Ötzi, the Similaun mummy celebrates 30 years since its discovery. An incredible story that has made us, after about 53 centuries, what remains of a human who lived in the Neolithic, who died on a walkway that connected what today is the Otzertal, near Innsbruck and the Ötztal Alps. A path that was used for the first transhumances, from the current Maso Corto to Vent in Austria.
It took years of research and deductions to give a “story” to Ötzi, killed, it was later discovered, by an arrow stuck under the left collarbone, the tip of which is still there, where it ended that day, which had severed an artery.
The body, due to a series of coincidences, has been returned to us “intact”, because it is protected by a hollow in the ground, as the glaciers with their movements grind everything they keep, so much so that it is very rare to find intact finds.
“At the time, the importance of the discovery was not understood – tell Oliver Peschel, in charge of the conservation of the mummy and Andreas Putzer in charge of the Val Senales – was also treated with little attention because, initially, it was thought that it could be a mountaineer who recently disappeared and parts of the body such as the external tissues, left femur in a serious way were damaged. He was brought to Austria where he received the first conservative attention and, from there, he began to give us a series of information such that, together with other finds belonging to him, he even made us backdate the copper age by about a millennium, in this area”.
A story full of charm, that of transhumance, which today even received the status of Intangible Heritage of Humanity (2019).
Ötzi, was accidentally found, returned from the melting of the glacier, by a German couple Erica and Helmut Simon of Nuremberg, on 19 September 1991 during an excursion on the Hauslabjoch. After some time it was established that the territory where he rested, for just over 90 meters, was Italian and, for this reason, the mummy was returned to Italy. Today it can be admired in Archaeological Museum of Bolzano, where he is in a cold room, with an entire floor entirely dedicated to him. The body is stored in a room with about 99.6% humidity and −6 ° and every two months a specialized doctor sprays distilled water on the mummy, which forms a protective patina and returns 0.4 ~ 0.5% of lack of moisture in dry tissues.
“He is a pride of Val Senales, a forerunner, an illustrious” fellow citizen “- says another living symbol of this small valley, Rheinhold Messner, very active in promoting the chosen place at home, a mountaineer who needs no introduction – and it would be nice to be able to bring him back here. The valley is establishing itself from the tourist point of view as a slow food presidium, attentive to a sustainability that I have been supporting for years, based on respect for the territory and inhabitants, be they animals, plants or humans ».
“Here in Val Senales – is the president of the tourism consortium Walter Zerpelloni talking – we rebuilt theArcheoparc-Museum Val Senales, an interactive museum that illustrates the numerous scientific deductions obtained thanks to the discovery and reconstructs the environment in which Ötzi lived. And we will approach, through the summer to September 19, with many events in his honor to get to the birthday. Which should coincide with the days of transhumance, another very important event characteristic of our valley ».