The A to Z Challenge – I for Iceman

The A to Z Challenge is on! Hello and welcome to my Main blog. My name is Rose Anderson and I’m a romance novelist. Join me and more than 2279 bloggers and authors as we blog the alphabet throughout the month of April. My daily posts will be mostly history with some science topics here and there. I’ve chosen subjects that tickle my fancy, I hope you will find them interesting too.

Keep the topic rolling! If you have comments or questions, add them at the end of the post. I may not know the answer off the top of my head but I love research and would enjoy discussing my topics further. Comments can be made just below my bio in the tag section.

*FREE* If you enjoy reading scorching romances with unique twists and characters full of personality and depth, scroll down for a free chapter sampler. Find my book trailers in the tabs above.


Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter I ~
I for iceman

Sometime in the mid-1990’s my husband and I went to a public presentation at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (a.k.a. Fermilab). Before CERN, Fermilab’s accelerator was the place to be for experiments on particle physics. (I did say I was a nerd) Researchers from around the world work there and to keep everyone happy and entertained in the off hours, they have guest speakers and concerts.  This particular guest speaker was talking about something extraordinary. Climate change melting the 20-mile thick ancient ice off portions of the Alps had uncovered a prehistoric man who’d been buried in glacial ice for millennia. And he had his prehistoric clothing and tools with him!

OetzitheIceman-glacier-199109b[1]It all started when a pair of hikers walked the Alpine Italian-Austrian border that geographically divides the Alps and got more than an outing when they stumbled upon the mummified body of an ancient man in an exposed gully bed. At first the pair didn’t know what to think. Was this a missing hiker? Ice bodies do turn up from time to time. The snowy Alps can be a rough place.  Even Napoleon’s frozen soldiers turn up on occasion. When authorities were called on the scene, they knew they had something different. Recent ice bodies, those lost in the last several years or so, go through this weird process where fat from inside the body somehow ends up on the outside. This body was freeze-dried.  It didn’t have that typical lumpy coating of fat found on more recent ice bodies. Sure enough, they discovered this guy was old. 5,300 years-old, in fact. He came from the late Neolithic or early Chalcolithic period (Copper Age). 

Nicknamed Ötzi, he would become the most otzithoroughly studied mummy ever found. Through intense scrutiny, scientists have pieced together an astoundingly complete view of this man’s world and his final hours in it. The image shown here was built upon physical data collected by CT scans.

Here’s a brief idea of what they’ve learned since I first heard about him back in the 1990’s.

  1. Ötzi was a progressive. Rather than a life of a hunter gatherer common at this time, his clothing made of domestic animals skins reflect he was shepherd who tended cows and sheep.
  2. He was a pastoralist. His woven grass cape and moss-packed hide boots suggests he slept out with his flock. His tools suggest a crafty man who could make whatever he needed on the spot.
  3. Ötzi had Lyme Disease, whipworms, and arthritic knees. He stood 5’3″ tall and weighed approximately 110 pounds. He was in his 40’s and also had tattoos. Originally artists had given Ötzi blue eyes. His DNA says brown.
  4. His last meal had been cultivated wheat (possibly bread), deer and ibex meat, and plums. It also suggests he wasn’t far from home when he died. Scientists also found an herb called hop hornbeam in the undigested mix. It’s known for treating upset stomachs. He was lactose intolerant.
  5. Though he may have fathered children, his DNA reflects his mother’s line is now extinct. He does have distant relatives, however. 19 men alive today share a paternal ancestor.
  6. He was murdered by an arrow in the back. His head wound and a severe hand wound when coupled with the fact the stone arrowheads in his pouch have the blood of four different people on them, all suggest he’d been in a rather savage fight over a period of three to eight days. Perhaps he retreated to the mountains after and was followed. The fact his stomach was full shows he had time to eat well. It also suggests his death was a result of a surprise attack. Someone pulled the arrow shaft from his back, leaving the arrowhead inside. Was it his murderer? That remains a mystery.


Here’s a hands-on take on Ötzi’s world


Tomorrow ~ letter J!


Authors_in_Bloom-300x250**NEW THIS WEEK** on my satellite blog!

It’s Day4 in the Authors in Bloom event. It highlights those things authors do outside the fiction. We garden, we cook, we craft etc. One of the more unusual things my husband and I have done was lead wild foods programs for Chicago’s Field Museum. For this event I’ll be sharing my recipes. Do stop by. You may have delicious ingredients waiting in your backyard!


It’s the final stretch in the 100 Things Blogging Challenge!
For nearly 100 days, 002xbqkt
I’ve posted from my chosen topic: Words on the Verge of Extinction. There are 3 entries to come.

Here’s one for today:

Tragematopolist (noun 1656-1658)
~confectioner; seller of sweets


4 Us iconSee what’s happening on the RB4U blog today

Our April contest is on. We’ll have 3 winners and a lot of prizes to split among them.


Love Waits in Unexpected Places –
Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
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About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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18 Responses to The A to Z Challenge – I for Iceman

  1. Wow, Rose! That’s a lot of research! Very interesting. It’s amazing that they can piece together such a story some 5,000 years later!

  2. skmarshall2014 says:

    I remember hearing about him being found, but I didn’t hear he was murdered. Excellent post, Rose.

  3. melissakeir says:

    What a cool post! I watched a show one day about how they did some research on the mummies to determine how they died and such. Thanks for sharing!!

    • You’re welcome. I really like things like that. There’s one either by NOVA or National Geographic that figures out a sideshow mummy was really a rather important king in ancient Egypt.

  4. Susan Gourley says:

    I didn’t know all those things about the Iceman. Very cool. Forties were pretty old for his time, I think.

  5. rosgemmell says:

    I remember a lot of this but it’s still fascinating – fact is definitely stranger than fiction at times!

    • Definitely. When I first saw that presentation, the two countries were undecided who had jurisdiction over his remains. Now look at all they’ve figured out and they’re still studying him.

  6. Rose Gorham says:

    Excellent post, Rose. You did a lot of research to give us some fabulous information. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • I’m glad you enjoy the posts, Rose. I’ve had so many nice comments and encouragement on the side that I’m going to turn my three years of info posts into a few books just for fun.

  7. Calisa Rhose says:

    I remember the big hurrah when he was found. Thanks for sharing, Rose. So much is learned through DNA and a stomach. 🙂

  8. Ray G says:

    I would like to know my DNA history. My family originated in German and emigrated to Russia around 1813 and to the US between 1880s and 1911 as well as some who may have gone directly from Germany to other countries including at least nine families in Buenos Aires.

    Thanks for the post. I have know about the Iceman almost since his discovery was publicized, but it is nice to see updated information.

    • That iceman is fascinating, isn’t he? has a DNA test and a huge database. Genealogy is my husband’s hobby. He has literally found more than a thousand cousins of mine. On my mom’s side we’re here shortly after the pilgrims. They’re like that Sergent Dan from Forrest Gump who fought in every war. They were in everything. On my dad’s side I’m second generation American.

      • Ray G says:

        My second oldest son is the family genealogist for both mine and my wife’s family. I got to go with him to do original research at William & Mary University where he verified information from a letter sent to him by one of my wife’s distant relatives.
        He is a former elementary school teacher.

      • Aren’t we fortunate these repositories have so much information to glean? It’s quite the drive now, but when we lived in Chicago we took advantage of the Newberry Library. We have plans to tap the National Archives in DC some day soon.

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