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The Man in the Ice: The Discovery of a 5000-year-old Body Reveals the Secrets of the Stone Age

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  318 ratings  ·  39 reviews
The story of the amazing discovery of a man frozen in the Alpine ice, told by the leader of the international team of scientists who investigated the find. A classic of scientific discovery that reveals to us the fullest picture yet of Neolithic man, our ancestor.
Paperback, book club
Published 1994 by Crown Publishers, Inc. (NYC) (first published January 1st 1993)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Jul 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
You can never have to many books about bizarre scientific discoveries.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it
The Man In Ice
by Konrad Spindler
Translated from German by Ewald Osers
Harmony Books
3.5 / 5.0

In September 1991, mountaineers descending from the Finailspitze alps, in the area of Hauslabjoch, along the border of Austria and Italy, find a body half submerged in a glacier. Attempts to find the age of the corpse from artifacts found around it and the remains themselves place from the Neolithic Period, 5,000 years ago.
This is an absorbing account of the discovery, recovery and study of the
Kevin Shepherd
Although a lot has been added to Otzi's story since the publication of this book in 1994, this is still a relevant, in-depth look at what is arguably the most significant anthropological find of the twentieth century. Spindler's style, while academic, is not overly technical. It's obvious that he was as excited to write about Otzi and all of his trappings as I was to read about him. For those interested in human prehistory and/or forensic anthropology, this is a must-read.
Erik Graff
May 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of neolithic culture
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sciences
This book reviews what had been learned about the approximately 5,300-year old body found in the Italian Alps in 1991--the oldest Neolithic body recovered intact to date--by the first archaeologist on the scene. Illustrated by drawings and many fine colored plates, the text is written for the layperson.
Orville Jenkins
In 1991, tourists hiking in the Alps along the Austrian-Italian border, found a body partial visible in the melting iceberg. Over 5000 years old, these were the oldest human remains and cultural artifacts of Homo sapiens sapiens. This individual had been mummified by encapsulation in an iceberg, this ancient human came partly to the surface in September 1991. This mummified ancient human was dubbed Ötzi, a German affectionate nickname based on the Alps location.

This is a compelling and detailed
Susan K.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating account of the human remains found in the Alps, and the process of identifying the age of the man, and where he came from. Everything he had with him, was thoroughly examined by scientists in various disciplines, to try to established where he had lived, including all the plant matter forming the woven shoes, the dagger holster, his ember carrier. It is completely amazing that he was found in a position on the rocks where his body had been protected from the downward movement of the ...more
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting and overly factual book but worth plodding though it as l have taught about the man in ice and had the immeasurable pleasure of visiting him at the Bolzano Museum in ltaly. Since the finding of his body, he has predated the copper age by 1,000 years. His body is continually being used for medical/scientific research.
Nathaniel Rich
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good details, but I wish I had looked for a more up to date edition (if one is available). This was written in the 90's, and I would like information on what research has accomplished since that time.

That said, I'm glad I read it. I skimmed some portions, and dug into the details in others, which is about what I expected.
John Beckett
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The subject is interesting and the the original theories have not changed too much in the quarter century since this book was published. It bogged down about three fourths of the way through as it leaned heavily to the science side at that point, but I thought it ended well.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a child my eldest son made me watch the TV programme of this situation most days, so actually getting to read the book with the more details was a pleasure
Lora Shouse
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved this! I like stories about pre-historic people anyway (one of my favorite series is Jean Auel's Earth's Children). I remember when they first announced the discovery of the Iceman, it almost sounded like they might be able to thaw him out and bring him back to life. Turns out that was never really an option. But the real story is almost better.

