Up close and personal

If you ever wanted to peer deeply into the decayed and shriveled eyes of Otzi, the 5,000 year old iceman, now you can. High resolution images of Otzi are available on the web, and you can pan and zoom all over his body. You can also find 3D images, and special closeups of his tattoos.


  1. says

    It’s just amazing that he made it all the way from the Garden of Eden and figured out how to live in that cold climate with all the specialized technology in just 1,000 years. And then somehow managed to survive the flood . . .

  2. says

    I think it was his stuff that was really interesting.

    There were so many things that hadn’t been seen before, like food and medicine, and the well-chosen woods in various implements. That copper axe (those were known before, however) would be worth a fortune.

    It reminds one of how little is preserved in the fossil record, even though what is learned from it is immense.

    Glen D

  3. Katrina says

    My family and I got to see Otzi on display last September at his new home in Bolzano. It was pretty amazing, being able to see him face-to-face.

    I was hoping to see the crucified frog while we were there, but the art museum had just closed to prepare for the next exhibition.

  4. Richard Harris says

    Katrina, I hope that the folks at PETA don’t get to see the crucified frog.

  5. Knockgoats says

    That copper axe (those were known before, however) – Glen Davidson

    True, but IIRC, it was a surprise that an apparently “ordinary Joe” like Otzi had one in that region at that time. Probably they were much more common than the numbers found suggest, very few of those made having survived either corroding away, or being melted down for reuse.

  6. Umilik says

    I wonder whether anyone has looked for some sperm cells in his shrivelled up testes. Just think of the possibilities….

  7. AnonymousPedant says

    It’s “Ötzi”. Mind the “Ö”. If you can’t write the umlaut, substitute it with “Oe” (= “Oetzi”).

  8. Feynmaniac says


    Otzi didn’t die of natural causes. He was murdered! Stephen Colbert has vowed to solve the 5,000 year old case.

    “Otzi the Ice Man…I will find your killer.” – Colbert

  9. Valis says

    The tattoos are particularly interesting. I can’t help but wonder what cultural and/or personal significance they had? Sadly, we’ll probably never know. Someone invent a time-machine, quick!

  10. Muffin says

    Damnit, that looks disturbingly like a nice, slow-roasted pig hock. :) I’m getting hungry…

  11. Bokanovsky Process says

    But had he Accepted Christ As His Lord and Savior before he got conked on the head?

  12. JamesR says

    This is such an excellent exhibit. I gotta say though. If this had been found anywhere else but Europe someone would be shrieking to have it properly buried. But the Europeans put it on display. Ha that is just so good.

    LOL He won’t recover.

  13. Ouchimoo says

    SQUEEEE!! Awesome!!


    I saw on a documentary that he also had an array of tatoos on his back. They suggested it was some sort of markings for acupuncture to relieve pain from intestinal worms. Adds to the mystery though doesn’t it?

  14. Richard Harris says

    Katrina, the pope & PETA have different motivations for getting upset; nutjobs in their own ways.

  15. Endor says

    This is very cool. I spent my whole lunch 1/2 hour looking at him. Can’t eat now though . . .


    “the pope & PETA have different motivations for getting upset; nutjobs in their own ways.”

    Ramen to that.

  16. Stephen Wells says

    On the one hand, this is incredibly cool and exactly what the web is for.

    One the other hand, rule 34 of the web says that if it exists, there is porn of it.

    And now the web has high-res scans of naked Otzi.

    You can complete that chain of thought if you want. I’ll be drinking heavily.

  17. Lynn says

    While the media and others were going bonkers over Otzi back in 1991 when he was found, the main thing I was thinking of is why did something that had been frozen for 5,000 years get thawed…it’s probably global warming. Uh-oh, GW’s real, it’s here, it’s now.

    But no one as far as I know made that connection. It certainly wasn’t mentioned in the “see no GW, hear no GW, speak no GW” media. And then sometime later some long frozen bodies were discovered in the Andes, and I thought again, uh-oh, global warming.

    ….knowing, of course, there could be some micro-weather conditions that might be the cause of the melting (what do I know?), but Otzi had been frozen 5,000 YEARS!! That would take a lot of micro-weather weido contortions to explain why it had never ever warmed up that much in 5,000 years!

    Well, at least GW is good for helping out archaeologists :{

  18. Allen N says

    Foo@ 14

    I had exactly thr same thought. That, or the jerky chews my dogs love…

  19. David Marjanović, OM says

    And a top o’ the mornin’ bitchslap to AnonymousPedant.

