Select Text Level:

On 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.
acupuncture
Noun

medical process that involves treating pain or illness with the insertion of needles at specific points in the body.

autumn
Noun

season between summer and winter. Also called fall.

bog
Noun

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.

Noun

natural or artificial line separating two pieces of land.

cholera
Noun

infectious, sometimes fatal disease that harms the intestines.

dagger
Noun

weapon made of a short, sharp blade.

Noun

area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year.

equipment
Noun

tools and materials to perform a task or function.

fur
Noun

thick hair covering the skin of an animal.

hike
Verb

to walk a long distance.

Noun

water in its solid form.

leather
Noun

skin of an animal, prepared for use as clothing, protection, shelter, or other use.

mountaineer
Noun

someone who climbs mountains.

mountain range
Noun

series or chain of mountains that are close together.

peat
Noun

layers of partially decayed organic material found in some wetlands. Peat can be dried and burned as fuel.

police
Noun

local, state, or national government organization for law enforcement.

prehistoric
Adjective

period of time that occurred before the invention of written records.

preserve
Verb

to maintain and keep safe from damage.

protruding
Adjective

sticking out.

reed
Noun

grass with tall, strong stalks that grows in marshy ecosystems.

Noun

any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.

remains
Noun

materials left from a dead or absent organism.

reveal
Noun

to make known or uncover.

rugged
Adjective

having an irregular or jagged surface.

Siberia
Noun

region of land stretching across Russia from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

slab
Noun

flat, thick piece of material such as earth or stone.

Noun

dry, flat grassland with no trees and a cool climate.

stumble
Verb

to stagger, walk unsteadily, or trip.

tattoo
Noun

permanent ink decoration on skin.

terrain
Noun

topographic features of an area.

tourist
Noun

person who travels for pleasure.

More Dates in History

September
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 1 2 3 4 5 6