THE MAN IN THE ICE by Konrad Spindler


The Discovery of a 5,000-Year-Old Body Reveals the Secrets of the Stone Age
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 Everything you wanted to know about the Stone Age man unearthed in the Alps in 1991. Spindler (Prehistory and Early History/Univ. of Innsbruck, Austria) was called in soon after a pair of mountaineers reported their discovery of a corpse partially protruding from a glacier- filled gully in the Tyrolean Alps. As it later developed, an unusual combination of dust, wind, and weather led to the melting that revealed a body dating from around 3300 b.c., during the late neolithic period. This scholarly volume lays out in meticulous detail the prehistoric man's clothing, artifacts, and physical appearance, also offering well-argued deductions concerning who he was and where he came from. During neolithic times, Spindler reminds us, humans had settled into communities where agriculture and animal husbandry coexisted with hunting and gathering. The iceman (nicknamed Otzi in the Austrian press) was probably a shepherd in what is now Italy who frequently trekked to and from highland meadows to tend his flocks. He was well equipped for the weather and armed to hunt game with a kit that included a dagger, bow, arrows, a copper-bladed ax, fire-making equipment, a net, dried meat, and even some medicaments. However, the bow and arrows were not in finished condition. This fact, along with such other clues as his fractured ribs, leads Spindler to suspect a disaster in which the iceman took to the mountains in flight from marauders who had invaded his settlement; when a sudden storm blew up he sought refuge in a glacial gully, but the combination of exhaustion, cold, and injury led to sleep, fatal in that climate. Spindler's hypothetical disaster may or may not have occurred, but its veracity is less important than the wealth of information he presents on Central European life 5000 years ago. An altogether absorbing account of human civilization in the making. (32 pages color photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-517-79969-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Harmony
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1994