Iceman radiocarbon dating
The body was left on the site of the murder - maybe the aggressors assumed that scavengers and time would erase all the evidences- but in the cold and dry climate in 3.200m a.s.l.the body begun to desiccate and large scavengers didn't venture in this desolate realm, only some flies were able to deposits their eggs on the body but they weren't able to destroy it.The mummy itself was dated by radiocarbon dating to 4.500 -30 and 4.580 -30yr Before Present, which corresponds to a calibrated age of 5.300-5.050yr B. The relatively sudden burial of the corpse in a more or less permanent snow and ice cover indicates a significant climatic change that induced glacier expansion at the beginning of the Neoglaciation in the second half of the Holocene. All that is similar to the present-day conditions in the woodlands found on the slopes and in gorges in the lower Schnalstal and Vinschgau in South Tyrol, where it is assumed he lived. (2004): Rapid Communication - A major widespread climatic change around 5300 cal. Journal of Quaternary Science 19(5): 423-430MAISCH, M. This inferred change of the glaciers is supported also by some soil horizons found in depression between 3.000 and 3.215m a.s.l. So the botanical evidence seems to confirm a climate comparable to pre-industrial conditions and implies a glacial extent similar, if not slightly minor, to the recent past. (2000): The longterm signal of climate change in the Swiss Alps: Glacier retreat since the end of the little Ice Age and future ice decay scenarios. But the body and the artefacts provided also insights on the glaciers during the little known warm phases of the Holocene in Europe. and for several centuries after, an ice-free peripheral belt allowed the accumulation of organic matter and developments of relatively thick soils. Blue areas represents the glaciers in 2003, the red line the glaciers during the Little Ice Age (ca. Exkursionsführer DEUQUA-Tagung Gmunden/Oberösterreich 14-16.9.1996: 23PATZELT, G. (2000): Natürliche und anthropogene Umweltveränderungen im Holozän der Alpen. 18 Entwicklung der Umwelt seit der letzten Eiszeit: 119-125My name is David Bressan and I'm a freelance geologist working mainly in the Austroalpine crystalline rocks and the South Alpine Palaeozoic and Mesozoic cover-sediments in the Eastern Alps.This phase is practically undocumented by glacial sediments, eroded by later glacial advances, and is only recognizable by proxy data like changes in pollen diagrams or the radiometric ages of organic material. Similar recent soils needed at least 5 to 12 centuries for its development, suggesting that the climatic conditions on the site were for a long time relative favourable for biological and chemical activity until a relatively quick drop of temperatures. 1600-1850), blue, green and yellow the main glacier-stages during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. I graduated with a project on Rock Glaciers dynamics and hydrology, this phase left a special interest for quaternary deposits and modern glacial environments.The victim, a male, had died several thousand years ago.
The prehistoric mummified corpse - soon known worldwide as "" the Iceman - together with its unique set of artefacts provided a unique opportunity for the research of a Copper-Age culture in the European Alps. And the recent retreat of the glaciers still continues, in 1970 the glacier that revealed the mummy was part of the much greater Niederjoch-Glacier, a composite alpine glacier that descends northward in the Nieder-Valley, but only in the last 5 years this glacier lost 60-100m in length. The "Similaun" as highest peak (3.597m) with his two main glaciers, the "Similaun" in foreground, and the "Niederjoch" in background. 1970 the glaciers merged, but the glacial retreat in the last years was notable. Location (black circle) of the site of the bronze-age mummy in the Ötztaler Alps.Hurt and in a state of exhaustion, he fell asleep and died on the boulder on which he was found five millennia later.