In 1991, scientists in the Italian Alps came across a frozen corpse face down. They named him Ötzi, or the Iceman. Since that time, researchers have been learning more about the Iceman’s life in the Copper Age 5,300 years ago. The latest findings focused on his tools. A dagger, a couple of arrowheads and a few other possessions made of stone, wood and deer antler, provide insight into their owner’s mysterious final days before he was killed by an arrow.
Archaeologist Ursula Wierer used high-power microscopes and a CT scanner to examine Ötzi’s dagger and arrowheads. “He cared about his tools,” said Wierer, adding that many showed signs of being resharpened or repaired. Ötzi must have been in a rush, said Wierer, as he did not have time to construct a working bow or complete his other dozen arrowheads before his death. His dagger was unusually small and its tip was broken. And in his final moments, he ran out of chert, a dark rock used for the blade, to fix his tools.