Konrad Spindler tells us how the Iceman was discovered and how, along with pretty much all of his equipment he was retrieved. In this book, written
Bill O'driscoll
Spindler was among the first group of scientists to study "Otzi," the man found in the Swiss/Italian Alps in 1991 who proved to be a mummy some 5,000 years old. The first half of this book is in fact mummy-dry, as Spindler recounts, step by painstaking step, the discovery of the body, how it was secured, etc., and the international media frenzy that followed. The second half is much more interesting: a forensic account of the body and Otzi's Paleolithic possessions, which were scant but ...more
Edwina Harvey
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Like a lot of people, my curiosity was piqued when a 5000 year old man was found preserved in the ice. That's what I wanted to read about. The hour-by-hour unfolding of how the find unfolded suggested the author was actually a frustrated crime or murder/mystery writer. I felt it was there to extend the page-count of the book. The details of the state the body was found in (and it was damaged in an effort to remove it) the artefacts that were also uncovered at the site, the scans they performed ...more
Joe Minten
This was a very informative, detailed early account of the discovery and initial investigation of the "Iceman". It makes for a very good textbook style read. There are lots of small, detailed facts. I found it interesting, but a tough slog. I will need to read a more up-to-date book in order to find out what has been determined to date. There is lots of information that has not been attained as of the writing of this book. It's clearly a little outdated. The author does, however, try to give an ...more
Jan 28, 2016 rated it liked it
This one is like jury duty -- it's simultaneously the most interesting and the most boring book imaginable. You can hardly stand the droning scientific blah blah blah, but you have to keep reading to see what else they found out about this 5,000-year-old body found in the Alps. What never fails to get me about this book is its detractors. One after another says "Spindler was wrong -- we now know (insert some point Spindler already made clearly in this book)." It's as if nobody on earth but me ...more
Stephen Tuck
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Spindler‘s book covers the discovery, recovery and preservation of the Neolithic body of the Hauslabjoch Man. He concludes the book by exploring the Man‘s likely origins, career and final moments.

Depending on your interests, you may find parts of the book heavy going: Spindler was the lead archaeologist in this matter and the more technical parts of the book are (shall we say) detail heavy. The book itself is a little dated: after it was published, investigations found an arrow head in the Man
David Ward
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Man In the Ice: The Discovery of a 5,000-Year-Old Body Reveals the Secrets of the Stone Age by Conrad Spindler (Harmony Books 1994) (937.3) is the story of the discovery, removal, and analysis of a mummy that emerged from the Alpine glacier on the frontier of Austria and Italy in 1991. To the surprise of all, carbon dating revealed the mummy to be the remains of a stone-age man! The significance was that this man was found fully outfitted with the day-to-day accouterments of his culture and ...more

I really tried to like this book. Really.
The premise was exciting. A neolithic body found trapped in a glacier on the Austro-Italian boarder in the alps.


The first section of the book was really dry. Do we really need to know that on the third day of the archeological dig, Spindler and his team only drank coffee, or that Splindler's wife recienved a phone call from "New Zealand", thought it was a joke and hung up?

I don't think so.

Overall, it was an ok read, and the tibits of
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthropology
Fascinating to read about the Iceman from the beginnings of his discovery. Now I need to read about how these initial discoveries have been modified or better understood as time passed. Despite all the problems that came from not understanding at first what they found, I think that they did well under the circumstances. I hope it serves as a lesson to the local people that they need to be aware that these things happen and to get the experts in quickly.
Aleisha  Zolman
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: archeology buffs, science nerds, human interest
the first 3rd of the book is spent on the location and extraction of the body...i just didn't care about learning how to pronounce all those swedish locations and so it was a bit tedious for me to get through that section. once the body is in the lab and they analyze what is actually there, i couldn't put it down. with my background in horticulture i was especially intrigued that they found 17 plant materials on his person, with uses for clothing, tinder, weapon parts, etc.
Mar 02, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a poorly written book about a fascinating subject. Most of the information presented is from preliminary findings that were subsequently found to be wrong.

There was an interesting article in the New Yorker about the ice man's shoes. Someone reproduced the shoes he was wearing and took them for a hike in the mountains with remarkably good results.
Warren Watts
A bit dry to read. The book is more of a detailed report on nearly every aspect of the 5,000 year old mummy discovered in 1991 in the Austrian Alps. Still an interesting read for anyone with an interest in the world of the Neolithic (late stone age) man.

Story in the news today:
The first section of this book (about the discovery and recovery of Otzi, the Man in the Ice) was really interesting but I am having a hard time really getting into the analysis of the artefacts. Maybe a little too scientific for me.
Ender Wiggin
Feb 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
It's a bit detailed and may only interest students of anthropology, but this book provides a glimpse into the real life of anthropologists and archeologists AND what sort of world mankind inhabited 5,000 years ago.
Alex Kent
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating on so many levels.
Julie H.
Jul 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is written by a journalist who covered the discovery of Otzi, a.k.a. the Ice Man. It's informative, entertainingly written, and widely accessible to an interested lay audience.
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would be a 5 star book if Spindler spent a bit less time defending himself/ Innsbruck academia and a bit more time addressing the case.

May 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Got a little technical for me at times, but overall this was a very educational account of the finding and initial studying of the ancient Ice Man in the Alps.
Aug 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, non-fiction
If you're a fan of archaeology and history, this is a great book about one of the oldest Homo Sapiens found frozen solid...Great non-fiction work!
Amanda Nunn
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Fascinating. Unfortunately the research is somewhat outdated now, but is perhaps the only accessible account of this amazing discovery.
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