Friday, February 26, 2010

SNOW WEEK - 5,000 Year Old Ice Man

TITLE: Frozen Man

AUTHOR: David Getz

WHO WAS WHERE IN THE SNOW? A man, nicknamed Ötzi the Iceman, died in the Italian Alps about 3,300 B.C. His mummified body was discovered by hikers in 1991.

AMAZING FACTS ABOUT THIS EVENT: This book describes the discovery, recovery and scientific study of a man who met his demise during the copper age, some 5,000 years ago. Many of his personal belongings were recovered as well, including clothes and shoes sewn with amazing skill, a copper ax, a flint knife, a bow and arrows, birch bark baskets, berries, mushrooms, and a fire-starting kit. It is also interesting to note that he bore tattoos.

This book was published in 1996 and at that time it was surmised that Ötzi got caught in an unexpected snow storm and froze to death. In 2001 x-rays and a CT scan were performed on Ötzi and showed that an arrowhead was lodged in his shoulder. It is now believed that this killed him. For children with an interest in the work of medical examiners, I would encourage them to do further research on Ötzi. It is AMAZING the knowledge obtained from these scans as well as from tests on his DNA, his hair, his one existing nail, his teeth and so on. Scientists have pinned down the time of year he died, the contents of his last two meals, where he lived as a child and as an adult, how he spent his time, the fact that he was infertile, that he had intestinal parasites, and that he was sick for about two weeks a couple of months before he died.

Ages 9 to 12

I have not had the opportunity to read Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past, but see it was published in 2008 and am sure it contains more updated information on Ötzi. It also discusses discoveries of Incan children sacrificed to the gods and the recovered body of George Mallory, who died trying to climb Mt. Everest.

Activity: The Museum in Italy where Ötzi is now on display offers interactive internet activities for children where they can do things like Take a Walk with Ötzi.

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