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.
By Bethany Bell
BBC correspondent in Vienna
The move opens up the possibility of a finder's reward for the couple.
Working out how much Otzi is worth will not be easy
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.
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.