World History Moment: Otzi The Iceman

Researchers loading the more than 5,300-year-old mummy known as Otzi into a specially designed, refrigerated crate for his trip to the archeology museum in Bolzano, Italy on Friday January 16, 1998.
Researchers loading the more than 5,300-year-old mummy known as Otzi into a specially designed, refrigerated crate for his trip to the archeology museum in Bolzano, Italy on Friday January 16, 1998. AP Photo/Bernhard Grossruck
Researchers loading the more than 5,300-year-old mummy known as Otzi into a specially designed, refrigerated crate for his trip to the archeology museum in Bolzano, Italy on Friday January 16, 1998.
Researchers loading the more than 5,300-year-old mummy known as Otzi into a specially designed, refrigerated crate for his trip to the archeology museum in Bolzano, Italy on Friday January 16, 1998. AP Photo/Bernhard Grossruck

World History Moment: Otzi The Iceman

On Sept. 19, 1991, a German couple was hiking in the Otzal Alps, on the boundary between Italy and Austria, when they came across the frozen body of a man who’d died over 5,000 years ago. Because of where he was found, he came to be known as “Otzi the Iceman.” Though there were older human mummies in Egypt and elsewhere, those had been preserved by artificial methods. Otzi had been preserved naturally by the ice. That meant his body was virtually intact and could be studied in detail. But because of how Otzi was found, the research ended up becoming an international incident. Historian John Schmidt shares the fate of Otzi the Iceman.