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‘Iceman’ still revealing secrets, 25 years on

Otzi is over 5000 years old. He is 5 foot 2, weighs 60kg… and has around 60 tattoos

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Otzi is over 5000 years old. He was discovered 25 years ago this month in the Italian Alps preserved and mummified by ice.

The Iceman, as he is known, now lives at the Italian Bolzano archaeological museum close to the Austrian border.

Angelika Fleckinger, Director of the Bolzano archaeological museum said "It's one of the oldest mummies, because it was kept in a humid environment. The cells retained water, which means we can continue to do tests with the latest technologies. We didn't just discover the mummy, we found his clothes, his tools. All of this discovery is unique in the world. It's a unique window into the prehistoric era, and it gives us an incredible amount of information."

Otzi is 5 foot 2, weighs 60kg… and has around 60 tattoos. Scientists know he was 45 years old when he died from an arrow wound to the back.

Thousands of years later the culprit and the motive remain unknown but Otzi's body provides answers to other mysteries.

Albert Zink, Director of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman, said "We can now analyse the stomach content also very much in detail, we not only can say what he ate. We knew the he ate meat from different animals and some grains- but we can also look into his bacteria and the community of his bacteria so called microbiome that is becoming more and more important also in modern research because it tells a lot about the living circumstances also about immune system."

And Otzi is not just a source of scientific knowledge - this mummy makes money.

According to the local tourist office, he draws visitors from as far as North America and Asia.

Roberta Agosti, Director of the Bolzano tourist office, said "We could say that Otzi has put Bolzano-Bozen on the map!" Around 260 thousand people come to admire the Iceman every year.

And as the icecaps melt researchers hope to discover new specimens in the area. Meaning Otzi's discovery could be just the tip of the iceberg.