Radiocarbon dating of the iceman

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In this work all available radiocarbon dates are compared and summarized to determine the age of the Ice Man.

The resulting time range for the Ice Man is then compared with the period of Late and Final Neolithic cultures in the Northern and Southern Alps.

(This technique measures the amount of carbon-14 in a dead organism, compares it to the carbon-14 levels in the atmosphere today and gives an estimate of when the organism died.) Ötzi has been studied for more than two decades.

His clothes and tools have been extensively radiocarbon dated, and much is known about his health, environment, death and his tattoos—which may be therapeutic; they are grouped in places where Ötzi suffered from joint and spinal degeneration.

But after reviewing the facts, we were compelled to publish the article as soon as possible to set the record straight and stem the tide of future work compounding the error.” The art of tattooing is ancient, but when it began is unknown. Beyond that, evidence of tattooing is found in art, from tattoo tools and on preserved human skin; the latter is the best evidence and only direct archaeological proof.

Recovered from El Morro, Chile, the mummy was believed to be about 35–40 years old at the time of his death around 4000 B. In their paper published last month in the four researchers, including Lars Krutak, research associate in the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, concluded that the Chinchorro mummy is not as old as previously thought.To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.All the dates, except 2, are consistent with the time period 3360–3100 BC, as previously determined from bone and tissue samples from the Iceman himself.

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The 2 exceptional dates from wooden artifacts suggest that the site of the Iceman was used as a mountain pass for millennia prior to and after the lifetime of “Ötzi”.When a sample of his lung tissue was radiocarbon dated in the 1980s, the date was given as 3830 ± 100 B. (Before Present, a time scale used in radiocarbon dating.) However, the paper’s authors surmise there was an error, and the radiocarbon date was recorded as 3830 ± 100 B. This error was repeated in subsequent studies, pushing the Chinchorro mummy’s age back about 4,000 years earlier than his actual radiocarbon date.

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