    He’s right, though. The dots are not some random ornament, they change the pronunciation rather drastically.

  20. NewEnglandBob says

    So, I wonder, how does he fit into the supposed tale as Young Earth Creationists subscribe to?

    Ötzi is the author of the YEC tale. Thats why he got his head bashed in.

  21. Umilik says

    Katrina, well reduced sperm motility during his lifetime as the BBC article suggests would be irrelevant at this point in any case since his little swimmers pretty much would’ve crashed after a few 1000 years on ice. But that’s nothing your local human IVF clinic couldn’t fix if you had an egg donor.

  22. Katrina says

    True, true. I thought it was interesting that they’d gone on to hypothesize that this was the reason he was out there, with slashed hands and an arrow in his back, apparently fighting for his life.

    Anyway, the museum in Bolzano has a pretty kewl display showing all of the implements that were with him, his clothes, and — of course — the man, himself.

    The region around Bolzano is interesting in its own right. Visiting northern Italy reminds me of certain parts of Canada. All of the signs and government information is bilingual: Italian and German. The food and customs there are more German than Italian. After living in southern Italy for a few years, it was like leaving the country without crossing the border.

    I know, I don’t post often. Must have been that second limoncello.

  23. catta says

    Neato! Always wanted to see the tattoos up close. Iirc, at least one anthropologist has had those copied onto himself.

    Also, that bitchslap to Mr/Ms AnonymousPedant is undeserved as several people have pointed out. Ö =/= O. It’s a ligature that represents two letters and leaving one of them out isn’t the same thing as writing the two out. Poor Ötzi didn’t deserve being semi-disemvowelled, surely.

  24. Lynn says

    So I guess no one here thought of the global warming connection either. I guess atheists are just as rotten as theists when it comes to facing up to world destruction & what we might do to perhaps prevent it. I guess that sort of disproves meme theory & the idea that religion is a dangerous mind virus that’s causing all world ills. And its back to “it’s ole human nature that stinks.”

  25. NFPendleton says

    That’s how conversations work, Lynn. You bring up a topic or point that no one’s addressed, and if anyone’s interested in picking up that thread, then they will parlay with you. If they’re more interested in the iceman’s tools and tats, then they won’t.

    It also helps that you’re not snippy and snotty when you try to push your pet concern on the discussion – then maybe you won’t be so ignored and instead find a sympathetic ear or two. Mine being one of those you lost with your second post.

  26. Betz says

    @ Ahcuah,
    I’m still cracking up at your unexpected Twain reference.
    “Trying to impose your vile second-hand carcasses on us! — thunder and lightning, I’ve a notion to — to — if you’ve got a nice fresh corpse, fetch him out! — or by George we’ll brain you!”

  27. NewEnglandBob says

    Lynn @42

    The world does not revolve around you. Don’t be so narrow minded.

    Pick your battles and the proper time and place for them.

  28. says

    Yes, Lynn, I thought of global warming at the the time, and I think it was discussed a little bit at the time, based on the shrinking of glaciers. But I don’t need to pat myself on the back for it.

  29. Bloix says

    When my son was in elementary school, we did an Otzi project. It was loads of fun. He’s incredibly educational for kids.

  30. celdd says

    The 3D pictures are fantastic!

    I bought my 3D glasses over the internet to view the Mars Rover pictures. These are much more dramatic!

    Thanks for the link.

  31. Allison says

    Looking at this sent me off on a trip around the Internet reading about mummies. Thank you for posting this.

    I think evolution and the study of human history are so darned fascinating that I can’t imagine why someone would willfully deprive themselves of learning about it.

  32. Knockgoats says


    The Oetzi/AGW connection certainly has been made in the British media, although I don’t recall if it was when he was originally uncovered – not many people were AGW-aware at that time. AGW does come up quite often here, as you could find out by trawling through old threads, and if you want to come and take a hand against the denialists then you’ll be welcome, by me at least. But your current attitude of moral superiority, and evident eagerness to snipe at atheism, are not going to meet a positive reception.

  33. windy says

    And then sometime later some long frozen bodies were discovered in the Andes, and I thought again, uh-oh, global warming.

    But you were probably wrong here. One frozen Inca mummy was exposed because of a volcanic eruption and some were still under frozen ground. They weren’t found because of GW.

    Maybe you should check your pattern detection software, it seems a tad oversensitive…

  34. David Marjanović, OM says

    Lynn, why don’t you go to a relevant blog — like Deltoid or Real Climate — and battle the trolls there?

    Looks a bit like Donatella Versace

    Urgh. It’s true, but I really didn’t want to be reminded…