10 little known facts about the ice mummy of Ezi whose age is 5300 years
The development of technology has allowed archaeologists to take the study of ancient artifacts to a whole new level. And today there is the mummy of an ancient European, which is studied in such detail as no other. Since the European mummy, which is 5300 years old, was found in the Italian Alps in 1991, scientists have learned a lot about the weather, genetics, migration, and life of people at that time. This review contains the most interesting facts about Ezi.
1. Alpine burial ground
A study in 2010 suggested that the border of the Alps, where the body of Ezi was found, is a burial ground, not a place of murder. The study claims that some strange facts would make sense if he died elsewhere, and then brought the corpse to a mountain pass and ritually buried. For example, pollen found inside the mummy belonged to species blooming in spring, and pollen in the ice around the corpse belonged to species blooming in late summer.
2. Unique climate record
Ezi provided unique weather information. The mummified man lay on the ice for five millennia and accumulated valuable information about the little-known “warm period” during this time. By studying the age of the corpse and its condition, as well as the ice around it, scientists were able to track the movements of glaciers. About 6,400 years ago (more than 1,000 years before Ezi died) there were warm and fertile conditions in the area, as evidenced by soil samples.
At the time of the murder of Ezi, a marked change in climate occurred. His body was buried in ice very unexpectedly, which means a rapid change in temperature. The cold spurred the growth of giant glaciers, which lasted for 5,000 years. Only in 1970 did these magnificent formations begin to recede and in recent years continue to melt. It was thanks to this that the body was discovered. But the warm era, which lasted for several centuries, was not known before they found Ezi.
3. Stability of micro-RNA
In 2017, Ezi and a mummified soldier from the First World War were subjected to innovative genetic research. Scientists wanted to check if recently found biomarkers remained in the ancient tissues that show information about the state of health or human living conditions. The molecules of ribonucleic acid, or micro-RNA, tend to remain very stable.
With difficulty, but the team of scientists managed to take samples from the skin and stomach of Ezi. Surprisingly, both the soldier and Ezi had (and were stable) micro-RNAs. The ability of micro-RNAs to survive for thousands of years has been proven, now researchers are studying the abilities of these molecules.
4. Therapeutic tattoos
It turns out that Ezi constantly tried to cure himself of something during his lifetime. For 20 years, various researchers have compiled a list of diseases that an ancient man had during his lifetime. For example (and this is far from all), these were Lyme disease, gallstones, gum disease, atherosclerosis, and trichocephalosis.
Researchers previously have theorized about the connection between these diseases and tattoos, grouped in 19 places throughout the body. More specifically, they wondered if this was a prehistoric form of acupuncture. In 2015, a new scan revealed previously unknown tattoos, as a result of which their total number increased to 61.
Tattoos were not images of something but looked like crosses and lines made by rubbing coal into cuts on the skin. Interestingly, about 80 percent of the tattoos are located along the acupuncture lines that are known to modern specialists. If acupuncture was used during the life of Ezi, then it is 2000 years older than the earliest records of this type of treatment in China.
5. Copper ax
When a valuable copper ax was found among Ezi’s things, he threw many mysteries to scientists. It was previously assumed that the metal for it was mined in the Alpine region, but tests in 2016 proved that the ore comes from Southern Tuscany in Italy. The results were surprising and unexpected, but immediately the question arose where this ax came from Ezi.
Elevated levels of arsenic and copper in Ezi’s hair led to the suggestion that he may have forged a weapon himself, breathing in chemicals during production. However, in other parts of the body, no contamination was found with these substances, that is, he was neither a blacksmith nor a tinker.
6. Thrifty man
When the remains of Ezi were found, no one could determine who he was. The climbers who found the mummy decided that he was an unhappy traveler, and the first body researchers said that he was a priest. In the course of the study, a completely different picture emerged. Ezi looked more like a modern soldier than a farmer. He was armed with a flint dagger, a yew bow, arrows, and a copper ax.
The yew bow was a high-tech weapon for its time and appeared in large numbers with the British army only thousands of years later. Ezi also had a backpack with fixtures for fire, canned food and a first-aid kit with lots of different herbs. A well-armed man was also perfectly dressed: a jacket and trousers of three layers of leather, lined with felt, a bear hat, a grass cloak, and leather shoes. This, to put it mildly, differs from cavemen in loincloths.
Killer Ezi was clearly not easy. Traces of blood that were found on the weapons, tools, and clothes of the mummy were tested for DNA in 2003. It turned out that this is human blood belonging to four people, besides Ezi. Two people found blood on the arrow, i.e., Ezi shot one, drew an arrow from his body and killed the other. Blood of a third person was found on Etzi’s knife, and there were traces of blood of a fourth on his jacket.
8. 60 km in 2 days
In the last days of his life, Ezi has come a long way in rugged terrain. Despite his physical ailments, he was healthy. Researchers tracked his path thanks to … moss. Two types of moss, which grow in humid places, were found in his stomach (probably having got there with water), and goat meat, which was lying in a backpack, was wrapped in another type of moss. Ezi went down from the mountains to the alpine lowlands, collected peat moss, and then went back to the mountains. In 2 days he walked almost 60 kilometers.
9. The killer
Almost every expert who participated in the study of Ezi claims that the story of his murder will never be fully known. However, there is enough evidence to suggest that after Ezi killed 4 people, he rested and felt safe. And he was shot with a bow, after which they finished it off.
10. Haplogroup K
The genes of the Copper Age resident clarified a lot for scientists, but perhaps the most interesting was that Ezi was probably barren. Today, no one will know if he had a family, but researchers found indicators of infertility in his genes in the mid-2000s.
It is also noteworthy that Ezi was the first person ever discovered who belonged to a previously unknown subcategory of haplogroup K. This means that the family of Ezi’s mother most likely came from the south of the Alps or the Ötztal Valley in Tyrol.
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