Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Iceman Returns to Italy Volume 51 Number 3, May/June 1998
by Paul G. Bahn

The 5,300-year-old frozen remains of "Ötzi," the Neolithic Iceman, held in Innsbruck since their discovery in the Alps in 1991, have been returned to Italy. They will go on display in a new museum in the city of Bolzano. The clothing, weapons, tools, and other equipment will be openly displayed, while the body, in a refrigerated chamber, will be visible through a small bulletproof window.

Measurements after the discovery showed that Ötzi had lain 240 feet inside Italy, yet some Austrians were reluctant to surrender the remains. The secret transfer occurred after Italian authorities received bomb threats, presumably made by extreme Austrian nationalist groups opposed to the removal. Strapped to a stretcher in a freezer truck, Ötzi was escorted by seven Austrian police vans and a helicopter; once in Italy he was accompanied by Carabinieri.

© 1998 by the Archaeological Institute of America