|31 August 2017
The continuing story of Oetzi
The mummified remains of a Chalcolithic man were first found in the Olztal Alps, between Austria and Italy, in September 1991. Since then the story of Oetzi the Iceman, as he became known, has unravelled and enthralled us. Recently researchers from the University of Padua have been analysing the copper head which formed the cutting blade of the axe which had been found alongside Oetzi's body.
Before the research began it had been believed that the copper had been mined and forged in either the local Alpine area or the nearby Balkans. Using chemical analysis and isotope analysis the Paduan team, lead by Professor Gilberto Artioli, has come to the conclusion that the copper used had actually been mined in Southern Tuscany.
Their belief is founded on the fact that the lead-isotope variation in this region is unique in Europe and the Mediterranean areas. This raises new questions as to whether it was traded as copper ore or the finished article. Either was it has identified new trade routes that were previously unknown in the 4th Century BCE.
Edited from Archaeology & Arts (10 July 2017)
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