Who killed the iceman?

The murder of Ötzi the Iceman is perhaps the most challenging cold case in history. Archaeologists used a splay of forensic methods to piece together a detailed picture of his life – and death.

John Pickrell in Cosmos:

Ways-06-otzi-l It sounds like the opening to a television forensics drama. On a sunny September day in 1991, a German couple hiking through the Alps make a gruesome discovery.

Initially, the corpse partially jutting out of the melting ice is thought to be from a recent mountaineering accident. But on closer inspection, a far more stunning revelation emerges. The body is that of a murder victim; a murder that transpired five millennia ago.

Dated to around 5,300 years old, the remarkably well-preserved Neolithic Iceman came to be known as Ötzi, after the Ötztal region of the Austrian-Italian border where he was found.

In the years since his discovery, he has been subject to countless, delicate examinations. Now, three recent studies give us the most definitive account of how the Iceman came to be slain.

“The unique thing about this find is that a man has been preserved in full dress with all his equipment,” says Angelika Fleckinger, director of the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy, where Ötzi resides today.

More here. [Thanks to Graeme Wood.]