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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 00:52 GMT
Couple wins iceman fight
By Bethany Bell
BBC correspondent in Vienna

A retired German couple who discovered a Stone Age iceman known as Oetzi in the Italian Alps has been acknowledged as his official finders by a court in South Tyrol.

|mage: South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology
Working out how much Otzi is worth will not be easy
The move opens up the possibility of a finder's reward for the couple.

Helmut and Erika Simon from Nuremberg in Germany first caught sight of Oetzi while walking in the mountains on the Austro-Italian border in 1991.

Since then they have spent several years at loggerheads with the South Tyrol provincial government over the question of a finder's fee for the 5,300-year-old frozen mummy.

Appeal 'considered'

Now a court in Bolzano has recognised the couple as his official discoverers.

That makes the Simons eligible for 25% of Oetzi's value.

However, working out how much the world's best preserved Stone Age man is actually worth will not be easy.

His frozen body is a star tourist attraction in Bolzano, bringing in several million euros in museum fees every year and scientists have described him as an invaluable source for research.

A spokesman for South Tyrol's government says an appeal is being considered.




SEE ALSO:
Iceman mystery solved
31 Oct 03  |  Science/Nature
Blood clues to iceman's death
12 Aug 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Iceman's final meal
16 Sep 02  |  Science/Nature
Iceman's final battle
20 Mar 02  |  Science/Nature


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