Jennifer Pinkowski in National Geographic:
Thirty years ago this month, Europe’s most famous mummy was discovered lying face-down in the ice, on the edge of a lake nearly two miles high in the Ötztal Alps bordering Austria and Italy.
Naturally preserved by more than 5,000 years of sun, wind, and freezing temperatures, the leathery remains of Ötzi the Iceman quickly became a global sensation, the subject of countless books and documentaries and even a feature film reconstructing his life in Neolithic Europe and his violent death.
Today, Ötzi is carefully tended to by researchers at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy, where his wizened body is kept in a custom cold chamber maintained at a constant temperature of –21.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Four or five times a year, his remains are sprayed with sterile water to create an icy, protective exoskeleton that ensures he stays a “wet mummy” (one naturally preserved in a wet rather than dry environment).