Oetzi the Neolithic iceman was killed by an arrow, say scientists

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The Independent Online

In one of the world's most belated autopsies, forensic scientists have found that Oetzi, the Neolithic iceman, was killed by an enemy in the Italian Alps five thousand years ago.

In one of the world's most belated autopsies, forensic scientists have found that Oetzi, the Neolithic iceman, was killed by an enemy in the Italian Alps five thousand years ago.

Experts studying the remarkably preserved mummy had believed he died of cold or dehydration. But sophisticated X-rays have revealed he was killed by an arrow that pierced his shoulder.

"The image of the head of the arrow was taken with a CAT scan. Next to the left shoulder ... one can see a 2cm-wide hole that ... could be the entry point," said Dr Paul Gostner, a radiologist on theteam that is piecing togetherOetzi'slife.

The head of an arrow, 21mm long and 17mm wide, was found beneath Oetzi's left shoulder.

Dr Eduard Egarter-Vigl, who is responsible for the conservation of the mummy, said: "The archer-enemy of Oetzi must have been positioned lower than him ... and the place where the arrow struck created a haemorrhage or possibly paralysed an artery.

"The story of Oetzi will have to be ... rewritten and many of the questions until now unanswered will be settled."

Carbon-dating analysis indicates that the iceman, who was discovered by German tourists in 1991, died between 3350 and 3100BC, at the start of the Copper Age.

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