The Riddle of the Iceman’s preservation (Oetzi) – Solar History

Excerpt from Solar History P.260:

We briefly touch on a small enigma here, even though it is not directly related to the focus of this book, the solar history of the last millennium. Oetzi, the Icemen as one of the best preserved and therefore most famous victims of prehistoric violence. 

Evidence for acts of human brutality is documented in a limited number of examples before 4,000 BC and much more abundantly thereafter. Above, we have examined prehistoric violence and the unsettling fact that a large proportion of the skulls found show fatal blunt trauma to the head. Oetzi, the Iceman was dubbed one of the strongest cases of ‘prehistoric homicide, the mummified remains of a late Neolithic hunter were frozen in a glacier on the border of the Austrian/ Italian Alps. The ice mummy was discovered near the Similaun mountain and Hauslabjoch by German hikers, Helmut and Erika Simon, in September of 1991 and is now dated to around 3,300 BC [i], more broadly between 3359 BC and 3105 BC. This is roughly contemporary with the earliest suggested construction phases of Stonehenge in the British Isles.[ii] This was just after a large atmospheric CO14 peak (see below).

After a territorial dispute between the two border countries, the mummy, complete with clothing, tools and weapons, was examined by X-rays at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy, scientists discovered an arrow head between the ribs and a shoulder blade entered from the back, which a previous examination by an Austrian team in Innsbruck had overlooked. Was it a hunting accident? The fact that Oetzi was left to die alone in a high alpine environment supports the theory of a crime, however, he still had his copper axe – a very rare and highly valuable item at this time – with him when he was found, which discourages the theory of a Stone Age robbery. In his home north of the alps, people were living in the late Neolithic, the copper ax (imported from an unknown location) marked the transition out of the Stone Age. 

It has also been speculated that he was wounded earlier and then tried to climb over a mountain pass, but later examinations suggested he would have bled to death within minutes when the arrow penetrated an artery. At any rate, we can safely assume he didn’t shoot himself in the back with his bow.  

A reconstruction of Oetzi the Iceman is in the South Tirol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy.

Reinhold Messmer inspectiën Oetzi at finding location

One of the more intriguing questions which no one has asked, is how his body could be quickly frozen and then remained preserved until the end of the 20th century. He was found partially exposed on the surface easily visible for passers-by. That day in September of 1991, the ice in that spot- a small plateau below a mountain peak – was only about half a meter thick. As of 2015, the location of discovery is mostly ice free in the summer months. When we go back to temperature readings for the last few millennia, we see that during most of the time since Oetzi was frozen, it was much warmer than today. Glaciers had been reseeding to higher altitudes, they only grew back to their largest extent of the Holocene during the (late) Little Ice Age from 1500 AD to 1850 AD. After this, the alpine glaciers were gradually reseeding to their present levels.

As we see in the Greenland Ice Core GISR2 temperature data, since 3300 BC, temperatures were lower than present day values only three times: around 2700 BC, around 700 AD and during the peak of the Little Ice Age from 1600 to 1850. 

Clearly if the Iceman were laying up there exposed to rain and sun or possibly covered with soil during the Mediaeval Warm Period, during the Roman Climate Optimum and the Minoan warming, the body would have been decomposed within a few years. The Romans crossed their alpine pass roads (up to 2000 meters in altitude) in winter, the roads were free of snow all year round. 

Further, alpine locations at 3000 meters are subjected to large annual temperature fluctuations, so a human body could not just drop in the snow in a severe storm and then remain frozen there, the remains would thou and begin to decompose the next summer. For a long term freezing over millennia, which were always subject to large temperature fluctuations, the body would have to fall into a very deep glacier crack and then be covered by extensive snowfall. The problem here is that alpine glaciers are descending and ever moving at a speed of up to one kilometer per year. The velocity of the Great Aletsch Glacier in the nearby Swiss Alps, for instance, is 200 m per year at Concordia, and 80 – 90 m per year at the level of the Aletsch Forest.[iii] The ice masses are constantly moving, and cracks are formed, they crush and maul everything caught in them, they even smooth boulders into rounded erratics. Even the stone chapel that was swallowed by the Unterer Grindelwald Gletscher in the Little Ice Age, was ground to shreds, before the glacier released the rubble. Remains of Alpinists who fell into Alpine glacier cracks are usually released decades later at the end of the glacier.

The Iceman was found in a ditch on a little plateau just below a mountain peak, at an elevation of 3,210 meters (10,530 ft), partially locked in half a meter of ice that apparently hadn’t moved since his death, his tools, mostly intact, laying scattered around him in a radius of a few meters. So, this leaves an unexplained sequence of events for the rapid freezing and conservation of the ‘Iceman’. Add to this, the highest mountain peak nearby is the Similaun, at 3,606 meters, only 400 meters higher than the finding location, local variations in snowfall and air humidity could certainly not account for a block of ice laying on a Stone Age mummy for 5000 years, while vegetation was blooming all around it. 

He could not have been frozen much higher up and then drifted down during the Little Ice Age. Another theory would require an extreme climate collapse that piled enormous masses of snow onto Oetzi, enough so that the Ice did not subsequently melt off in the hunnerts of years of the said Solar Maxima and warm periods. But the small plateau on the ridge could not hold a hundred- meter thick glacier ice required for this. 

In short, the mummy was not frozen continuously in this location. So, how did he end up in this extraordinary state of preservation? Here are several possibilities:

-1.).  False dating. -2.) Oetzi had been buried in ice and preserved in a higher altitude location and then someone brought him and his accessories to the final resting place within the last 400 years, before 1991. 

3.) the singular state of preservation was not the result of (almost) continues freezing conditions, but rather the mummy was preserved in mostly above freezing temperatures in soil by a hitherto unknown mechanism (for instance electric mummification, see also Inka Sacrifice, p. 117). Just before the proposed date of death, a large 14C excursion in 5480 BC was suggested to be an “indicator of an abnormal sun in the mid-Holocene.” [iv]

“The cause of this event is supposed to be an extremely weak sun, or a combination of successive strong solar bursts and variation of a solar magnetic activity.”

[i] Iceman was wearing ‘earliest snowshoes'”. The Times. Stone Pages Archaeo News. 27 February 2005. Retrieved 24 November 2013.

[ii] Kennedy, Maev (9 March 2013). “Stonehenge may have been burial site for Stone Age elite, say archaeologists”. The Guardian (London: © 2013 11 March 2013.

[iii] The Great Aletsch Glacier: the ice giant of the Aletsch Arena,

[iv] Fusa Miyake, A. J. et al 2016:  Large 14C excursion in 5480 BC; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Jan 2017, 201613144; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1613144114

Categories: Allgemein

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