Link to BBC Homepage

Front Page







World News in Audio

On Air


Talking Point


Low Graphics


Site Map

Saturday, March 28, 1998 Published at 13:09 GMT


Italian iceman goes on show
image: [ Shortly after his discovery, 'Oetzi' was moved to the University of Innsbruck for study ]
Shortly after his discovery, 'Oetzi' was moved to the University of Innsbruck for study

The remains of a prehistoric man who died in an Alpine glacier 5,000 years ago have gone on public display for the first time at a new museum in northern Italy. BBC Rome Correspondent, David Willey, reports:

The iceman was discovered by some German hikers at an altitude of more than 3,000m, frozen into an Alpine glacier on the border between Italy and Austria. It is the first time that the remains of a prehistoric man have been recovered almost intact.

His cloak made of woven leaves, his quiver full of arrows, and his shoes and leggings made of animal skins have all gone on show, together with the iceman in a newly converted four-storey Natural History museum in the city of Bolzano. Bolzano is the capital of the Italian province of South Tyrol, which was transferred from Austria to Italy as part of the peace settlement at the end of the First World War.

[ image: Italians prefer to call the iceman 'Hibernatus']
Italians prefer to call the iceman 'Hibernatus'
The iceman himself now reposes inside a large refrigerator, built at a cost of over $1m. The temperature inside, -6°C at 98% humidity, is expected to preserve the body for many years to come.

There's a small viewing window for members of the public to peer inside. Ownership of the iceman, nicknamed 'Oetzi' by the Austrians after the Alpine valley in which he was found, has been disputed between Austria and Italy.

After six years of scientific research at Innsbruck University in Austria, the body was sent back to Italy earlier this year after an arbitration commission found that its original location was just over the Italian side of the icy Alpine border. The iceman, or 'Hibernatus' to Italians, is expected to become a big tourist attraction in the South Tyrol.

Already icecream shops are selling iceman sundaes, while the local winery has introduced an iceman wine label.

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage


Link to BBC Homepage

  Relevant Stories

16 Jan 98 | Sci/Tech
Italy's iceman comes home

  Internet Links

University of Innsbruck - information on the iceman

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
In this section

Historic day for East Timor

Despatches Contents