempt, the landlord of the Similaun Mountain Refuge covered the body with a plastic sheet. Hans Kammerlander and Reinhold Messner, famous mountaineers, arrived on the same day. The landlord showed them a sketch of the axe which lead Messer to assume that the body was extremely old. Finally, the corpse was recovered using ice-picks on the 23rd of September (source c).
It is agreed that the arrowhead, which was lodged in Otzi’s left shoulder, severed his subclavian artery and caused him to bleed to death (source e). He also had a wound on his right hand which he received at least 24 hours before his death, due to the healing that took place (source f). It is suggested that the killer had learnt from a physical fight and the final blow is a continuation (source G). It was obvious that he was murdered but the reason is still unknown. Some evidence shows that it could be a human sacrifice, (i.e. copper axe being left) (source h). However, there are many holes in this theory, like why did he have an arrow in his shoulder if he was sacrificed. Another option is that he was a victim of power play, meaning that his murderers may have wished to obtain his status. This theory gives reason to why the copper axe was left (it would have suspicious if he had gone missing and suddenly someone else had his axe). However recent research shows him to be a herdsman (source I).
I am adamant that Otzi the Iceman suffered from several fights before his subclavian artery in his left shoulder was severed by a flint arrow, and he bled to death. He was most definitely a victim of homicide though the motive remains unknown. There is not enough evidence to concretely prove a theory of why he died.