, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 23-35

The plant macro-remains from the Iceman site (Tisenjoch, Italian–Austrian border, eastern Alps): new results on the glacier mummy’s environment

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Abstract

Archaeobotanical studies are currently being carried out on all the plant remains retrieved from the high alpine site where the Iceman “Ötzi” was found (3,210 m a.s.l.). Preliminary results already show a great diversity of species (121 taxa) mainly originating from lower regions, which must have been transported to the Tisenjoch site by a number of vectors. Spatial modelling has been carried out for one part of the plant remains unequivocally assignable to the Iceman. The resulting patterns indicate that post-depositional displacement processes have affected the material, and even the mummified body itself. It is demonstrated that the influence of cross-contamination resulting from the recovery attempts preceding the excavations can be ruled out by thorough selection of sampled areas and layers. The archaeobotanical results, together with current data from other research fields, strongly suggest that the Iceman had died in an area about 5 m south-west of the position where he was discovered in 1991.