5,300-year-old iceman may have died due to fall: Scientists

5,300-year-old iceman may have died due to fall: Scientists

Scientists who examined the prehistoric iceman, who was discovered frozen in the Alps between the Austrian and Italian border 20 years ago, believed that he might have died after being hit by an arrow during a hunting trip.

Now, new studies at Austria's Innsbruck University showed that Oetzi is more likely to have died during a fall while he was climbing, the Daily Mail reported.

Experts will now carry out a new body-mapping scan of his remains to check if his injuries could have been sustained accidentally.

Wolfgang Recheis, who headed the study, said: "His death could have been a mountaineering accident rather than him being shot by an arrow as previously thought.

The arrow injury could have been an old injury."

The natural mummy of the iceman, believed to have died 5,300 years ago, was found in September 1991 by a couple of German tourists trekking through the Oetz Valley, after which he was named.

He was about 46 years old when he met his violent death. It was thought an arrow tore a hole in an artery beneath his left collarbone, leading to massive loss of blood -- and the shock caused Oetzi to suffer a heart attack.

Even today, the chances of surviving such an injury long enough to receive hospital treatment are only 40 per cent. The fact that the arrow's shaft was pulled out before his death may have worsened the injury.

According to researchers, the iceman has been crucial to our understanding of how prehistoric people lived, what they wore and even what they ate.

Archaeologists believe Oetzi, who was carrying a bow, a quiver of arrows and a copper axe, may have been a hunter or warrior killed in a skirmish with a rival tribe.

Researchers said he was about 159cm tall, 46 years old, arthritic and infested with whipworm, an intestinal parasite.

His perfectly preserved body is kept in his own specially designed cold storage chamber at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Italy at a constant temperature of -6°C.

Alongside his remains is a new Oetzi model created using 3D images of the corpse and forensic technology by two Dutch artists -- Alfons and Adrie Kennis.

But the one thing they couldn't determine was his natural eye colour. So they went with brown.