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Lecture 4

Anthro 1AA3 Lecture 4.docx

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McMaster University
Karen Mc Garry

Anthropology 1AA3 – Iceman Murder Mystery • Otzi (found in 1991) is the oldest intact human remains recovered, is originally from the end of the Stone Age (3300 BCE) • Homicide victim killed by arrow in the back • Found in the European Alps (Italian Alps) • Appears to have been freeze-dried, resulting in a mummy • Found some accessory structures that indicated it was not a hiking victim: leather, flint knife, rope • Kept in cold, humid chamber • Hoping to solve his murder by letting it defrost • Will only have 9 hours before it has to be refrozen • Scientists who enter the room might be at risk of reactivated pathogens • Increasing population due to the beginnings of agriculture (barley, goat, etc.) lead to competition between original hunters and early farmers  more territorial disputes • Was wearing shoes, therefore indicated he likely knew that he was going to travel over the mountains • Artefacts provide personal details, but also showed that Stone Age designs were sophisticated • Most arrows were unfinished and therefore unusual – equipment was not fully prepared o Unsure why this is • Was carrying a copper axe, which is advanced for the time • Copper was not supposed to have been able to be smelted until 2000 BCE – this meant that they had basic knowledge of how to melt copper out of rock o Stone Age was ending 1000 Y earlier than thought • X-rays showed broken bones, but also an arrow head that was concealed near a rib • CT image showed embedded arrow head more clearly • Body gives some clues: o Skeleton shows he was 5’2” o Muscle development in legs showed mountain hikes o Soft hands show that he was not a farmer o Bones reveal he was in his 40s when he died o >50 tattoos are visible on skin • Copper axe could indicate he was an important man, & stone carvings that include the axe indicate it could have symbolic power • Was preserved 100 yds from Italian-Austrian border, was not dragged & destroyed by moving glaciers as he was located in between rock trench, which was covered with 10ft of ice and prevented him being destroyed • Has to choose whether to cut him open to retrieve the arrow, or preserve it as a cultural treasure  decide not to incise him • In his stomach, hornbeam pollen (deciduous tree) followed by layer of conifer pollen, then hornbeam pollen indicate that he went up and then back down the mountain o Indicates he was being pursued • De
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