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Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 23–35 | Cite as

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

  • Andreas G. Heiss
  • Klaus Oeggl
Original Article

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.

Keywords

Neolithic Alps Iceman Archaeobotany Taphonomy Palaeo-forensics 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The current study has been supported financially by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF grant P16752-BO6). The authors are grateful to Peter Acs, University of Innsbruck, for identification of the grass epidermis remains, and to James H. Dickson, University of Glasgow, for bryophyte identification and also for his helpful comments on the manuscript. We thank Stefanie Jacomet, University of Basel, for valuable suggestions for improving the text. Our thanks also go to Andreas Lippert, University of Vienna, for providing additional detail information on sample positions.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of BotanyUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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