Audience versions of this page: FamilyOn September 19, 1991, German tourists, hiking in the Alps between Austria and Italy, stumbled across the remains of a human body protruding from the ice. The hikers and police thought the body was a young mountaineer who recently died in the rugged terrain. In fact, the body turned out to be more than 5,000 years old!Nicknamed “Otzi” after the region of the Alps in which he was found (the Otztals), the so-called “Iceman” has revealed much about life and death in prehistoric Europe. Some of Otzi’s clothes were preserved, including the world’s oldest pair of snowshoes and a woven coat. Otzi also had tattoos on his legs and back, possibly related to pain-relief treatments similar to acupuncture. Perhaps most shockingly, Otzi did not die a natural death—he bled to death after being struck with arrows.Otzi is just one of hundreds of “accidental mummies” created by unique environmental conditions. The peat bogs of northern Europe have preserved the bodies, clothes, and even hair of dozens of prehistoric “bog bodies.” The deserts of the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, preserved the bodies of 19th-century cholera victims. The freezing steppe of central Russia created the “Siberian Ice Maiden” about 2,000 years ago.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry acupuncture Noun
medical process that involves treating pain or illness with the insertion of needles at specific points in the body.
season between summer and winter. Also called fall.
wetland of soft ground made mostly of decaying plant matter.
bog body Noun
prehistoric remains of a person, preserved and discovered in a wetland bog.
natural or artificial line separating two pieces of land.
Encyclopedic Entry: border cholera Noun
infectious, sometimes fatal disease that harms the intestines.
weapon made of a short, sharp blade.
area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year.
Encyclopedic Entry: desert equipment Noun
tools and materials to perform a task or function.
thick hair covering the skin of an animal.
to walk a long distance.
water in its solid form.
Encyclopedic Entry: ice leather Noun
skin of an animal, prepared for use as clothing, protection, shelter, or other use.
someone who climbs mountains.
mountain range Noun
series or chain of mountains that are close together.
layers of partially decayed organic material found in some wetlands. Peat can be dried and burned as fuel.
local, state, or national government organization for law enforcement.
period of time that occurred before the invention of written records.
to maintain and keep safe from damage.
grass with tall, strong stalks that grows in marshy ecosystems.
any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.
Encyclopedic Entry: region remains Noun
materials left from a dead or absent organism.
to make known or uncover.
having an irregular or jagged surface.
region of land stretching across Russia from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.
flat, thick piece of material such as earth or stone.
dry, flat grassland with no trees and a cool climate.
Encyclopedic Entry: steppe stumble Verb
to stagger, walk unsteadily, or trip.
permanent ink decoration on skin.
topographic features of an area.
person who travels for pleasure.