Published: November 2006
Did You Know?
In Did You Know? the National Geographic magazine team shares extra information we gathered to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects.

In 1991 recreational climbers in the heights above Reinhold Messner's castle home, Schloss Juval, came across the slowly defrosting naturally mummified corpse of a man. In the ensuing media circus, the mummy received the sobriquet "Ötzi," after the Ötztal Alps where he was found. The body was intact, and scattered all around him were his belongings, including a bow and flint-tipped wooden arrows in a quiver, a dagger, and the earliest intact copper-headed ax found in Europe.

Scientists analyzing Ötzi, whose tissues and clothing fibers have been dated to around 3,200 B.C., discovered details of early human life in the Alps, such as how a woven grass cape and hay-lined shoes, combined with goat, deer, and bear skins, insulated him for his frigid journey. Still a puzzle is the presence of linear tattoos in several places on his body. But the most interesting finding was that he didn't get caught in a blizzard and freeze to death, as originally thought. Only five years ago, x-rays showed an arrowhead embedded in Ötzi's chest.

You can learn more about Ötzi, who can be seen in a high-tech ice cave at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy, by visiting

—Nancie Majkowski