Orville Jenkins's Reviews > The Man in the Ice

The Man in the Ice by Konrad Spindler
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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 portrait of the earliest culture of "modern humans" in European pre-history, told in the personal story of this ancient human in the Alps. The detail of the investigation by an elite international scientific team is staggering, right down to the evaluation of the DNA of pollen and grains in this man's personal effects.

Extensive clues in the Ice Man's personal effects provide the basis of an accounting of the final events of his last day of life. DNA was recovered from the body and scientists were able to sequence a full genome. A similar detailed DNA study was able to determine the type of grain in his leather bag carrying his tools and other paraphernalia. The find also included pollen, providing additional insights into Ötzi's historical period. The viable DNA recovered from the Ice Man, with related findings from various disciplines of study and investigation reconstructed Ötzi's diet and likely family history.

Later ongoing worldwide DNA comparisons began to fill out a picture of the kinship of all modern humans and their migrations across the world. In 20112, an extensive reconstruction ofor the people of Europe was detailed by Brian Sikes, reporting on his studies in Europe, Polynesian Islands and the Pacific Rim. In reporting his comprehensive historical and cultural history of Europe from his DNA findings, compared with similar historical reconstructions from other disciplines Sykes actually found a modern Irish woman who had the exact same mtDNA sequence as Ötzi, the Alps Ice Man.

This ancient European preserved by a glacial freeze was determined to be 5200 or 5300 years old. Spindler includes background on the era, other findings that throw light on this find, and vice versa, and is able to reconstruct in considerable detail the lifestyle and events that led to the death of this shepherd hunter from the Neolithic era of prehistory.

There is as much detail here as any avid reader will want, in a very readable story.
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Reading Progress

May 29, 2016 – Started Reading
June 5, 2016 – Finished Reading
January 6, 2018 – Shelved

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