Scientific practice is much older than we think

Chad Orzel at the IAI:

In September 1991, a pair of German hikers in the Ötztal Alps, near the border between Austria and Italy, spotted something brown and human-shaped sticking out of a glacier. They immediately reported this to the authorities, thinking they had discovered the body of someone who had died while hiking. While they were correct about it being a dead body, they were a little off on the timing: what they found turned out to be the mummified corpse of a man who had died sometime before 3100 BCE.

The mummy, quickly nicknamed “Ötzi” after the mountains where he was found, was a middle-aged man from the Copper Age, who had been killed by an arrow in the back. His body was quickly frozen into the glacier, along with his clothes and other possessions, leaving it incredibly well preserved. Over the last 29 years, he has been the subject of intense scientific investigation by a wide range of techniques, down to DNA sequencing to determine the species of the hides used to make his clothing, and isotopic analysis to determine the source of the copper ore for his axe. From all these studies, scientists have been able to reconstruct his final days in considerable detail: he was killed in early summer, having been wounded in a fight a few days earlier. His last two meals consisted of ibex meat and grains, one eaten at a much lower altitude than where he was found, suggesting a vivid narrative of battle and pursuit.

More here.

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