The main clue for discovering the Iceman’s life are the samples from bone and tissue of the body’s hips and of grass blades found inside his clothing. Radiocarbon dating was used with results estimating that he lived around 5500-5000 years ago. This indicated that he was a shepherd on the basis that the Neolithic age is quite agriculturally focused with a high population of farmers and shepherds. There is evidence of this that the iceman was found with pieces of equipment which are closely tied to a shepherd.
Such equipment included: a longbow, a copper axe, and cloaks/leggings that kept him warm in the alps as he was moving his flocks. Close examination of Otzi’s equipment reveals that Otzi had tools necessary for survival in alpine region with evidence that he was in contact with domesticated animals. This suggests that he was exploring new land for his sheep to graze on. Forensic examination showed that Otzi’s bones are vastly deteriorated indicating that he had to perform many physical tasks, highlighting his laborious lifestyle.
In extension to this, an examination of the Iceman’s intestines by botanist Klaus Oeggl revealed pollen from Hop Hornbeam. This pollen is found in the spring on trees where shepherds commonly led their flocks, indicating that he was leading sheep through that pass and lived in a farming village, geographically in the Val Venosta by analysis of chemical traces in his bone and teeth. More evidence was discovered later by Eduard Vigl in 2001, when a scan has identified a flint arrow-head on his shoulder.
With this newfound discovery, the Iceman had seemingly been shot in the back with an arrow which he later pulled out. The iceman suffered blood loss however, and only had the strength to reach the top of the mountain before dying. Based on the evidences, my assumption would be that he was a shepherd who was involved in an encounter with thieves, leaving him weakened from blood loss, and only had the strength to reach the top of the mountain before dying. The place of his death was also known to have been used for grazing. Through many aspects surrounding Otzi’s discovery, including his lifestyle, his death, and his occupation, it is still inconclusive to who he was, but according to my knowledge of the Iceman’s lifestyle and his, the most probable scenario that the Iceman was a shepherd. However, till this day there is still an absence of concrete evidence to who he was, how he died, and his occupation. We may never know the truth, but this is a giant leap in the road to unlocking the past.
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